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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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One game to go

I woke up and looked across, Cristina was already up. She was probably downstairs. I pulled my heavy self out of bed and stood by the side. I looked out the window and unfortunately the rain had continued through the night and it was still raining now. It was still dark and I looked at the time, 6:48 am. I thought about going back to bed but I didn't. I went downstairs to see Cristina. I plodded down the stairs and I saw her standing in the kitchen. She was making lunches for the children, after all they had school today. I walked over to Cristina and kissed her on the cheek,she smiled.

"Did you sleep alright?"

"Yeah, fine thanks. You?"

"I had a really nice night. Do you want anything for breakfast?"

"I'll just have some toast, please".

"OK it will take a couple of minutes."

I got up from my bar stool type seat where the kids have their breakfast and walked over to the white sofa in front of the huge flat screen TV that hangs on our wall. I reached for the remote which lay on the armrest and I turned the TV on. I was greeted with what I wanted: Highlights. I turned quickly and grabbed my favourite pillow and I rested my bald and shiny head against it. I was in complete silence as pictures of the Allianz came onto the screen along with players in sky blue.....

Kick Off: We are underway, Bayern got the better of Man City at the Etihad and can they do it again. The pitch looks a bit frozen today though. It's been a cold night in Munich along with rain. Let's see if anyone can use these conditions to their advantage...

2nd minute: Martinez plays it right to Müller who receives it on the halfway line. He looks across the line and that's a great piece of play by Müller who sees the tackle coming and jinks past it. He gets to the by-line and crosses it deep to VOLLAND, oh he really should've scored there but in the end it was easy for Costel Pantilimon. He needed to generate more power with the header.

6th minute: It's great play by Müller again, he is giving Lescott nightmares. He floats it in and Mandzukic is OH. What a header by Konpany. Mandzukic is a great header of the ball and he would've scored if Kopmany hadn't stretched and knocked it away oh but the danger is not over as Müller has the ball in the box but his shot finds the side netting. Bayern looking dangerous.

8th minute: Volland runs over to take a quick throw, Mandzukic flicks it onto Kroos who let's fly but the shot is charged down by Lescott and comes back out to Müller who oh dear. He had the ball on the penalty spot, more or less a clear sight of goal and he's blazed it high and wide. He really should've hit the back of the net there.

14th minute: Lucas Leiva has played a poor ball to Toure there and Pizarro thinks he can make it..... Oh dear, he's upended Toure and to me it looks like he went in with two feet. This could be very bad news for Bayern......and it is. The referee brandishes the red card and could the game turn on it's head from this point onwards.

22nd minute: Contento gets there before Richards, he puts in a dangerous cross, Mandzukic wins it but it's cleared by Toure, but only as far as MARTINEZ. Great save by Pantilimon. It was hit with power and he got down low to palm it away.

24th minute: Lucas' touch is a heavy won and Kroos has won it and Bayern can break here. Volland takes over, Mandzukic now. He turns and plays a lovely through ball to Thomas Müller, he's in, he has to score.....NO. Lescott comes in with a sliding challenge to dispossess Müller and end Bayern's counter. It was a great tackle but the German wanted to much time and payed the price for it.

31st minute: Müller has the ball on the right and he has lots of time and space as the City defense rush back, he fires it low and OOOOOAAAAAHHHHH. Kompany attempted to put it out for a corner but he smashed it against his own post, the ball is still flying around the box but Pantilimon collects it. City are living dangerously.

"Pep, the toast is ready"


I didn't take my eyes off the screen as I retrieved my breakfast. With great haste I opened the fridge door and grabbed the jam. I then rushed back over to the sofa and sat with a plate. This time I wasn't relaxed. I was sitting on the edge of my seat. Even though I knew the final outcome.

37th minute: Oh and now City have a chance to break, Contento is way out of position and Toure could find him bur he's tackled by Martinez, now Bayern can break. Funnily enough it's now Contento who is in the perfect position to deliver a cross. He know has the ball and he plays it to the edge of the box to Martinez who lifts it over Lescott to Müller and WHAT A SAVE. Pantilimon flew with great speed to the bottom corner of his goal to turn away Müller's volley. Great save.

52nd minute: Volland is running down the center and he sprays it out wide to Müller who is in acres of space. He has time on the wing and looks across. He fires it in.......FINALLY. Mandzukic beats Pantilimon and City finally take the lead. The Romanian had no chance with that one. The striker met the ball just outside the 6 yard box and steered it into the bottom left corner. 1-0.

67th minute: Kompany get's there before Martinez and now Dzeko plays a first time ball to Toure and the midfielder is through he must bring it level and he's skied it. A poor finish by Toure who fired it well over Neuer's cross bar and Bayern can breathe.

At this point I turned off the TV. I knew that we saw the rest of the game through with virtually no more chances and that's why I was pleased. I looked down at my plate and only crumbs remained. I didn't remember eating the toast but I did. I walked back to put the toast away and then I saw the family leaving for school. They closed the door and I ran to the front window to wave them off. The kids saw me and smiled. I was happy today.
Nice update there with the highlights and a good win
Great update mate! :)
K1: Thanks mate, we dominated the game and as I'm sure you realised, we should've won by more.

jontearonsson: Thanks.

You owe me!

"Great win boys, what a month. Every game. Fantastic."

They had forgotten.....and so had I. It was nothing major but I would be reminded of it later.

I left the dressing room first as I always did and went out to my car. It was quite a pleasant day. No rain, 12 degrees and actually some sunshine. Even though I leave the dressing room first, I am always the last to leave when we're playing a home match. It was not going to be any different today. I reached into my bag and grabbed my phone. I had grown quite addicted to Football Manager and I found myself a website to read about everyone else's journeys on the game. I had grown quite attached to the site and I was thinking of becoming a member. As I flicked through the latest update involving Kevin Keegan and Maradona all the players and the coaching staff came out and into the car park. I waited a bit longer and eventually lifted my head to make sure that everyone had gone. However my eyes were met with a sly smile. It was Dom. I looked inquisitively at him and he just laughed. Then he held his hand out..

"That will be €20 my dear friend".


"I thought you'd forget. Remember when you took away the rest day before a match...."

"Oh crap".

I reached into my bag once again and pulled out my wallet. I searched through it until I found the right note and I handed it over to him.

"Thanks for paying form my dinner pep, oh and I'm going to tell the players so you'll have to give them their rest day."

We both laughed and I gave him the finger as he climbed into his car and drove away. He waved as he drove by and I retreated to my own car. He could be cheeky sometimes and he was always up for a laugh. He was right about the players though, I would have to give it back to them even though I don't like it. A promise is a promise. It was then that I had an idea. I would quickly brief them on the effects of terminating the break, then I would give them a choice. During the day they would be called to say what they want, one at a time. I was hoping that they would choose to keep working on the day but the chances of it happening were slim. I was pleased with myself for thinking this one up and I looked forward to the results. Tomorrow though we did have a day off. I was going to take Marius to his football game tomorrow. He isn't that good but he knows a lot about the game and could be quite successful as a coach in the future. After that I was going to play FM and watch the rest of the Bundesilga weekend. I pulled into my driveway and I got a call. It was from David Villa. I spoke to him only briefly but he and the Atletico side were spending some time in Munich after our game because of the Christmas break and he wondered if I was free. I said I was and we arranged to meet in Munich on Friday the 13th of December. I looked forward too it and I'm sure he did too.
Never heard of such Maradona updates Pep speaks of :P Quality update! I hope Pep isn't the superstitious type after arranging a meet up with Villa on Friday 13th

November- 6 out of 6

Bayern Munich 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

November was to be a relatively difficult month and the first of the games was at home to Frankfurt. Kirchhoff started at the back and Mandzukic started up front. Müller was on the right and Ribery on the left. We dominated the match and had 31 shots overall and 17 on target, however it took us 78 minutes to take the lead and it was a rather scruffy goal. Thiago delivered a deep corner. Kevin Trapp went to catch it but was challenged by Dante. The Frankfurt players appealed for a foul by the Brazilian but nothing was given and the ball fell to Jan Kirchhoff who blasted it into an empty net. It was a poor performance though and we had to pick up.

