Munich - As one of the most outrageously talented players of his generation, Günter Netzer ticked all the right boxes: playmaker, goalscorer, onfield leader. Still widely regarded as one of the finest passers of the ball the game has ever seen, as well as being the Bundesliga's first true celebrity.
He racked up the bulging trophy cabinet his ability deserved, with Bundesliga, UEFA European Championship and even FIFA World Cup winners' medals among his collection.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the Borussia Mönchengladbach legend gives us his views on the story of the summer, the imminent arrival of Pep Guardiola at FC Bayern Munich, which he believes will benefit not only the Bavarians but also the rest of German football.
bundesliga.com: Günter Netzer, on 1 July Pep Guardiola takes over as head coach of FC Bayern Munich. What does his arrival mean for the Bundesliga?
Netzer: It’s a massive piece of good fortune for the Bundesliga that a coach like Guardiola will soon be arriving. He won’t only have a huge say in the direction of Bayern but of the entire league. I'm sure of that.
bundesliga.com: What can the other teams in the division learn from him?
Netzer: I think we need some new ideas and fresh impetus in Germany and that can only come through foreign coaches who favour a different style of play and have a different footballing philosophy. During my time as sporting director of Hamburger SV, I wanted to bring foreign coaches to the Bundesliga early on. Ernst Happel is an example. I wanted to appoint him three years earlier than when he arrived at HSV, but I wasn’t allowed to. Obviously, not every team is going to be able to play football in the image of Guardiola, but he will definitely provide a fresh impetus to the league.
bundesliga.com: Bayern essentially had the perfect season in 2012/13 and have also played a stylish brand of football. Can Guardiola actually develop or improve this team?
Netzer: I'm sure he will continue to develop them and I'm very intrigued to see how he does it. There's definitely the potential to improve them, otherwise Bayern wouldn’t have hired him. That’s not to say that he will sacrifice any of the good things that the team has done this season, though.
bundesliga.com: What makes this Bayern team really stand out?
Netzer: At FC Bayern it isn’t just the players that are top-class, it’s also their footballing character. A team of perfectly gelled individuals is fundamental in this day and age and that’s something you really want to build on as a coach. I don’t believe Guardiola intends to try and establish another team in the mould of Barcelona. In terms of their footballing character, this side are too different to Barcelona and he'll be coaching players in things they haven’t learned before. So in that respect I think he can extract a little more from them and they'll benefit a lot from working under him.
bundesliga.com: How will Bayern play under Guardiola?
Netzer: He'll have a very good squad of players to pick from at Bayern and will certainly have his own ideas about how he wants the team to play. But I also think that the multitude of characters he has at his disposal will give him a lot of opportunity to develop the team and try new things. Being able to change things around is the best luxury a coach can have. Then we’ll find out what sot of impact that has on Bayern’s line-up, tactics and system.
Interview by Sebastian Dirschl