In Depth

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

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 There is now a "suspicion that the Catalan's way is too sterile, too dull to succeed, that it has been superseded by the frenzied, reactive style popularised by Borussia Dortmund, perfected by Bayern [under previous manager Jupp Heynckes] and reproduced by Real last night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.

Recommended

Jake Daniels comes out as gay: a landmark moment
Jake Daniels made his first-team debut for Blackpool against Peterborough on 7 May 
View from the terraces

Jake Daniels comes out as gay: a landmark moment

Messi vs. Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats and trophies
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats and trophies

Europa League final: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Rangers preview and predictions
The Uefa Europa League trophy at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium in Seville
The big match

Europa League final: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Rangers preview and predictions

‘Grim game of our times’: what is sportswashing?
Newcastle play their home games at St James’ Park
Talking point

‘Grim game of our times’: what is sportswashing?

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner