Bayern seemingly aren’t taking their dumping very well.
The Pep Guardiola to Manchester City situation is rife with complexity – he still has a club, Man City still have a manager, so as far as next season goes, very little can be said in public lest either party be considered to be lacking focus on the remainder of this campaign.
If reports in the Express this morning are to believed, however, that is not a distraction that Guardiola might have for long should their European campaign fall at the next hurdle.
Some might see that as closing the stable door long after the horse has bolted, but Bayern apparently have their reasons.
The report suggests that the team’s performance in the Champions League last-16 clash with Juventus over the coming weeks will be decisive in determining whether or not to retain the Spaniard’s services for the remainder of the season.
Should they lose that tie – and given the fact that Juventus are currently on a record-smashing fifteen consecutive wins in Serie A it’s certainly a possibility – then there is every chance the Bayern hierarchy may decide that Guardiola’s mind is already in Manchester.
They may be top of the Bundesliga, and through to the DFB Cup semi-final, but Guardiola’s remit was to deliver another Champions League title – a feat that was achieved by his predecessor Jupp Heynckes – and an early exit from that competition would be a disaster for both Bayern and Guardiola himself.
The report fails to mention who could potentially succeed Guardiola on an interim basis should they terminate Guardiola’s contract early. One would assume, however, that they would simply look to bring in Carlo Ancelotti a few months early, acclimatise him to the new team and league and be in a better position of readiness for next season.
Earlier reports this week had suggested that Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had been meeting Ancelotti in Munich this week, which certainly adds a bit of fuel to these rumours.
Even if the Italian decides not to take the reins until the summer, however, someone like Michael Tarnat – current Bayern youth coach and at one time touted as a successor to Guardiola – could be given control of the first team until the season’s end.
Bayern’s attitude to this is probably a bit hypocritical, truth be told. The way in which they announced Guardiola months in advance – while Heynckes was still in the role – means that while they are perfectly within their rights to fire the manager early, especially if he has failed in the one major objective he was given, morally they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
They are still on course to win a third consecutive Bundesliga title and second DFB cup in three years under Pep – firing him before the expiry of his contract would be seen as little more than an attempt to get one over on their manager.
Which just sounds needlessly petty.