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Pep Guardiola: Proving Grounds

Started on 30 November 2013 by Jozef
Latest Reply on 25 February 2014 by Jozef
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Nice update again, bit poor to lose really but Pep will bounce back!
Nice update, will be waiting for more :D
Walter: Is it just like Pep?

K1: Thanks mate, they're fun to write and hoepfully it's fun to read

Louis: Maybe it was but I wasn't really all that bothered

Pauker: I will bring more

The Draw

I sat down with my pasta next to Dom who had Chicken. The players were watching some kind of soap opera. I started to chat with Dom and halfway through our conversation, I realised we had forgotten something. I sprung from my chair and grabbed the remote from Manuel’s (Neuer) hands. As I changed the channel the players started to complain. However they stopped when they heard the words Bayern Munich will be in group G. Every set of eyes turned to the screen. We waited patiently until the second draw was done. There was silence as Luis Figo twisted open the miniature football. He read out the name Atletico Madrid. Conversation sparked between the players. I sat back in my seat and said to Dom that it would be a tricky fixture. Suddenly silence fell upon the room again as we waited for our opponents from pot 3 to be announced. Ruud Gullit opened the ball and read out loud and clear Manchester City. Of course we would get the best team in the god damn pot and the noise level was now higher than it had ever been. When the presenters were ready for the 4th pot everyone had calmed down. They got to pot G and our old player Michael Ballack stepped up and picked out a ball. He read the name with a slight chuckle; Celtic FC.

It could’ve been a lot easier. We could’ve had Molde, Apoel, Plzen or Partizan Belgrade. In pot 3 we got by far the best team. Man City would be an extremely tough opponent and playing Atletico would be no walk in the park either. It was to be a relatively difficult group stage, however you’ve got to remember that all those other teams are thinking “Oh no, we’ve got Bayern Munich”. They will be fearing us and we will have to use that to our advantage. So let’s have a look at these groups.

Group A: It will be close for top spot, Chelsea or Juventus. Both sides have tremendous squads and we already experienced the quality of Chelsea and that’s why I think they’ll top the group. Juventus will come second. Sociedad will pick up a fair few points but only enough to be drafted into the Europa League. Copenhagen will be nowhere.

Group B: I think in this one that Arsenal will take top spot, they have the best set-up out of all those teams. Schalke are obviously good but I think that Olympiakos will really give them a run for their money and we could see either side in the first knock-out round. Unfortunately I don’t think that Apoel will be able to get hold of a decent amount of points and they should finish rock-bottom.

Group C: This one is going to be tight with all 4 looking as though they have the ability to cross the line into the next round. However I don’t think that Anderlecht will be able to win the group. Leverkusen, Marseille and Benfica though will all be gunning for that top spot. It could be anyone of them. This means that you will have one very strong team going into the Europa League.

Group E: Real Madrid will want revenge on Dortmund after last year’s semi-final. This is why I think the Spaniards will cross the line in first. Honestly I don’t think that AC Milan pose any threat to those two at all in terms of qualifying. They may be able to take away a point or two from them but that would be it. Madrid and Dortmund for the Knockout round.

Group F: This one will be interesting. Looking at it now you would say that Man United and PSG were to go through, but I know that Napoli have some tricks up their sleeve. I think that Napoli would be able to dethrone one of them but I’m not sure. I think they’ll get second place, but I don’t know which of the other 2 will prosper.

Group G: This will be tricky. Man City are blatantly very good and we will do very well to take over 3 points from them. At. Madrid will be difficult too. However a trip back to Spain will be nice. It feels as though I haven’t been there for ages. Celtic should be very easy. There such a nothing side. If we don’t take 6 points from them I will be very disappointed. It will be tough but I believe that we will definitely go through and perhaps we can take top spot.

