Is Real Madrid mauling the end for Guardiola's tiki-taka style?

Apr 30, 2014
Jonathan Harwood

The demolition of Bayern Munich is a 'considerable blow' for the Spanish coach's passing style


IS Pep Guardiola's footballing philosophy a busted flush? After his Bayern Munich side were humiliated by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final questions are being asked about the future of the Bayern Munich manager's brand of possession-led passing football, known as tiki-taka.
"They have written off tiki-taka before." says Rory Smith in The Times, recalling damaging setbacks for Guardiola's previous team, Barcelona. "Every time, it has struck back."
But this latest defeat is a "considerable blow" he adds. "It is too soon to say it is a definitive one, but it felt significant."
Last year Barcelona lost 4-0 in the Champions League semi-final, this time it was Bayern defeated by the same score.
There is now a "suspicion that the Catalan's way is too sterile, too dull to succeed, that it has been superseded by the frenzied, reactive style popularised by Borussia Dortmund, perfected by Bayern [under previous manager Jupp Heynckes] and reproduced by Real last night is gaining traction".
There were warning signs in the first match in Spain, where Bayern dominated the ball, but lost 1-0. It was "incredibly similar to the first leg, where Bayern Munich dominated possession without offering any penetration, and Real Madrid attacked at speed", says Michael Cox of The Guardian. 

In contrast to the "slow, patient and rather predictable passing football" of Bayern, "Real simply sat deep in two banks of four, waited for Bayern moves to break down, then attacked at tremendous speed".
It may not be the end of tiki-taka, but "it's becoming impossible to deny that reactive football is currently dominant", he argues.
Bayern's European humiliaiton will "hit hard" agrees Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph. But the "criticism of Guardiola's possession-obsessed tactics rather overlooks how much he achieved with Barcelona, introducing an intoxicating brand of passing football that brought two Champions League trophies and endless eulogies."
Guardiola, he adds, is "too intelligent an individual not to tackle the issue".
Certainly the Spanish coach was thoughtful after the game. "There’s no valid argument for my system after this result," he admitted. "But I can’t change what I feel. I like to play with the ball."
And he may not have to do too much remedial work with his side. Eurosport, like other commenters, does not believe that it is over.
"To suggest Guardiola has some intrinsic flaw in his approach when his side have lost only six games in all competitions this season is a stretch, to be generous," it states.

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I believe that to succeed with the passing, ball possession football,
several conditions have to be fulfilled and Bayer, as well as today’s Barça
only meet some of them: Incredible technical condition, supreme physical preparation
and speed and also superior state of confidence and concentration. In fact only
Guardiola’s Barça in the history was able to execute the tiki-taka football
with the perfection necessary to win enough matches to become champion.