Bayern Munich's treble in 2013 was special but their destiny, with a final in Berlin, is now just two steps away after a destructive win over Porto. Pep Guardiola knows it's much more than just another title.
Pep Guardiola's time at Bayern Munich has been successful to a point. Last night's win over Porto, confirming the club's record fourth consecutive trip to the Champions League semifinals, was for the fans, players and Guardiola himself, much more than just a quarterfinal.
"This is about life or death and I know how very important it was," Guardiola said after the game to German broadcasters "ZDF." Of course, Guardiola isn't speaking literally. But the Spaniard knows that for Bayern Munich, much like Guardiola's previous club Barcelona, European titles are the main benchmark. "It's about winning, just like at Barcelona."
The famous Bavarian dialect battle cry for Bayern Munich is 'Mia San Mia,' which roughly translates to 'We are who we are'. After being ridiculed from all corners in recent weeks, a release of frustration could be felt from all inside the Allianz Arena on Tuesday. Bayern's aim is to achieve the success on and off the pitch of the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Winning a second treble in three years would achieve that on-field step.
For Bayern at this moment winning the Bundesliga is inevitable, reaching the German Cup final is probable, while the Champions League is the pinnacle, the all-encompassing stamp in the history books. Winning Europe's prized title for those elite teams – which Bayern wants to be ranked alongside – is the be all and end all. Pep Guardiola has done it before, and wants to cement his legacy with Bayern by doing it again.
'We can play better'
Despite ripping his trousers during his sideline celebrations, Pep Guardiola was still bullish after the game. "We can play even better," he said, in what is no doubt a warning to other title contenders. "After the loss in Porto the players were my heroes. Now it's easy to love them."
Fans are now dreaming of a trophy haul on home soil, with the German Cup and Champions League finals in Berlin this season, within a few days of each other. After a show of Bayern's best in the face of adversity, the pieces are falling into place for the final push. The likes of Franck Ribery, Javi Martinez and Arjen Robben are all soon to return, for what could be Bayern Munich and Guardiola's finest hour.
The Spaniard has always said the achievement of Jupp Heynckes' treble in 2013 could never be replicated. Still, after their injury crisis this season and the accusations of "a loss of trust" within the camp on medical issues, winning the treble in 2015 would arguably be both Guardiola's and Bayern Munich's greatest achievement.