Pep Guardiola’s Five Worst Defeats as a Manager


Pep Guardiola’s Five Worst Defeats as a Manager

Picture: Thomas Rodenbucher

Guardiola sticks to his guns almost fanatically and most of the time he annoyingly succeeds. He won a truck-load of trophies in Catalonia and Germany. But when he fails, the trolls around the world rejoice and unite in finding ways to bash the fallen idealist. Those are sweet times for them indeed. Let’s find out which Guardiola’s worst defeats as a manager were.

Bayer Munich 0-4 Real Madrid

Having delivered the Bundesliga and Champions League, thrashing his ex-club Barcelona 7-0 in the semifinals, the year before, Guardiola was in for a treat at the Allianz Arena.

This one is a classic of example of the excuse ‘the result does not reflect what happened on the pitch.’

Guardiola injected all his might in his Bayern players because they held onto the ball like a child onto its favourite toy, but three goals from dead-ball situations and one by counter-attack said ‘keep your toy, I’ll take the crib.’

At times, Munich looked like a team in control of the match played in la la land: down three goals, but sticking to outplaying Madrid possession-wise. Guardiola later called this ‘the heaviest defeat in my managerial career.’

Barcelona 4-0 Manchester City

Boy, oh, boy, if there was a game that must have stirred deep anxiety in Guardiola, it must be this one. Totally outclassed and outplayed in every department. Pep was beaten at his own game by the club he led to 14 trophies.

The Catalan must have cried a little for lack of Ian Hart because his goalkeeper of choice Claudio Bravo received the marching orders at 1-0. The result bubbled up to 3-0 courtesy of the dwarf-magician Lionel Messi before both clubs got even in numbers with Mathieu forced to a premature shower.

In even numbers, Barcelona proceeded to carve a 4-0 on Guardiola’s forehead much like Aldo Raine carved a swastika on Hans Landa’s in Inglorious Basterds. Meaning, this was a result that stayed, not that Guardiola is a Nazi or anything.

As hurtful the result might have been, Guardiola got consolation by winning 3-1 in the return fixture. Good on you, Pep.

Everton 4-0 Manchester City

Two-thirds deep in his first Premier League season, Guardiola still seems like an indoctrinated alien dropped on Earth to study humans. Can’t happen.

His star-packed Citizens controlled the ball for 70% of the time, made more opportunities but still conceded four goals. The script went along the line: pass-pass-pass-10xpass-lose ball, pass-pass-goal. It was the equal to a boxing match between an in-shape Gary Kasparov and George Foreman: one gets the job done.

Despite the heavy thumping, the match will most like serve as a pointer of how far Guardiola’s adaptation in English football has gone.

Bayern Munich 0-3 Borussia Dortmund

It was a weird night of wires and head banging. Guardiola had won everything with Bayern the year before, but Klopp’s heavy metal football characterised by dislike of authority and affinity for incisive finishing cut to the bone.

Guardiola was once again left scratching his head at how the total football philosophy clashed with his team’s defensive duties. A clinical Dortmund cruised to 3-0 courtesy of goals by Marco Reus, Heinrikh Mikhtarian and Jonas Hofmann.

If Dortmund were on the look for revenge for the defeat in the Champions League final the year before, they got it then.

Wolfsburg 4-1 Bayern Munich

This match resembled a king cobra meeting a lion. The lion, of course, was Bayern Munich who had allowed four goals in 17 games before this match. Wolfsburg doubled that tally in 70 minutes.

Dost bagged a brace of goals, one of which had an appealing falling-leaf characteristic that would leave even Chinese king-fu masters open-mouthed. Kevin De Bruyne finished the other two as two hairs fell out from Guardiola’s scalp.

The psychologically damaging defeat led to the classic 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Bayern finished first that year nonetheless, so Guardiola’s would probably view this defeat as a common side-effect of his profession.

Disclaimer: This article is no way trying to paint the full picture of Guardiola’s career. To balance things out here are sweet results Guardiola would remember more fondly: 3-1, 7-0 (aggregate) and 5-0.



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Premier League 2017/18

# Team P GD Pts
1 Manchester City FC 23 50 62
2 Manchester United FC 23 32 50
3 Liverpool FC 23 26 47
4 Chelsea FC 23 25 47
5 Tottenham Hotspur FC 23 25 44
6 Arsenal FC 23 11 39
7 Burnley FC 23 -1 34
8 Leicester City FC 23 2 31
9 Everton FC 23 -13 27
10 Watford FC 23 -9 26
11 West Ham United FC 23 -12 25
12 Crystal Palace FC 23 -12 25
13 AFC Bournemouth 23 -11 24
14 Huddersfield Town 23 -20 24
15 Newcastle United FC 23 -10 23
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 23 -12 23
17 Southampton FC 23 -11 21
18 Stoke City FC 23 -27 20
19 West Bromwich Albion FC 23 -12 19
20 Swansea City FC 23 -21 17