Ancelotti’s Struggles Highlight Just How Good Pep Is

Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking yesterday by Bayern Munich has taken a backseat to mass hysteria circling round an apparent crisis at the Bavarian club – commonly viewed as a bastion of stability whilst priding itself on being far from the type of outfit to terminate the contract of such a widely respected world-class coach as the Italian, who was barely into his second term at the helm.

Simultaneously, the former AC Milan player and manager’s travails at the Bundesliga giants highlight just how good a job Pep Guardiola did during his time in Germany, despite almost universal claims to the contrary that branded his tenure a “failure”.

The successive appointments of Guardiola and Ancelotti were a blatant ploy to retain the Champions League title last won in 2013 that, along with Chelsea’s penalties win against Bayern on their own turf the year before, only temporarily broke a La Liga stranglehold on club football’s most prized trophy, which the two coaches were both complicit in by overseeing successful spells at Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.

Believe it or not, Ancelotti actually started out better than his Catalan counterpart and sent both fans and pundits alike into raptures with a 100% record in Bayern’s first eight games won by an aggregate score of 27-1. As opposed to his predecessor, renowned for his love of pace and youth, Ancelotti – who won his last UCL title a decade ago with an ageing Milan side led by a 38-year-old Paolo Maldini in command of fellow veterans such as Alessandro Nesta and Pippo Inzaghi in the twilight of their careers – stuck with old heads including Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben whilst new signings including Mats Hummels and Renato Sanches took a backseat.

By the conclusion of Wednesday night’s 3-0 humbling to PSG, that had CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge warning of consequences which eventually culminated in Ancelotti’s first ever mid-season dismissal, it was Ribery and Robben who found themselves on the bench – suggesting that the chain-smoking technician had failed to find the right balance of youth and experience.

To gathering journalists, the Dutchman refused to confirm whether or not Ancelotti had the support of the players minutes after this out of character drubbing Rummenigge himself confirmed as “not Bayern Munich”.

Compare this to when Guardiola announced his departure prior to the end of last season and had club legend Phillip Lahm lamenting his exit. Other fans included Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, who was often frozen out by Ancelotti to the chagrin of the Bayern faithful who cherish the boy from Bavaria, one of their own, dearly as do football fans in general.

Not that Ancelotti’s reign didn’t yield silverware, a Bundesliga and two Super Cup achievements that most clubs would be proud of. But this is Bayern Munich, which expects more.

Put simply, Ancelotti did not start this campaign well. Fresh off the heels of a disastrous preseason, he failed to find the harmony required to balance the egos of household names and the next generation whilst also reluctant to make signings this summer with a lack of help from a board equally as shy to enter the arms race of modern football and shell out astronomical sums for its biggest stars.

Appearing to have finally transformed Manchester City after being allowed to spend a fortune, Pep Guardiola’s three Bundesligas, two domestic cups and World Club championship show just how good he was at Bayern in light of the struggles of the club and Ancelotti, who was criticised for a lack of ideas and bemused his squad through a total drop off in intensity when compared to their former boss which resulted in a domino effect lethargy.