The weeks after and the time before

More celebrations to come next year? It's hard to think otherwise. Photo: Jonathan Harding

After weeks of rain, the sun has decided to arrive in southern Germany and with it a momentary pause before another chapter in the illustrious story that is Bayern Munich. In the last month, they have revelled in the most remarkable of treble-winning seasons but since then there has been time to reflect.

Time stands still for no man, or football club for that matter. Soon qualification for the new Champions League campaign will begin and Bayern's thrilling battle with Dortmund in Wembley will become another entry in the competition's history. Yet the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the next two weeks will be the start of a new media circus, leaving Jupp Heynckes' emotional tenure almost all but forgotten. "Almost" because the departing master leaves having enjoyed a season of near-perfection that has already started creating pressure on Guardiola as the comparisons become endless.

Before all of that, there is a window of calmness in Munich as both the club and the city enjoy the feeling of a special success. While Guardiola perfects his German, his squad starts to take shape. Franck Ribery's performances this season have been the best of his career and his recent decision to extend his contract until 2017, surely means the Frenchman will retire in the southern city. With Xherdan Shaqiri putting in an encouraging first season, there is plenty of reason to believe that alongside producing his own superb performances, 30-year-old Franck will continue nurturing his natural successor.

Holger Badstuber has become the sympathy figure at a club seemingly in no need of one after he suffered a cruel blow in rehabilitation incurring a further cruciate ligament tear on top of the one he was recovering from. It means he is unlikely to feature for the majority of next season and that time away not only hampers his development - particularly disappointing for him to miss out on being able to implement Guardiola's magic - but it also means when he does return he will have been somewhat left behind.

It does make Daniel van Buyten's recent one-year extension all the more logical though. Despite his lack of pace, he showed a great deal of adaptability and composure when many, myself included, had underlined him as a weakness. The fact the opposition rarely exploited it says a lot about both his own improvement as well as his team's ability to protect him. Either way, he acts as a perfectly suitable option for Guardiola even in the face of an inevitable defensive recruitment.

Signings so far have been limited but what a coup it was to read that Mario Goetze had chosen to join Bayern this summer from Borussia Dortmund. Having reportedly been told he couldn't have Neymar by Uli Hoeness, Guardiola turned to Germany's equivalent. Goetze's arrival certainly leaves Guardiola with a top-level Sudoku-esque problem in terms of how to fit his best midfielders on the pitch at the same time. The club's depth though is (remarkably) even more expansive than this year, a point that leaves most other Bundesliga fans jealous and, in turn, Bayern fans brimming.

However, before photos of Guardiola's first training session are everywhere and the smoke of the transfer-window becomes too much, Munich is still enjoying a brief period of pause. Bayern fans, both in the city and across the world, bask in the success of the season just gone while there is time to acknowledge their achievements. Soon enough, columns will be full of "next year's expectations" and whether Bayern can "top perfection." Comments from Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger about "wanting more" and that their "best years are yet to come" are certainly warranted but there's time for that yet.


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