Stoppage Time: Guardiola finds himself in familiar territory
By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor
(Sports Network) - Pep Guardiola sure knows how to pick 'em.
His first major role as manager came in 2008 when he inherited the Barcelona post from Frank Rijkaard and went on to lead the club to an unprecedented run of success during his four years in charge.
Guardiola spent one season as boss of the Barcelona B team before taking over one of the world's biggest clubs, which would be like an intern going from the mailroom of a major company to CEO.
The Spaniard's wildly successful maiden voyage ended after four years, but it also made him one of the hottest commodities in the coaching community.
While taking the year off, Guardiola's name was linked with a number of high- profile jobs, including English giants Chelsea and Manchester City, while Serie A powerhouse AC Milan was another potential destination.
The 41-year-old essentially had his pick of the litter, and on Wednesday he chose German heavyweight Bayern Munich.
Bayern was a bit of a surprise choice considering Guardiola's positive remarks about the fans in the Premiership as well as the English league and the fact that he recently expressed a desire to one day manage there.
But one thing we know for sure is that Guardiola knows how to pick 'em.
Bayern is a team that has many similarities to the one Guardiola took over at Barca in 2008.
The club is stable, possesses a lot of good young talent, and already has a strong core of players in place.
At Barcelona, Guardiola's team had players like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol to build around.
The heart of Bayern's side includes Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Guardiola also had the benefit of a strong youth system at Barca that allowed him to supplement his team each year, while the collection of young talent at Bayern includes Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Holger Badstuber, David Alaba, Javi Martinez and Xherdan Shaqiri among others, with each under the age of 24.
And with Guardiola's strong ties to Barca's youth team, it wouldn't be at all surprising if he is able to pluck a few players from his former club to add to Bayern's already strong collection of young talent.
Guardiola also is expected to bring with him an attractive style of play similar to the one he implemented at Barca, making Bayern an inviting destination for any potential transfer targets.
Chelsea and Manchester City would have given Guardiola plenty of money to spend on players, but Guardiola would be subject to the whims of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, while City has its own set of potential headaches.
The pressure to win at Bayern will be massive, but it is something Guardiola has already experienced in Barcelona, and something he won't shy away from.
Barcelona's squad under Guardiola contained a large number of Spanish national team players, making cohesion one of the strong points of the club.
Likewise, Bayern's current roster includes eight Germany internationals.
After such a stunning opening act as manager, Guardiola has set himself up for an impossibly high set of expectations at his next destination.
But by choosing Bayern, he gives himself the best chance at a successful encore.
01/16 14:16:33 ET