Bayern Munich are unquestioned European giants. Only Real Madrid (10) and AC Milan (seven) have more European Cups/Champions Leagues than their German counterparts' five—not forgetting the Spanish and Italian superclubs both received a 14-season head start.
Whatever Munich are in Europe—mainly a rampaging juggernaut—what does that make them in the Bundesliga? One could suggest: "The unstoppable force and the immovable object."
German football, under such dictatorial constraints, has become a one-way street. While not the only in club Europe's five major leagues to enjoy such dominance, namely Paris Saint-Germain in France and arguably Juventus in Italy, Bayern completely overpower their domestic competition.
Borussia Dortmund are the closest thing the Bavarians have to a "title rival," and Munich have acquired two of their best players—Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski—within the past three years.
It hardly seems fair, but it makes sense.
Some might perceive this disparity in talent and overall strength as an ideal scenario for every manager in world football.
Bayern Munich have world-class footballers, Euros to burn, an impressive youth academy, tremendous supporters and an amicable environment in which to perfect one's footballing philosophy. Many would take the position without thinking twice, but one could anticipate trepidation among others.
If ambition is the father of motivation, having everything handed to you—and coping with the expectation of not breaking a functioning machine—has potential to wear down an ambitious individual.
Pep Guardiola is an ideal example.
Helping sculpt a fantastic Barcelona squad that dominated Spain and Europe (which also bled into international competition), the then-41-year-old decided he would test different waters after four seasons in Catalonia.
Many thought the Premier League would be his next destination, but he chose Bayern Munich.
Taking a gap year during the 2012/13 season, Guardiola accepted the Bavarian position before the campaign ended.
Then-Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes had announced his retirement, and that season was his last in management. It just so happened his last season ended with the team winning the treble. They had been the nearly club in Europe for years, losing to Chelsea in the Champions League final the season prior, but when Guardiola announced he was taking over, Heynckes won three major trophies.
It made expectations for the Spaniard skyrocket. "If Heynckes can win the treble, then Guardiola can win it better," was the pervading sentiment—as if winning a treble, of any distinction, could be done better.
Guardiola won the Bundesliga in his first two seasons as Bayern boss, and he retained the DFB-Pokal in 2013/14. By most standards, that haul would be enough, but it has not been. Without a strong domestic league to give credence to league titles—or the insane expectation of annual Champions League triumphs—whatever the 44-year-old does can never measure up to Heynckes' 2012/13.
Bayern will likely secure their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title this season, but the fifth-straight attempt will not be Guardiola's battle. Understanding this plight, the in-demand manager announced his intentions to try England, as noted by BBC Sport, and Carlo Ancelotti is simply waiting to rearrange his desk at season's end.
Sacked from Real Madrid last year, the Italian could have no qualms about taking the Munich job—it is an ideal environment to ply one's trade, but Guardiola's motivations are different. His goal is proving himself at the most competitive domestic level (which is thought to be England), something a manager like Ancelotti has already done.
Bayern Munich, though, are in an interesting space.
They have the resources to compete with every football club on Earth, yet the disparity in quality between them and other German clubs has the potential to dissuade ambitious managers—or at least curious ones—from camping their long term. It appears a place where veteran managers, who have already cut their proverbial teeth, should go to manage a superclub.
Whether that model is sustainable without rivals to legitimise league titles is not a question unique to German football, but is a question Germany—and specifically Bayern Munich—might want to solve.
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