Winning 5-0 and still going undefeated in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League isn’t enough for Pep Guardiola. He was brought to Bayern Munich to build a dynasty, growing on the success of last year. Winning comfortably against the Czech champions is no cause for celebration.
But what should be pleasing is Bayern’s ability over the last month or so. Their performance against Manchester City in England or a comfortable away win against Schalke are proving that the early critiques of Guardiola’s new method to be a bit harsh and rushed.
With a striker or without, Bayern’s systems created chances. From Philipp Lahm pushing forward as the lone defensive midfielder, playing just behind Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, playing much better in a less attacking role this season, to David Alaba, who sometimes feels like the most attacking player on the team. He keeps pushing forward through the flank and the middle, enabling Franck Ribery all the freedom in the world.
It’s Alaba playing so well that allows Ribery to put himself in the front line of challengers to the Lionel Messi monopoly of the Ballon d’Or. Due to his success with Bayern Munich this season, maybe that line of individual titles will be broken this season, but the truth is it doesn’t really matter. Ribery is playing hungry and angry, but not neglecting his defending on the wing. Bayern Munich are the same up and down machine they were last year, only with a bit more patience (or slowness, depending on your point of view) due to Guardiola’s tinkering.
Was he happy with the 5-0 win over Viktoria Plazen? Of course. Was he content? He wants more, he wants better. Bayern Munich beating the weaklings flooding the competition due to Michel Platini’s messing about with the system aren’t an indication of how well Bayern will be against Borussia Dortmund when the real titles are on the line.
But Bayern are where they should be at this point. Getting all their injured players (except for Javi Martinez) back, and for the Guardiola rotation to make sense. Now it’s only a matter of time before he finds a way to incorporate Mario Gotze in the lineup and not off the bench, and we’ll really see if this team is so far ahead of the rest this season as well.