Group H: Apart from Partizan they all could win the group. However, honestly I feel that Shakhtar have lost their momentum. All their best players left and the money they got for them has not been spent wisely. Therefore I think that it will be Porto and Galatasaray going through.
Good luck with that! Tough draw but winnable
2013-12-27 19:18#151538 k1rups : Good luck with that! Tough draw but winnable
Yeah it will be tricky and our first game is at the Etihad. Not looking forward to that.
Jozef's avatar Group Jozef
9 yearsEdited

August- Getting off to winning ways

Even though my first game was to be only against Regensburg, I fielded our first team. Although I still hadn’t decided who exactly was in my best team. Volland was given his debut, Shaqiri and Robben were on the wings. Kroos and Schweinsteiger were in the middle of the park to. After a sweeping passing move, Volland found Robben. The Dutchman ran a few yards and then cut inside to fire home. Later on 50 minutes, it was winger to winger play. Shaqiri ran a great length of the field down the left hand-side and then crossed to the back post where Robben popped up again to head it in. It was a great leap by the winger to double our lead. Around 15 minutes later and Volland had his goal. Shaqiri plsyed a ball into him from the left. The German then turned and ran unchallenged to the edge of the box where he smartly turned the defender and hit it low and hard into the bottom left corner. These 3 goal gave me my first win as Bayern manager and even though it was easy it was a proud day.

My first Bundesliga game. At home to Der Club. Nürnberg had had a good pre-season, however coming to the Allianz on the first day isn’t exactly great. I was without Ribery and Robben who had both sustained injuries during pre-season, so Shaqiri came out to the left and Müller was on the right. Mandzukic started ahead of Volland, who had to settle for the bench. The game was pretty poor to start off with, however on 24 minutes the deadlock was broken. Müller took on Javier Pinola and beat him. He floated it over to the near post and Mandzukic got his head to it to give us the lead. At 42 minutes Pogatetz pulled down Mandzukic in the area and Schweinsteiger calmly placed it into the corner. 3 minutes later Shaqiri whipped in a poor ball that rebounded off Alaba and fell to Schweinsteiger who made it 3-0. The second half was an extremely boring affair with no chances for either side. I told my side they had played well and they dropped off completely. However I was not bothered because we had won the game quite comfortably.

Our second game was a tricky one and I was quite pleased to get it out the way. To take 3 points from the Volkswagen arena is not easy and we struggled to get our 3 points but we did. We ran out 2-1 winners in a game that could really have gone either way. We started with no wingers and Ribery dropped out for Thiago. We started poorly and on 18 minutes the ref made a shocking decision. Kroos dispossessed Diego in our own area and started to run off with the ball when the referee pulled it back for a penalty. Koo stepped up and smashed it to the bottom left hand corner, however Neuer got there and pushed it onto the post. The ball fell back to Koo who hit it hard towards the other corner, when a flying Neuer got across miraculously to make a stunning double save. Then on the hour mark, Bastian Schweinsteiger went into an ariel battle with former team-mate Gustavo. The German won the header but stayed on the floor. He was forced to come off and after the match it was revealed that he had fractured his arm and he would be out for 4 weeks. 15 minutes later Thiago opened the scoring with a low and hard drive into the bottom left hand corner from 18 yards. Shaqiri who had come on for Schweinsteiger started to change things as he ran at the Wolfsburg defence. It was him that provided the final pass for Ribery, who made it 2-0. It was the last kick of the game and they had a free-kick that fell to Knoche who smashed it into the far corner. However it was too late and we took all 3 points.

Next up was newly promoted Braunschweig and many predicted that they would be the ones in 18th place come the end of the season. He Ribery was made to settle for the bench again as Shaqiri played on the left and Müller was preferred to Thiago in the middle. Robben started on the right and Kroos took the place of the injured Schweinsteiger. The game started off poorly with no real chances. Mandzukic hit the post towards the end of the first half and the teams went in at the break goalless. On 52 minutes we finally started to show our class. A nice passing move found it’s way out to Robben, the Dutchman slipped it between two defenders and into Müller’s path, who placed it in the far corner of the net. However on 81 minutes Braunschweig found some space on the right wing. Kratz slipped it into the path of the onrushing Vrancic and he smashed one into the top corner from 20 yards. It was a great goal, but it would not do. We were unable to find a way past them, but in the 90th Kroos took the ball off Ademi. He played it forward to Volland, he noticed the run of Ribery (who had come on for Shaqiri) and Ribery was able to cut inside and release a powerful strike into the corner of the net to win us the game.