Celtic 2-4 Bayern Munich

Then we had to play our 4th Champions league game and it was a trip to Scotland. It was a great game and the first goal came on 20 minutes. Lahm chipped the ball to the edge of the box and Alaba brought it down and then hit it with his weak foot into the corner. 20 minutes later we had a corner but it was headed away, however Javi Martinez was waiting on the edge of the area and unleashed a spectacular bicycle kick into the corner to make it 2-0. 5 minutes later a nice passing move was spoilt when Volland was tackled, however it fell to Mandzukic who tucked it home with ease. 5 minutes into the first half Celtic had a free kick. The ball in was poor but ex Schalke striker Teemu Puuki reacted quickly and smashed it in. Late in the second half, Pizarro received the ball 25 yards from goal. He faced up against Van Dijk and left him for dead with a brilliant piece of skill and then slotted the ball into the far corner to restore our 3 goal lead. However a minute later Mathhews got the ball on the wing and beat Alaba all too easily and then smashed the ball against the post and in.

Hertha Berlin SC 1-2 Bayern Munich

Our next game was away at newly promoted side Hertha Berlin however Hertha had been doing well for themselves and were in the top half of the table. We started with Pizarro up front and a centre back pairing of Kirchhoff and Boateng. On 30 minutes Hosogai jumped unfairly with Pizarro and a penalty was given, Schweinsteiger powered it at goal and the keeper got a hand to it but he could not stop it from going in. 5 minutes later and we had a free kick. Ribery lobbed it into the box from a central position and Martinez brought it down, however it was Boateng to have a shot on goal. It was a poor effort and the keeper saved it with ease, unfortunately for Hertha the keeper, Buchert, was unable to hold it and Robben pounced on the rebound to give us a 2 goal lead. In the 90th minute Brazilian Ronny found his way into the area, his strike was straight at Neuer but it was powerful. He was not able to keep it out and Hertha reduced the deficit, but it was too late and we took all 3 points.

FSV. Mainz 05 1-4 Bayern Munich

Mainz was our next opponent and I decided to give Shaqiri a chance in the first team despite his poor form. Meanwhile Mandzukic started ahead of Pizarro. Within 5 minutes of the game, Shaqiri justified his selection as he volleyed home the cross from Ribery. On 8 minutes Shaqiri was fouled in the box by Moritz and Schweinsteiger tucked home yet another penalty. 15 minutes later and Schweinsteiger had scored another penalty after Pizarro was pulled in the area by Noveski. 10 minutes later and Alaba had his second goal of the season, even if it was quite bizarre. The Austrian sent a looping cross into the box, when goalkeeper Heinz-Müller dropped it into his own net. On 38 minutes Okazaki found some space in our area and played a nice little ball to Nicolai Müller who blasted the ball into the corner. Neuer had no chance. However it didn’t effect that outcome of the game as we went away as comfortable winners.

Bayern Munich 1-0 Manchester City

Next up was the visit of Manchester city who had only 1 point from 4 games in the group. Contento started at left back and Kroos was preferred to Schweinsteiger. We didn’t get off to a great start when Peru captain Claudio Pizarro was sent off for a horrendous tackle on Yaya Toure. We made some changes and still managed to dominate 11 man City and finally our reward came. In the 54th minute substitute Mandzukic got on the end of a Müller cross to place home and that was the way it stayed.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Hannover 96

Hannover faced a visit to the Allianz in the last game of the month and Pizarro started up front despite his red card against City. At the back Dante dropped out again. We had control of the game but it took us a long time to breakthrough. With 15 minutes left, Shaqiri made a run down the right wing and then found Mandzukic at the near post who scored. 2 minutes later, Ribery crossed to Thiago. The Spaniard was tackled, however the ball fell into the path of the onrushing Mandzukic who hit a really well placed finish to get his brace. 1 minute later and Ribery was lining up to take a free-kick. The Frenchman smacked it to the far post where Shaqiri beat everyone to it to head it in. We scored 3 goals in 3 minutes and that was that.


