German football writer and ESPN Bayern Munich correspondent Mark Lovell provides Juventus.com with the full lowdown on tomorrow’s visitors to Juventus Stadium.
JFC: What has been the response in the dressing room and on the pitch to the announcement of Pep Guardiola’s summer departure?
ML: Skipper Philipp Lahm led the calls urging the much sought-after Guardiola to remain in Bavaria beyond this summer – to no avail. Nevertheless, Bayern have suffered no adverse effects on the pitch and are unbeaten since Guardiola made his intentions known. Treble-seeking Bayern are safely into the German Cup semi-finals and sit pretty atop the Bundesliga, eight points ahead of nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund, and on course for a historic fourth league title on the trot.
There is a similarity to the 2012/13 season, when Bayern won the treble (including the “Holy Grail” of the Champions League) after it was announced that Guardiola would replace stalwart Jupp Heynckes at the end of that season. This time around, the Bavarian giants will hope Pep’s announcement can provide the additional intensity, motivation and concentration (like under Heynckes) to deliver a happy end for the Catalan.
And, in Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern have already lined up a decent successor…