We faced a short trip to Augsburg and Ribery had earned his place in the first team, we played 2 up front for the first time this season and Pizarro was the one who partnered Mandzukic. We dominated the match with 29 shots compared to their 4. How did we only score 2. It took a while to put ourselves in the lead. On 58 minutes Robben fired in a corner that was headed back out to him. The winger ran straight into the box unchallenged and fired one right at the keeper, but the power meant that he could only palm it into the corner. Then on 87 minutes Robben played a crossfield ball to Ribey. The Frenchman came inside and beat the 2 centre-backs. Then from just over 20 yards fired it into the right corner. This closed the game off and really made sure that we would take 3 points home.

The final game of the month was a waste of time and therefore one that I was not looking forward too. Mandzukic retained his first team spot and so did Robben, but Ribery lost out to Shaqiri. Thiago and Götze also came in to the side too. After half-an-hour the deadlock was broken by Eden Hazard. The tricky winger found some space in the box after Lampard’s pass and fired it hard almost straight at Neuer who was unable to keep it out because of the sheer power. 15 minutes later and Azpilicueta had a throw-in. He launched it long and Willian flicked it to the back post where and unmarked Eto’o slipped it home easily. They were no 2-0 up and we had some work to do. Then on 66 minutes, Azpilicueta’s shot caused a scramble in the box, it fell to Hazard who smashed home again. 3-0 and we had basically given up by now. With around 10 minutes left Lahm launched a cross low to the near post. Volland managed to get ahead of Ramires and he guided it past Cech into the net but we didn’t do anything else. That was it.

Sorry I couldn't bring you the league table, I sort of messed up there. Also I'm really not sure about where the scoreline is placed and what it is exactly, so if you could just tell me what you think and perhaps give some suggestions, Thanks.
Remarkable story Jozef, amazingly laid out and quality graphics too, wow! definitely will be following this story

A big blow

“Are you f***ing serious? Löw what the hell? This is the second time he’s been hurt on your watch. You were lucky last time and he was only out for a couple of days, now you’re telling me he’s broken his ankle.”

“I’m sorry Pep, but what can I do, if you want to blame someone, blame the Austrians for their tackling.”

“How long was it again?”

“Our physios have had a look and they reckon he will be out for 4 months”.

“4 months? Jesus Christ. 2 of my tactics consist of a central midfielder who attacks. He was the only one that loves to play in that position. Kroos, Thiago, Müller they all prefer to play somewhere else. Of course we have other options but Mario fits my tactic perfectly and now you’re telling me that he won’t be back until Christmas. F*** sake”.

“Sorry Pep, I am busy. I must return to my squad”.

“How about you make it a level playing field by crocking Reus?”


Wanker. I guess it wasn’t all his fault but still. He had only just returned from injury and they go and stick him in the starting line up. What did they think was gonna happen? I glanced outside and there was Dom working with the few had hadn’t been called up for the national team. I thought I better tell him, so I got up and lugged myself outside. I shouted out: “Boys, take 5”. All the players scattered around except for Tom(Starke) and Claudio(Pizarro) who stayed on the pitch to take shots.
Dom walked over and before I could say anything he saw the displeasure on my face.

“What’s wrong?”

“Just got a call from Jogi Löw”.

“About what?”

“Mario Götze broke his ankle yesterday in the match against Austria, he’s gonna be out for 4 months”.

“Sh**, it wasn’t David (Alaba) who did it was it?”

“I don’t think so, Jogi would’ve told me if it was him”.

“OK, I’ll brief Thiago and Toni (Kroos) when they come back on their new position. Oh and before you go some good news. Bastian (Schweinsteiger) started training properly today”.

“Good, might have to start against Leverkusen.”

“ Alright, I’ll go and tell him”.

“Thanks Dom”.

