To mark the opening of weekend of the Bundesliga, we’re posting 5 Pep Guardiola Bundesliga values:
He has sometimes branded it the Bundesliga-counter, based on the efficacy and speed of the counters he has had to plan for. The efficacy, particularly, has fascinated him. And he’s loved it when Bayern have been capable of employing it themselves. Nevertheless, one of the great tasks of his season has been working out how to counter the counter.
2: AERIAL PLAY – OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES
The physical qualities of the players in German football make aerial tactics essential, both from set plays and open play. His Barca team was full of little guys, but Bayern have height and this has meant a new coaching approach to the strategy of the aerial ball.
3: AGGRESSIVE PRESSING
Against the power of Bundesliga counter-attack, it’s vital to have a high, effective and aggressive pressing game – particularly if Bayern lose the ball high up the pitch. It was a tactic at Barcelona, but in Munich the coach has needed to augment the collective aggression and intensity of this action.
4: DOUBLE PIVOTE
Although he’s been the flag bearer for using just one organizational midfielder throughout his coaching career, Pep has accepted the need to renounce this commandment on occasion, if it will bring an improvement in his team’s midfield play. He will often ignore the single-pivote concept in the latter part of this season.
At Barca, the ball was played wide with pretty much the sole intention of distracting and confusing the opposition so that it could then be slotted back into the inside-forward positions in and around the box, in search of the breakthrough pass or a shot on goal. At Bayern, with the two full-backs often pushed up, it becomes essential for the wingers to maintain width.
It’s easy to perceive Pep Guardiola as an idealist. A man hell bent on keeping the virtues of some ancient possession football manifesto. But Martí Perarnau’s book Pep Confidential reveals an adaptable coach. A man who’s open to new ideas that a different football culture presents.