Thursday, May 07, 2015

Messi-Guardiola 3-0

It was a fantastic match between two great teams; there is no discussion about that. Every player delivered, with Lionel Messi nevertheless delivering the death punch to Bayern Munich with his two splendid goals and his late assist to an otherwise anonymous Neymar.
However, there is something to be said about Guardiola's approach to the match. Just like last year, when he totally failed in his lineup against Real Madrid, Guardiola totally overestimated the capacity of his own side to play 90 minutes of hard physical work with only three men in a line-defense. In the first half only the quality of Manuel Neuer saved them, but in the second half, after Messi's strike, the weakness of the lineup was exposed.
No bad words to Bayern Munich's players though. Were it not for Messi, they are at the level of Barcelona, even without their two stars Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery.
But where does this put Guardiola? Let us face it; he is not a tenth as good as Jose Mourinho (who is a real football genius), and not much different from Luis Enrique. As an admirer of Bielsa, he wants physically demanding pressing attacking football. As admirable as that may be, it is not realistic if you do not have the players and the physical strength to do it for an entire match (which is almost impossible; you need that degree of cynicism to finish the job). And was Guardiola a success in Barcelona? Of course he was; but despite his skills, the major reason for his success was the same reason for his defeat tonight: Lionel Messi.
Let us face it: without Messi, Guardiola is just another average coach, who will get results with a big club like Bayern, not because of his skills, but because Bayern spends all their money buying the best players in Germany for him.
Messi is the difference. Not Guardiola.

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