Munich - There is an air of calm before the storm at FC Bayern München's Säbener Straße these days, although head coach Pep Guardiola is not expecting the water to be all that choppy when his side navigate their return to Bundesliga action next weekend.
'It's only November'
The international break means he is working with a threadbare squad, but with big games coming thick and fast leading up to the winter break, a few days’ relaxation will no doubt be welcome.
Anybody who really knows the Catalan well will tell you that his moments of relaxation will only be brief, though. "He's a coach you can call at 3.00 am to talk about football," said Bayern's Dutch winger Arjen Robben recently. Speaking to fcbayern.de this week, however, the two-time UEFA Champions League-winning coach struck a calm tone in giving his assessment of his team’s season so far.
"In terms of the results, we certainly can't complain," Guardiola said. "But let's not forget it's only November and there's a lot to come. Looking at , we can be happy, and so can the fans. We're heading in the right direction." Nevertheless, the 42-year-old serial trophy winner knows that that brings no guarantee of silverware at the end of the season.
"In terms of our style, we've still got plenty to do," he said. "It's not easy after winning a World Cup to regain for the desire to win games, run and work for each other still to be so high," he continued. "But the players have done fantastically so far. Football is a process and the players are putting in a lot of effort, training hard, and we have a very solid basis."
While and , who have both retired from international football, were afforded "three or four days to switch off," has been working hard on his comeback. "It's going step by step," reported Guardiola. "We've just got to see first of all where he's at."
Excited for Spain-Germany
"He's been one of the most important players here for the past decade and now we've got to try to get him back to his old form. It's great news for him, but also for us and Bayern Munich that he is back." The plan is for him to return to action at some stage during the impeding game-filled period. "He's been out for a while and needs training sessions under his belt now."
He is getting plenty of those these days without any pressure to be fit for Bayern's next appointment with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on 22 November. Before that game comes around, Guardiola is going to find another 90 minutes to relax and enjoy seeing some of his charges in action when Spain host Germany in a friendly. "I'm already really looking forward to it - it's going to be a great game," Guardiola said. "Both teams have great coaches and outstanding players. I just hope nobody gets injured."