Where can Pep Guardiola take Bayern Munich from here?

David Ramos

Pep Guardiola has a big task on his hands to improve this Bayern Munich side, but a real dynasty is something the European Champions have lacked for some time.

In any other era, Bayern Munich's Champions League trophy last night would have been seen as one of the great victories - not for the manner, or the opposition, but for the timing, coming at the end of one of the greatest seasons the club has ever had and confirming their place as one of the great teams in history.

There are two reasons, however, why that narrative has been blunted. Firstly, Bayern do not, on a name-by-name basis, have the look of the greatest team in the world about them, with the bigger, world-class names being unfashionably concentrated towards the rear of the side. And secondly, Pep Guardiola's imminent takeover means that it doesn't fit the wider story. This was supposed to be the last hurrah of a team about to improve drastically, and yet they've had a season more dominant than even Barcelona's recent triumphs.

Where Guardiola goes from here is difficult to see. It would be a major surprise were he even to equal their triumphs this year, and therefore may be judged on building a work-in-progress. Despite that, there is no obvious reason why the team should suffer a decline, and failing to win the Bundesliga would certainly be unacceptable. They could play more attractive football, but that's about it.

Arjen Robben was perhaps the most-cited name in the Bayern Munich lineup when people looked to see who may be replaced. He seemed to be the antithesis of a Guardiola player - greedy, selfish, and often wasteful. Yet in a remarkable season for the club, particularly in the Champions League, Robben has delivered some superb performances as a vital cog in the team's attacking machinery, providing for his teammates, working hard, and even casting off the 'choker' tag with a winning goal in a Champions League final.

It's difficult to point out weaknesses in a team that has dropped just eleven points in the league, but progress has to happen somewhere. Instead of Robben, he may well look to the other flank, where Franck Ribery has been performing below expectations - there are certainly players out there who could do a better job than him, although if Guardiola is looking to make his mark in the transfer market, he will have to come to terms with the fact that one of them is already at the club - Xherdan Shaqiri.

Whether Pep attempts to impose his own style - as far as is known and perceived, the style his Barcelona side played, although it is not certain, since the formulation of that team had begun before he took charge and he may be more than a one-trick pony - on Bayern Munich will be interesting to watch. If he intends to get the team playing in a different manner, then many of the players begin to look expendable, but it's hard to see anyone moving away from the Javi Martinez-Bastian Schweinsteiger midfield axis.

Because of that, it's the forwards and wide areas that will likely see an overhaul. Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez have their strengths, but can certainly be improved upon. A hard-working, physical but one-dimensional forward and a prolific but inconsistent and incomplete goalscorer can be vital on their day, but more well-rounded targets such as Robert Lewandowski, or the simply world-class, like Falcao, would surely improve Bayern, if not quite transform them into the new Barcelona.

Ultimately, it's hard not to think that Bayern's business, if they have a striker lined up, is already done. Of the team that started the Champions League final, Franck Ribery and probably Arjen Robben will find themselves sidelined by the returning Toni Kroos - simply a superior player to either, aesthetics aside - and the new arrival Mario Gotze, of whom the same can be said. Adding in a more complete forward, and Bayern will immediately be a different team, with creativity added to a less direct style of play, an upgrade both in terms of effectiveness and playing style.

With those additions, Bayern should be even better, yet Guardiola will know this is almost an impossibility in terms of results. What becomes key, then, is convincing the fans and the wider world that his long-term project can bear fruit and improve this team. He can hardly downplay Juup Heynckes' achievements this season, but it should be stressed that it was only one year. Bayern have cruised to trophies in previous seasons, only to be inexplicably poor the next. It is a long time since they have had a true dynasty, and providing one should be the main, perhaps even the only goal of Guardiola's new regime.

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