Pep Guardiola having left Barcelona in 2012 with a third Champions League winners’ medal safely secured, it is something of a surprise that Pep Guardiola has struggled so much in the competition since then.
Wednesday’s 3-0 shock defeat at Liverpool in the quarter-finals suggests another early departure from a competition that he has failed to take Manchester City or Bayern Munich to the final of, let alone win.
Here, we review how his sides have been knocked out and the manner in which they were.
Arsenal and Manchester United were defeated en route to a tie against old enemies Real, managed by Carlo Ancelotti, with Bayern ready for success having spent over 60 million euros on Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara. A narrow first leg loss in Madrid was compounded by a 4-0 mauling at the Allianz Arena.
“Guardiola called six of us and asked us how we wanted to play,” Philipp Lahm recalled some years after. “It was because his system didn’t work, but it wasn’t really his system, so he will probably never use it again.”
2014/15: Defeat to Barcelona in the semi-finals (3-5 on aggregate)
Thrashings were dished out to Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto in the run-up to this reunion with his old club and a return to the Camp Nou saw Guardiola’s team surrender a 3-0 scoreline. Heading to Bavaria, goals from Neymar and Lionel Messi had the Azulgrana 2-1 up after 58 minutes and killed the tie.
“We started well, but their talent made the difference,” surmised the coach after the second leg, which his side fought back to win 3-2 on the night.
2015/16: Defeat to Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals (On away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)
Knowing that he was to leave at the end of the campaign, Guardiola watched on as Diego Simeone claimed a surprise final four victory thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s goal at Allianz Arena, adding the vital away goal after Saul Niguez’s wonder strike ended the first leg 1-0.
“I know my time at Bayern will be judged for not having reached the final,” responded the former midfielder. “I would be disappointed if we had played badly, but we didn’t.”
2016/17: Defeat to Monaco in the first knockout round (On away goals, 6-6 on aggregate)
A whopping 5-3 first leg win at Etihad Stadium had Manchester City well on their way to the last-eight but Monaco rallied in the principality and stole the tie thanks to goals from Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko, the last of which arrived 13 minutes from time and shortly after Leroy Sane’s supposed sealer.
“We will learn from this mistake, this team doesn’t have much experience,” said Guardiola at the time, having spent 213 million euros on a new squad. “We will improve, although this competition is very demanding.”