After his arrival in Munich, the new FC Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has been busy amidst unrelenting media attention.
Preseason training started on Wednesday and by the end of the following day, 18,000 fans had been to watch Guardiola’s charges strut their stuff in the Allianz Arena. With everyone speculating about Pep’s tactical tendencies and personnel preferences, it really is a fallacy that football stops. With the new season approaching and Bayern under pressure to defend at least one of last year’s three trophies, Pep’s choices and changes will be fascinating to observe.
Despite having a plethora of more obvious choices, most notably the yet-to-arrive Mario Götze, Franck Ribéry as central playmaker was something Guardiola wanted to test. Aside from the big names though, Guardiola fame for youthful integration means preseason is an exciting time for some of Bayern’s youngsters.
Emre Can (19) has been the subject of much speculation regarding a loan move to Eintracht Frankfurt or FC Augsburg and although a move remains likely, the defensive midfielder will be keen to prove his ability in Munich. Bayern’s youngest ever Bundesliga player Pierre-Emile Höjberg (17) will be hoping to burst onto the scene this year, as will fellow attacking midfielder Patrick Weihrauch (19) and Mitchell Weiser (19), who returns from a loan spell at 1. FC Kaiserslautern. One other name worth mentioning is American-German Julian Green. The 18-year-old has impressed at both U17 and U19 level for the club and under the watchful eye of Guardiola, could blossom.
Having had a light first session, Guardiola upped the effort on Thursday with an increased focus on ball control and stamina. “You immediately sense he knows what he wants,” said Ribéry to the club website afterwards. “He carefully explains what he’s trying to achieve,” added new signing Jan Kirchhoff. Guardiola’s meticulous nature has always been well-documented but now Bayern will not only get to experience it first hand but most likely reap the rewards as well.