BERLIN: Pep Guardiola says winning his 21st title as a coach was not a bad way to sign off at Bayern Munich after his tearful farewell in the German Cup finals.
Bayern won Guardiola’s final game in charge on Saturday night at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium by beating Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on penalties after neither side could score in 120 minutes.
Dortmund missed two penalties in the shootout before Douglas Costa nailed the final spot-kick to seal Bayern’s league and cup double.
“21 titles in seven years, three titles per year, that’s not bad,” said Guardiola who won 14 titles in four years with Barcelona.
“But I had some luck in being able to coach Barcelona and Bayern Munich, both clubs are exceptional.
“They have players who help you do your best, but my time here in Germany hasn’t just been about titles: it was also my life here, the Bundesliga and the stadiums which were always full.”
Guardiola will coach Manchester City next season, but the Spaniard, so often accused of being too emotionless during his time in Munich, broke down in tears as Bayern celebrated.
He admitted that he has struggled to deal with criticism from the German media since it was announced at the start of the year that he would leave to coach City next season.
“The last five months haven’t been easy,” he said.
“What people said to me, before I decided to join Manchester, was completely different to what they said after it was announced.
“I can’t understand that. But I am Pep, I always focus on the next game and that is what I will always do.
“Titles are titles, they make people happy, but it was a huge experience for me to be able to work with these players every day.”
Guardiola, wearing a white t-shirt with ‘Double’ across the chest, partied with the Bayern squad and their fans in Munich’s Marienplatz on Sunday in his last official appearance as coach.
“It’s been an unbelievable time. In the name of my family, I say ‘Thank You, Germany!’,” cried Guardiola from the balcony overlooking Marienplatz to the thousands of fans below.
Guardiola will be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti as Bayern head coach next season and insists he leaves the Bavarian giants in rude health.
“Bayern Munich, with these players, is in good hands, they have the enthusiasm and the character,” the Spaniard said earlier.
“Both teams were tired in extra time and you can’t control each penalty in the shoot-out, but they did well.”
A regret from Guardiola’s Bavarian sojourn is his three consecutive Champions League semi-final exits, after losing to Barcelona (2014), Real Madrid (2015) and Atletico Madrid in this season’s last four.
“Actually, we had deserved to be in Milan next Saturday,” insisted Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenige after the defeat at the start of May to Atletico, who will play Real Madrid in the final in Milan on Saturday.
Guardiola apologized for his lack of European success with Bayern, “but this team will manage it” he assured fans in Munich.
Rummenigge said after winning three league titles, two German Cup finals, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup since 2013, Guardiola had left his mark on Bayern.
“I’m a little wistful at heart. We have experienced Pep for the last three years in Munich in a very emotional way,” added Rummenigge.
“If you look at the success we have had, one can only say — Thank You!”