Opinion: Pep Guardiola exit a blow to the Bundesliga′s development | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.02.2016
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Opinion: Pep Guardiola exit a blow to the Bundesliga's development

Bayern Munich are already preparing for life without Pep Guardiola who is to head to Manchester in the summer. DW's Ross Dunbar believes Pep's departure could hold back the tactical development of Germany's top flight.

Play, possession and position - three words that define Pep Guardiola's philosophy, according to former pro Thierry Henry. "Positional play" is slowly becoming more prominent in football's huge and ever-changing vocabulary. Thomas Tuchel, coach of Borussia Dortmund, is Germany's most successful proponent of this game framework.

Until Monday, it was a badly kept secret that Guardiola is preparing to leave for Manchester City. His three-year stint in Munich has taken Bayern's football to another level. Tactical creativity oozes out of almost every area of the pitch. Players are universally flexible and perceptive. Any problems can be solved with simple in-game tweaks.

However, the inevitable departure of Guardiola leaves a bit of a vacuum in German football. He is to be succeeded by the vastly experienced Carlo Ancelotti, who has won two Champions League titles at AC Milan and one with Real Madrid. However, Ancelotti has the reputation of being the sort of coach who can take a team that is on the verge of winning trophies, and give it the final push it needs to actually do so. For this Bayern team, the only title left to win is the Champions League, and it is not clear how far they remain from this goal.

Interaktiver WM-Check 2014 Trainer Chile Sampaoli

With Jorge Sampaoli (above) and Julen Lopetegui on the market, Bayern may regret not hiring a manager closer to Pep Guardiola's style

Like Louis van Gaal before him, Guardiola was tasked with teaching fresh concepts and innovative structures to his players. That he has done, but Bayern may not yet be the finished article. Pep knows he will be leaving, so where is the incentive for him to accelerate this development as he approaches the end of his contract?

Bayern's managerial situation is very messy for a club that for so long has been the benchmark for management and strategic planning. Could it be that Bayern simply didn't quite have the nerve to appoint someone with a similar coaching philosophy to Guardiola, but is still relatively unknown?

Chile's Copa America-winning boss, Jorge Sampaoli, is currently on the market, as is former Porto coach Julen Lopetegui, while Paco Jemez has done a notable job at Rayo Vallecano in Spain. Mauricio Pochettino of Spurs, Roger Schmidt at Leverkusen and Fiorentina's Paulo Sousa may also be better suited to building upon the foundation laid by Guardiola.

Thinking outside the box

Bundesliga teams have mainly stuck with homegrown coaches who have experience in the league. Schalke, for example, opted for Andre Breitenreiter, whose previous club, Paderborn, were relegated last season. You could argue that plenty of better candidates were available.

The lack of foreign coaches has made the league profoundly homogenous in style. Very few teams look to command possession of the ball or focus on combination play.

With the exception of Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, arguably only Mainz and Wolfsburg are built on ball retention. While the glorification of pressing might be fun for the Bundesliga's fans, it's not exactly a groundbreaking style, nor is it particularly healthy for the league.

Andre Breitenreiter

Andre Breitenreiter is one of 14 German coaches in the Bundesliga, adding to a homogeneous style in the league

If Germany needs a reminder as to how dangerous this can be, they need look no futher than across the border to the Netherlands. The Dutch have become obsessed with their own methods of playing, which, as Van Gaal's critics will tell you at Manchester United, is out of sync with modern football.

Not opening the doors to foreign coaching talent could stifle the Bundesliga in the long term. Fourteen of the league's coaches out of 18 are from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while Dutchman Huub Stevens has had eight different stints in Germany and both Pal Dardai (Hungary) and Viktor Skripnik (Ukraine) spent much of their playing careers in Germany.

Whether Bayern will continue to get better after Guardiola is gone, remains to be seen. However, there is no question that he has brought a radical way of thinking to German football - and that's something the Bundesliga will definitely miss.