For the fourth time in the last five years, Bayern Munich will take their place in the semi finals of the Champions League. The Bavarians haven’t won the competition since 2013, but their consistency at the top of the European is in no doubt. They are continental giants and their record lives up to that billing.
Of course, Bayern Munich have Jupp Heynckes to thank for turning around their season and setting up a semi final clash with Real Madrid for a place in the final. The 72-year-old was tempted out of retirement to salvage things for the Bavarians following the dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti back in September and now he could unexpectedly take the club back to the top of European football.
Meanwhile, former Bayern Munich Pep Guardiola watches on following his Manchester City side’s exit from the Champions League at the quarter final stage last week. Guardiola, of course, left Bayern Munich after three years having failed to conquer Europe during his time at the club despite taking over a team that were European champions at the time of his appointment.
So would another Champions League triumph for Heynckes taint Guardiola’s legacy at Bayern Munich? Would it underline and bolster the opinion of those who say the former Barcelona manager underachieved during his time in Germany? Or would it merely demonstrate the aura that Heynckes holds at the Allianz Arena?
While Guardiola didn’t win the Champions League during his time in Bavaria, he was credited with overhauling the culture and identity of Bayern Munich. He put in place a system and philosophy that will long outlast his tenure at the club, establishing Bayern as German football’s predominant force. The gap that exists between the Bavarians and the chasing pack exists largely because of Guardiola.
So in a way, Guardiola deserves to be remembered as a Bayern Munich giant. But his legacy in Bavaria might not measure up to what he achieved in Barcelona and what he is putting together currently at Manchester City. Heynckes, on the other hand, has made Bayern Munich his own. His legacy and legend is intertwined with the Bavarian club.
This Bayern Munich team are currently on the brink of a major transition in their first team with many of their key players entering the twilight of their careers. They are an ageing side that will need to be overhauled in the not so distant future. But for now, they are a European superpower and they have the chance to underline that in this season’s Champions League.
Guardiola likely cares not that his Bayern Munich legacy is in question given the success he has enjoyed at Manchester City this season, and given that he has three Bundesliga titles to show for his time in Germany. But for those who want to compare, Heynckes could add another layer of intrigue should things fall his way over the final few weeks of the season.
How well do you know European Football? Want to challenge the best European Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasy-champions-league.com now.