I sat down and thought about what we would do on the weekend. It’s gonna be tough. Leverkusen are a good side and they could really challenge us. Hopefully the boys aren’t too down after last week against Chelsea. We were poor and Hazard ran rings around us. We will work to make sure this doesn’t happen again. However it would be a challenge in trying to break down their defence. Götze was going to be key to our season, especially since he was the only one of the squad who was comfortable playing in that Enganche role. I was annoyed at international football. However the only way that I could make a difference would be to come an international manager. I sat and thought about it. Suddenly I thought of something. I could make my life a lot easier by taking charge of Germany and then fielding rival team players while my players keep their fitness. This I knew could not be achieved like that. However it could be possible that we are in charge at the end of the year. After all the World Cup is coming up and if Germany underperform then we could see Löw out and that’s when I would strike. This was going to be put into practice, I am actually going to try and do this. Suddenly I felt like a super villain, but I decided that I kind of liked that persona and sat back in my chair, if only I had a cat to stroke.

The big trip

I walked out the door and went to my car. I opened the door and threw my bag down in the passenger seat but before I got in. I turned and waved. Serra waved back with a smile too and the kids were as chirpy as always. They were enjoying life in Munich, the kids were doing well at school and had learnt a good deal of German. Serra was loving the atmosphere here and was coming back with recommendations of where we got out for dinner almost every day. Today though I was leaving Munich for England. I hadn't been there since that horrible day at Stamford Bridge. We were flying to Manchester airport. It was probably going to be our toughest game to come for the rest of the calendar year. The Etihad stadium awaits us.
It took an hour for me to reach the airport even though it was only 3.1 miles from my house. The morning rush was hectic. After all it was 7 am on a Monday morning. I got out my car and slammed the door. I looked around and came to the conclusion that I was the first one here. I went in anyway and started to look around. I had already been here a few times and I knew the place very well. So I decided that I'd head to the toilet. There was a McDonalds on the way and I had a look inside. I noticed 2 people at the counter ordering something, I looked up and approached the window. For the 2 at the counter seemed rather familiar. One had a head just like my own, while the other had an unmistakable afro. I tapped at the window and the 2 turned their head, suddenly they turned around and ran out of the fast food place. Arjen and Dante were always troublemakers, but I decided that I would let this one slide, after all they did give my a good laugh.I finished ,my business and turned around to my suprise the players were all standing there. I walked over and Dom saw me, he then nodded to the players and they all turned and went through customs. The team were all looking forward to this game. We had bounced back from the Chelsea game by beating Leverkusen 2-1. They knew it would be tricky and so did I.

A few hours later and we had touched down in Manchester. We lugged all our things out the car park but we hadn't brought much. We were lead to a coach which would take us to our hotel. It was quite near the Etihad and was very expensive, but we can't have our players sleeping in filth could we. Once we had gotten to our rooms. We gave the players an hour to watch TV or text their wives/girlfriends. Then at 5 PM me and Dom went round the rooms telling everyone that we would be going to the Etihad now.We had to train somewhere and so we went to the Etihad. We worked on defending set pieces and scoring them at the same time. Robben and Ribery were set the task of whipping them in, while the defenders defended and then everybody else attacked.This changed after 30 corners. We set Kevin to warm up Manuel and Tom alongside keeper coach Toni Tapalovic. All of this went on for a while and we had used up and hour and a half before we knew it. We had only been allocated 2 hours and 15 minutes, so we decided to go straight into a game. I didn't quite know which formation to use. The one with no wingers and 2 AM's and CM's or the one where everyone is spread out to give us width and options through the middle. One team used one the other sported the second tactic.

Team A (4-5-1): Neuer,Lahm, Boateng, Kirchhoff, Contento, Martinez, Thiago, Muller, Shaqiri, Volland,Pizarro.

Team B (4-3-3): Starke, Rafinha, Dante, Van Buyten, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Robben, Ribery, Strein,Mandzukic.

17th Minute: Team B takes the lead after Alaba makes an overlapping run and crosses it in to Mandzukic who rises above Kirchhoff to head it in.

29th minute: Team A miss a penalty. Shaqiri goes on a mazy run and is brought down by Rafinha. However Pizarro's penalty is brilliantly saved by Starke.

