Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has publicly voiced his desire for Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola to take the shackles off the current Bundesliga champions. Ballack made his point that the team needs greater attacking diversity if they are to seriously challenge for the Champions League trophy next season. Bayern have failed twice under Pep’s reign, bowing out in the semifinals to both of the Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Sam Tabar even says that while attacking play is certainly a feature of Guardiola’s teams, the emphasis is often on retention of the ball. Ballack has made his point that while this is all and well, the team needs a greater balance between the Guardiola style and a more direct, and fast approach to generating offense.
Though Ballack’s comments may emanate from a divergent preference of style and system compared to Guardiola, the fact that Bayern’s inability to return to the Champions League final under the Catalan boss does validate Ballack’s criticisms somewhat. Bayern have failed to break down both Real Madrid and Barcelona’s defenses while playing this style, save for one recent game at the Allianz Arena, after Barcelona had all but advanced to the final anyway. Perhaps Pep’s possession-focused approach works well when seeking to dominate weaker opposition, but needs to be altered once encountering the stiffest competition that Europe has to offer. It will be a very intriguing twelve months to see how Bayern progress.