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'Our brilliant coach'

Crowning glory to a ‘magnificent’ season

When the Bayern players and staff took to the stage at Deutsche Telekom’s headquarters in Berlin Mitte, they were drained and exhausted – and utterly delighted. But where was Pep Guardiola, the architect and chief strategist behind the triumph, who guided his men to the domestic double in his first season in charge. “Lads, you’ve done superbly well,“ said Hermann Gerland, “but we also have a brilliant coach.“ Guardiola took to the stage. He visibly revelled in the moment. The 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the cup final was a mighty tonic for the club – and especially for Guardiola.

“Pep, you’re the perfect coach for Bayern,“ declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the Spaniard oversaw a four-trophy haul in 2013/14: the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup, “a cavalry charge to the championship and the cup on top of that,” the FCB chairman recited. Guardiola gambled and won on Saturday night. His decision to field a three-man rearguard marshalled by the outstanding Javi Martínez paid off in spades.

“Winning our last match against such good opponents is fantastic,“ Guardiola reflected. This was not a typical Pep-style victory, for it deployed unusual tactics and required immense commitment from all concerned. “Every man fought for every other. Unbelievable, an outstanding team performance,” observed Jérôme Boateng. Arjen Robben again set his side on course for victory with the 107th-minute opener: “We gave it everything we had, we fought till we dropped,“ the Dutch ace declared.

Last drops of energy

Thomas Müller’s goal in the dying seconds of extra time was symbolic of Bayern’s utter determination on the night. The striker fought off persistent cramp and bore down on the BVB goal. “He was basically running on empty,“ Lahm reflected, “but he somehow put it away with the last drops of energy.“ It was the spark for wild celebrations as the holders claimed the glittering trophy for the 17th time in their history.

“It’s been a magnificent season,“ Rummenigge summarised in his speech to the post-match banquet. Lahm was forced off injured after just half an hour but returned in time to receive the cup and hoist it aloft into the Berlin night sky. “I think it’s wonderful that players like Holger [Badstuber] were here tonight, cheering us on and celebrating with us. That’s my vision of team sport,” the club captain explained. But the final verdict belonged to the coach: “I’m just very, very proud,“ Guardiola said.