44th minute: Team B go 2 up just before half time. Schweinsteiger receives the ball on the edge of the box and releases a pile driver that Neuer is unable to stop.

58th minute: Team A pull one back. Thiago's corner meets Boateng's header at near post. All that corner work wasn't for nothing.

76th minute: Team B regain their 2 goal lead. Starke's long kick was flicked on by Mandzukic and Ribery found himself running down on goal. He slipped it past Neuer with ease. It was route one but a goals a goal.

87th minute: Thiago plays a delicate pass in between Lahm and Boateng and Volland runs onto it and curls into the far corner.That was to be the final goal of the match as it ended 3-2.

Even though the tactic that had many in the midfield lost,I decided to use it. It caused much moaning between the wingers but I think they understood. We had been studying City's Premier League games and they had been playing Toure quite far forward and Aguero slightly deeper. I felt that we had to silence these two and therefore went with the tactic. The only thing now was to figure out who would be playing were. Tomorrow was going to be a big day but we were ready
Another enjoyable read, good luck versus City!
Great read, and interesting! Seems that you levelled the teams, but Neuer conceded 3 times .-.
I can't tell if that's a good result or a bad one :P
Walter: Thanks Walter, the game will come soon.

Pauker: I guess he and the defence was unable to cope with Robbery,Kroos,Schweinsteiger and Mandzukic.

Louis: It's neither.

The big day

We stepped of the coach and I just looked around. There was next to no-one here, however that was all about to change. The sky was still blue just like the whole half of the city. When we played though, we would be protected from the mass of blue under the sheet of darkness and the only thing allowing us to see would be the batteries which commissioned the flood-lights. I was still standing there I realised that the team had already moved one and I was there alone. I turned and walked hastily to the players entrance.

As I made my way past the sole Sky camera, I threw my self into a panic because I had just remembered that I hadn't decided the team. A thought struck me, I could do things differently this time to add to the occasion. I would reveal the team after the players had come in from their pre-match training session just before kick-off. I walked into the dressing room and threw my bag onto the floor. The players stood and chatted. I left them to their own devices and went outside to set up a few drills, a possession game, Striker's vs Defenders, set pieces and long balls. First though we did some fitness. An hour and a half later and the players were called back into the dressing room by Dom. I watched and made sure they went in while Dom and some of the other coaches collected all the footballs. I followed the players down the tunnel but as I was about to push open the door into the dressing room. A sky journalist spotted me,he pointed and shouted, suddenly there were about 10 journalists and another 10 cameras rushing towards me. That's when I realised that they were trying to broadcast the team news and I haven't given them a thing. That was because I hadn't figured out who was going to play my self yet. I dashed into the dressing room while the reporters knocked on the door constantly. I locked it and stood in front of the players, I had their attention thanks to that media onslaught.

"Right, boys. I'm sorry I haven't told you already but I've been struggling to pick a team. It's so hard to leave one of you out, you know that. However I have managed to come to a starting 11. In Goal we have Neuer as usual. A back four of David, Dante, Jerome and Philipp. Jan,I picked Jerome and Dante over you because I feel that they are a greater threat from corners which could be crucial. Javi will sit just in front of all of you. He will be doing his usual job of just being there to stop things. The two in cm are Bastian and Thiago. They do both jobs well, defence and attack. The two in front of them are Toni and Thomas. You two can score goals and we made need a long shot to win, so don't be afraid to have a strike. Having said that Mario is just in front of you. Look to feed him, he will be able to hold it up allowing one of you in or he can turn and shoot himself.I apologize to those that didn't make the 11 but I have chosen this in the best interest of the team and you may still get your chance. Boys you know how important this game could prove to be. Despite their fantastic squad, our's is better. We can beat them and they will find it hard to beat us. So let's do this."

The players walked out into the tunnel and before I knew it they were making their way out to the roar of the crowd. I was still staying in the shadows of the tunnel. I decided that I should make my way out. Manuel Pellegrini was waiting at the exit. We shook hands and wished each other good luck, he smiled and In turned away to our dugout, I took a seat as the referee put his whistle to his lips. It was about to begin......

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