Champions League Final Could Pit Present Against Future for Pep
As it stands right now, Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich are in a pretty good position. Coming off of a 3-0 shutout win over Schalke on Saturday, the club sits atop the Bundesliga standings, just two wins from capturing the third league win in as many years under Pep.
Going three for three would be an appropriate way to cap off Guardiola’s final season at Bayern.
On Tuesday, Bayern will face off against Werder Bremen in the semifinals in the chase for the DFB Cup. A victory there, then a subsequent win in the finals would be the second in Guardiola’s three years at Bayern.
Two for three in the DFB Cup would be impressive as well.
Right now, however, winning a second DFB Cup and a third straight first place finish in the Bundesliga aren’t the most important accomplishments on the docket for Pep. On April 27, the semifinals for the Champions League will kick off with a home match against Atletico before shifting to Madrid for the second match on May 5th.
If Bayern comes out on top–they’re currently favorites to advance–it could present an interesting matchup for the finals.
Now, while nothing is set in stone, the idea of a Manchester City versus Bayern Munich match is a storytelling finish for Guardiola’s final reigns with the German Giants.
Currently, Real Madrid are favorites to advance by a fair margin. But if Manchester City is able to pull off the upset–similar to the one that Atletico pulled against Barcelona in the quarterfinals–it would pit Pep Guardiola against his future club in a quest for a Champions League victory. And although Guardiola has seen some huge success in his three years in charge of Bayern, a Champion’s League win has remained just out of reach.
Although his decision to leave Bayern and take over as manager of Manchester City at the end of this season left a sour taste in the mouth of many Bayern fans, a win over his future team could be the perfect palate cleanser.
And how would the win leave Guardiola feeling? More than likely some combination of accomplished and motivated. After winning his 295th match as a head manager after the victory over Schalke, a Champions League win over City would not only cap off an impressive career at Bayern, but set him up nicely for a start with his new club.
This is, of course, assuming that Bayern can top Atletico, which as Pep pointed out, not a sure thing.
“Over the last decade, Barca have been the best team in the world, and Atletico have managed to eliminate them twice in two years,” he said. “That tells you how tough Atletico are.
Even then, the matchup we’ve been anticipating isn’t entirely likely. Though Man City has played admirably this season to the tune of an 18-6-9 season in the Barclays Premier League, they remain underdogs to top Real Madrid and move on to the finals.
As we all witnessed in the semifinals, however, the underdog doesn’t always walk away the loser. For Guardiola, Bayern and the fans, we can only hope that lightning will strike twice, and the ending for the era of Pep Guardiola ends with glory.
Mia San Mia.