The journalist Martí Perarnau has it with hair and signs in his excellent x-ray as a luxury guest to the bowels of Pep Guardiola’s first Bayern. The semifinals of the Champions League in 2014, against Real Madrid and which ended in a 0-5 balance against Ancelotti, his rival again, were a huge stick for the Catalan. as it counts Perarnau in his book ‘Pep Confidential: The inside story of Pep Guardiola’s first season at Bayern Munich’ the one from Sampedor claimed responsibility for the disaster for a tactical error: “It was a monumental shit. I was wrong, I was totally wrong. A disaster, the biggest shit of my life as a coach…”.
A mea culpa before his closest environment of collaborators admitting a mistake that began to take shape in the first leg, at the Bernabéu. Bayern lost 1-0 and Pep came out of that match with very clear ideas on how to tackle the comeback. Before returning to Germany, at the same Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid, he traced until 3 in the morning and together with his team the tactical lines with which he wanted to return it to Ancelotti. “During this reflection that Pep decides to play the second leg with a 3-4-3 formation”, reveals Perarnau in his work. The idea is to attack Madrid’s cons in this way, looking for Benzema and Cristiano. “I hear Guardiola talking to his assistant Domenec: “domeDon’t let me change your mind This is the only possible way”.
But the week until the second leg advances and a lot has changed in Guardiola’s head. On the one hand, he was affected by the death of his friend Tito Vilanova. On the other hand, he listened to the suggestions of the players from him. But most of all, he quickly began to question himself. “On the trip back to Munich, Pep changed his mind. The coach understood that there was hardly any time to prepare his players in such a scheme, so he changed his scheme to a 4-2-3-1”. First turn of the wheel. There will be more.
While Rummenigge launches his famous phrase for the second leg almost like a match (“On the second leg they will burn even the trees of Munich”), the flame lights up in the same Munich locker room. “In the team there is a feeling that this will be a game of epic proportions,” says Perarnau. “He asks his men how they feel and they talk to him about the German talent for glorious comebacks, as well as the passion on epic nights at the Allianz Arena. All they want is to be allowed to play with their hearts and souls. They have to come out and attack hard from the first second of the game.”
Absolute shipwreck before Carletto
With that energy floating in the air comes more slate flips. “Pep changes his mind again. The 3-4-3 had become a 4-2-3-1, but now he opts for a 4-2-4 formation. Just as he did in Dortmund in July 2013, in his debut match. But it didn’t work in Dortmund, and it won’t work now.”. And so much. Madrid had a snack in the center of the Munich field at the Allianz, Carletto he inflicted the worst European defeat on Bayern at home (0-4) and the post-match was gloomy. Guardiola locked himself in his Allianz office with his hard core, but he left a phrase collected by Perarnau that summed up the betrayal he had self-inflicted: “I’ve spent the entire season refusing to play a 4-2-4. The entire season. And I decide to do it today, the most important night of the year. A complete shit”.
Tactical memories that will surely have surfaced in the mind of the Sampedor coach, eight years later and now at City, when faces a similar challenge. Now he has to defend income and the squads, both his own and those of others, are different (Kroos and Alaba played for him at Bayern), but in front of him is a stadium that is imposing, such as the Bernabéu and the colleague on the opposite bench of that “monumental shit Carlo Ancelotti…