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Guardiola closing in on Bayern coaching greats

A title-winner once more with FC Bayern München, Josep Guardiola still has a way to go to join the pantheon of the club's all-time greats, according to UEFA.com's Philip Röber.

Josep Guardiola has made a sensational start in two seasons as Bayern coach
Josep Guardiola has made a sensational start in two seasons as Bayern coach ©Getty Images

FC Bayern München clinched their 25th Bundesliga title at the weekend with four matches to spare, a 1-0 win against Hertha BSC Berlin coinciding with VfL Wolfsburg's 1-0 loss at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. Having taken the title in record time in 2013/14, Josep Guardiola can now break more new ground in 2015/16, and lead the club to an unprecedented fourth straight Bundesliga success. The 44-year-old has overseen some dramatic successes since his arrival in 2013, but as UEFA.com discovers, he is still on the nursery slopes when it comes to the heights scaled by Bayern's all-time coaching greats.

Udo Lattek in his underpants in 1983
Udo Lattek in his underpants in 1983©Getty Images

Udo Lattek
6 Bundesliga titles
2 European Cups

"I came from nothing; I have football to thank for everything," said Lattek, who passed away in January this year. The most decorated coach in the history of Bayern – and the Bundesliga – he built the team which won the European Champion Clubs' Cup three times between 1974 and 1976 (although he had moved on by the time of the third success), and was the first coach to top the Bundesliga three times in a row (1972 until 1974) – a feat he repeated on his return to the club in 1983. Lattek famously celebrated his final Bayern title by flinging his trousers into the crowd; Guardiola has yet to show the world his underpants, though he did tear his trousers while celebrating a goal in Bayern's 6-1 success against FC Porto last week.

Ottmar Hitzfeld - a UEFA Champions League winner in 2001
Ottmar Hitzfeld - a UEFA Champions League winner in 2001©Getty Images

Ottmar Hitzfeld
5 Bundesliga titles
1 European Cup

Hitzfeld first joined Bayern in 1998 after a successful spell at Borussia Dortmund, and led the club to the league title in his first three seasons – an achievement Guardiola is on target to match. Hitzfeld oversaw some spectacular campaigns, most notably the 2000/01 one, when Patrik Andersson secured Bayern the title with the last kick of the season. However, unlike Lattek, he was never a man to get carried away. "I am very careful with my feelings," he said. "I don't want to celebrate too early and be disappointed later." Having won four titles in his fist spell as coach, Hitzfeld returned – initially as a caretaker – in 2007, winning a domestic double the following season.

Jupp Heynckes with his biggest prize of 2013
Jupp Heynckes with his biggest prize of 2013©Getty Images

Jupp Heynckes
3 Bundesliga titles
1 European Cup
While his name will forever be linked with the clubs' treble-winning campaign in 2012/13, Heynckes first took charge of Bayern in the late 1980s, guiding the club to Bundesliga glory in 1989 and 1990. Nicknamed 'Osram' (after a brand of lightbulb) for his tendency to go red in the face at times of stress, Heynckes was sacked a year later, a decision long-time general manager and former club president Uli Hoeness once labelled "the biggest mistake of my career". Heynckes returned to Bayern for a five-match spell after Jürgen Klinsmann was dismissed in 2009, only to take the reins a third time in 2011. That treble success proved to be his last act as a coach. "I have no intention of coaching again," he said in 2013. "I went out on a high."

Pál Csernai in 1990
Pál Csernai in 1990©Getty Images

Pál Csernai
Felix Magath
Josep Guardiola
2 Bundesliga titles each
Hungarian coach Pál Csernai won back-to-back titles in 1980 and 1981, while Magath completed domestic doubles in 2005 and 2006, but Guardiola's achievement may be more impressive, given that he was new to Germany – and the German language – when he took over a side who had won so much in the previous season under Heynckes. Guardiola duly won his first Bundesliga title with seven matches to spare, and kept his side motivated this season, even though so many of them won the FIFA World Cup with Germany last summer. However, with the UEFA Champions League semi-finals to come, there is no danger of his Bayern resting on their laurels. "I know which club I am at – it isn't enough to win the Bundesliga and the cup," he said. "Only a treble is enough for a club like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern."

Felix Magath with the Bundesliga trophy in 2006
Felix Magath with the Bundesliga trophy in 2006©Getty Images

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