PEP Guardiola lived up to his reputation for meticulous preparation by demonstrating an excellent early command of German during his first press conference as Bayern Munich’s new coach.
However, his commitment to studying a new language, and strict orders from his personal tutor, prevented him from getting to know his new club more than he already does.
“My teacher’s a Borussia Dortmund fan so she wouldn’t let me come over to see them,” he joked when asked if his decision not to attend any of Bayern’s games last season was out of respect for his predecessor Jupp Heynckes.
The 42-year-old has nevertheless been following the action in the Bundesliga closely from his New York apartment during a one-year sabbatical from football and he is now raring to get going. “I need more time to get to get to know the Bundesliga perfectly, but during the year in New York, I saw all the games each weekend, above all Bayern’s ones,” he said.
“I have a very high opinion of the Bundesliga. It’s not an easy league and I’ve got to adapt to it as quickly as possible.”
Although Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who took his place next to Guardiola at the conference, assured the new coach that he will be given time to settle in, the Catalan knows he will be judged by results.
Yet despite expressing a confident and assured demeanour, he admitted to being nervous.
“That’s because I’m at Bayern and they’ve just won all the titles and the expectations are high,” he said.
“But the fans who come to the stadium are not coming to see me, they are coming to see the players.”
Not only are Bayern’s fans expectant, but the whole of German football is eager to see what Guardiola can bring to the Bundesliga.
“It’s a great story for Bayern, and also for German football,” said Rummenigge. “Pep’s work here will enrich the Bundesliga.”
He has already left an impression on the club’s president Uli Hoeness, a self-proclaimed technophobe.
“When I got to his apartment overlooking Central Park in New York and met his wonderful family, I knew after just five minutes that it felt right,” he said.
“We spoke for three or four hours about football and then he got his computer out.
“Now I don’t normally like that, but he is permitted to do it. Not only did I then feel it, but I knew that he was the right man.”