A fantastic month, even though I do have to bring back the extra day off. The first game against Frankfurt was poor even though we dominated the match. All of our shots came from distance and like I said earlier it was a very scrappy goal that brought us the 3 points. At this point I feared for the remainder of the month as I thought that this poor form would continue. A trip to Celtic was tougher than first expected and they in fact had beaten Man City earlier. However 4 wonderful goals gave us the win. We were still sloppy at the back, but the team had confidence now. We had to carry this over to Berlin game. It was a long trip and it would be a difficult game. Our Goals were lucky and we needed to play some proper football. However it was enough. After that things went very smoothly. A trip to Mainz ended in an easy victory. Next was Man City. Despite their quality we dominated the game and should have won by more. We then ended the month with a straight-forward victory at home to Hannover. It was good and the winter break was coming up. We needed to maintain this form throughout December. This will be tricky though as we play Dortmund and Atletico next month in one of only 3 real games. The club world cup follows but I don't value it.
I really enjoyed the shaqiri goal :) awesome update and I love reading this story
Nice month :) I always struggle versus Frankfurt too! I don't know what it is about them.
Jason: Thanks mate, Shaqiri's goal was quite something.

Paddy: I think it was just a one off to be honest, but I could be wrong.

Am I the only one that speaks the truth?

I looked at my newspaper and it clearly read: Jose Mourinho-" We are a team in transition". I threw it onto a nearby chair and walked towards the press room. I approached the door and then stopped. I changed my mind and turned around. I took it from the chair and rolled it up. I then pushed open the doors and sat in my chair, placing the newspaper on the table in front of me. I then took a sip from the water and sat back. I scanned the room and saw nothing out of the ordinary. The first question came in only seconds later. I looked down at my paper as he asked it.

" It was a great month for you, however you are up against some very good sides in December. How will you prepare for it?"

"You know that I will not answer anything like that to the best of my ability. It gives away too much information. So why ask it? Never mind. I will give you a nothing answer like everybody else does. Ready? Of course they will be tricky games but we have a very good squad here and I think it is possible for us to win both games. Fortunately we have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League so the Atletico game won't count for much. I still want to win but it's not important. Dortmund will be trickier but at the end of the day it's just one game and it shouldn't affect the title race too much."

"Are you looking forward to the club world cup in Morocco?"

"Of course, it's a big event even though some people don't recognise it as one. It means a lot to me and I'm sure you'll remember the way I cried after winning it with Barca. So of course I want to win it with Bayern. Morocco is a lovely country, I've been a couple of times and I look forward to it a lot. However I do want to be home before Christmas eve."

"I noticed you had a newspaper in your hand, would you mind shedding any light on that?"

"As you are probably aware, we keep hearing managers talk about their team being too young and in transition. No team is like this, they are here to win. It may be true that the team will be better in a few years but that doesn't change anything in the present. I'm sure that those with half a brain will realise that it's all mind games. Other managers that get suckered into these kind of things don't deserve to be in charge of an entire football club. Maybe they could be the kit man, no disrespect to our kit man Lars. He does a fantastic job and could probably do better as a manager than some idiots."

"Strong words, now I know that we are only at the halfway stage but how do you rate your chances of winning the league?"

"We are on top by a point, Dortmund are close behind but I see both teams losing more games as the season goes on. I don't think that the game against Dortmund coming up will be of that much importance."

"Finally, there are some rumours going round that you and Jürgen Klopp are very good friends. Can you confirm this for us?"

"We are as good a friends as football allows us,*laugh*. Yes it's true. Jürgenis a very nice guy and a very good manager. Arguably the best in the world right now. He's easy to talk to and he's honest with me without giving anything away. Unfortunately I do not get to see him often because we are managers of two rival teams. When we talk on the phone, we discuss Football. The rest of the Bundesliga and what's going on in other countries. "

"Can you give us a real indication as to how friendly you too are?"

"Hmmmm, he is high up on my Christmas card list."

You are reading "Pep Guardiola: Proving Grounds".

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