Bayern was 'like the Wild West' in years after Guardiola left for City

Bayern Munich was ‘like the Wild West’ in the years after Pep Guardiola left for Manchester City, admits Thomas Muller as he admits they could not control games in the same way

  • Pep Guardiola was hugely successful during his time in charge of Bayern Munich
  • After he left, Thomas Muller says it was ‘like the Wild West’ as they lost discipline
  • Muller says working under Guardiola was mentally draining and practice was key
  • Carlo Ancelotti was the man to replace the now-Man City boss at Allianz Arena 

Thomas Muller insists life at Bayern Munich was like ‘the Wild West’ after the exit of Pep Guardiola as the players lost the direction drilled into them by the now-Manchester City manager.

Guardiola is a renowned disciplinarian and has been successful at every club he’s managed, from Barcelona to Manchester City via Bayern.

During his time in the Bundesliga, the Bavarians won three straight Bundesliga titles, as well as two German Cups and a UEFA Super Cup.

Pep Guardiola is a renowned disciplinarian and was hugely successful during spell at Bayern

Guardiola left Bayern in 2016 and Muller says it was ‘like the Wild West’ in the wake of his exit

When he left and Carlo Ancelotti took over, though, Muller insists things went south very quickly. 

‘For my game, structure is super important,’ he told The Athletic. ‘It has to be clockwork. I see myself as a cog. I can throw my qualities and playing characteristics into the mix and I can help the team improve that way. I will never be a player who picks up the ball outside his own box and goes past three men. 

‘When we manage to have stability, when we’re in control of the build-up and the game, I find it easier to have a positive impact. We weren’t able to do that in the years after Pep. It was a bit Wild West, at times. 

‘The control that we had stood for as FC Bayern was gone. There was sense that anything could happen. Maybe it was more entertaining that way for the spectators.’

Guardiola is also renowned for only spending a few years at a club, before taking a break to recharge his batteries, due to the significant stress involved in each of the roles.

That too is the case for the players, as Guardiola works them extremely hard to ensure his level of discipline is apparent at every club. 

Muller (centre) said it was ‘incredibly exhausting mentally’ working under Guardiola at Bayern

Carlo Ancelotti – now the Everton manager – took over as Bayern boss when Guardiola left


2007–2008: Barcelona B

2008–2012: Barcelona

2013–2016: Bayern Munich

2016–present: Manchester City

‘To exert the kind of dominance we had under Guardiola for most of the time, you need to work extremely hard in training,’ Muller continued. ‘That’s the problem. It’s incredibly exhausting mentally. 

‘You need to repeat things — repeat, repeat, repeat, until they’re second nature. For Pep, it was normal to push his players that much. Other coaches have different ways of working. 

‘I understand why some found our extreme dominance under Guardiola boring but that sort of total control can’t be reproduced as a carbon copy. You can’t say, “They’ve learnt all that stuff from Pep. They simply have to keep playing that way.” That’s not the issue. You have to work at it every single day.’

Bayern are now coached by Hansi Flick, who took over on an interim basis from Niko Kovac at the start of November.

During his time in charge of the club, Flick has impressed with 14 wins from 17 matches, taking Bayern back to the top of the Bundesliga. 

Muller has played for Bayern since 2008 and is a legend with over 500 games under his belt

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