Munich, Aug 2 (IANS) A narrow defeat in the German Supercup final is far from a catastrophe for football giants Bayern Munich. But losing 5-6 on penalties to reigning German Cup champions VfL Wolfsburg will force Bayern to quickly find answers to some explosive issues.
Will coach Pep Guardiola leave at the end of the season after three years? Who will be his successor, and will the Spaniard manage to give Bayern a farewell present by winning the Champions League?
Arjen Robben (49th – assist Lewandowski) and Nicklas Bendtner (89th – assist de Bruyne) scored the goals to keep the scoreline 1-1 at regulation time, leading to the penalty shootout on Saturday, reports Xinhua.
Xabi Alonso missed his penalty in the following shootout while Bayern newcomers Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa converted comfortably after a good first appearance.
An early title would have enabled Guardiola to gain some extra space to breathe and work with less pressure, at least during the next weeks.
While Wolfsburg, in a 4-2-3-1 system, has developed into a serious rival for Bayern (4-1-4-1) with Philipp Lahm as right back, Bayern and Guardiola took the Supercup game seriously, despite the fact that it was showcased as a curtain raiser to attract fans for the upcoming season.
Now Wolfsburg has sharpened its image as a so-called ‘Bayern hunter’ and Guardiola will have to live with a first setback as his team failed to prove that they can still keep their rivals under control.
Guardiola lost his third Supercup final in a row. Bayern failed to win the third penalty shootout in a few months and seem to develop a little penalty problem. Bayern (and Guardiola) seem to have lost their ‘winning mentality’ when it comes to tight games despite having more possession.
While Guardiola will have to make up his mind within the half year, Bayern will consider a club life without the Spaniard. One name seems to be part of discussion of Munich bosses, no matter when the important topic is on the club’s agenda — former Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp.
The 48-year-old is currently taking a break. Pundits expect Guardiola to leave after three years and suggest Bayern is intensively thinking about Klopp as Guardiola’s successor.
According to rumours, Manchester City placed another (until now secret) offer for Guardiola. The 44-year-old recently said that “three years at a big club” would be an “extremely long time”.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made it clear that they would love to keep Guardiola. But Rummenigge has also said that life will “go on after Pep” and that his club will be ready for that situation.
Besides not being able to win the Champions League, Guardiola seems to be annoyed by critical comments about his work by the media and at the club.
After Schweinsteiger left, Guardiola was accused of jeopardising Bayern’s image as a German club and turning it into a Spanish one.
This season Guardiola will stay and make a third attempt at winning the Champions League and to set a new club record by winning a fourth consecutive league title. No German club has managed to win four titles in a row.