Bayern’s Guardiola earns 20th title as coach

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BERLIN: Pep Guardiola claimed his 20th title as a coach on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as Bayern Munich were confirmed German league champions for the fourth consecutive season to set a new Bundesliga record.

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The 45-year-old Spanish coach will leave to coach Manchester City next season having won the Bundesliga in each of his three years in Munich, after Saturday’s 2-1 win at Ingolstadt moved Bayern eight points clear with one game left.

But his final year in charge has been tainted by their third consecutive exit to Spanish opposition in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Atletico Madrid reached the final on away goals despite losing 2-1 at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, having won the first leg 1-0 in Spain.

Guardiola has now won 37 titles in his footballing career, 17 of which were won as a player at Barcelona, including an Olympic gold medal with Spain in 1992.

He will leave Bayern having failed in his bid to repeat the 2012/13 treble, when predecessor Jupp Heynckes steered Munich to the Champions League, German cup and league titles.

“I have to accept it when people think that I have failed. You can’t improve on the results that Jupp Heynckes managed. I know that my period here wasn’t perfect,” said Guardiola after the Atletico defeat.

But under his tutelage, Bayern have tightened their stranglehold on the Bundesliga, with only Borussia Dortmund offering any resistance.

Guardiola’s successor, Carlo Ancelotti, will inherit a squad accustomed to at least 60 percent possession in games.

He has groomed replacements for ageing wingers Arjen Robben, 32, and Franck Ribery, 33, by persuading Douglas Costa, 25, and Kingsley Coman, 19, to join the club this season.

Thiago Alcantara, who Guardiola insisted Bayern sign in his first season, has been the linchpin in Bayern’s midfield.

Arturo Vidal has given Bayern a gritty edge after Bastian Schweinsteiger moved to Manchester United at the start of the season.

Guardiola can still repeat the domestic league and cup double, which he achieved in his first season in 2013/14, when Bayern face Dortmund in the German Cup final on May 21.

The self-confessed perfectionist will leave as one of the most successful coaches in Bayern’s history, with 81 wins from his 101 league games and only nine league defeats in three seasons.

AFP

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