The look of dissatisfaction on the Catalan's face as Japanese playmaker Hiroshi Kiyotake fired Hannover 96 into a surprise first-half lead at the HDI Arena on Matchday 24 was one steely-eyed sporting director Matthias Sammer would have been proud of. Not even a quick-fire response from could placate his concerns.
Plan A, B and C
Hannover's cut-and-thrust approach had taken the Bundesliga leaders out of their habitual swagger from the get-go, but one factor the hosts could not have prepared for was how Guardiola might employ the combined tally of 1142 Bundesliga appearances and 375 goals at his disposal on the Bayern substitutes' bench.
Brazilian centre-back Dante was the first to make way in favour of Polish goal machine after just 31 minutes. More of physical presence in the final third, the prolific No9 would still need the service, especially in light of the extra attention the 96ers were giving on the flanks. Enter stage right, .
The 2013 Best Player in Europe had only been on the pitch for around eight minutes, before the visitors had the chance to get their noses in front for the first time. Ribery's cross forced Hannover defender Marcelo into evasive action, but when the Brazilian inadvertently toe-poked Lewandowski in the face, referee Tobias Welz pointed straight to the spot.
made it look easy from 12 yards, even if the reaction of his mentor in the dugout suggested anything but. As the majority of the Bayern players swarmed around their penalty maestro in celebration, Guardiola could be seen barking orders at defensive specialist . The record champions had been below-par and he wanted them to know it.
Adapt to overcome
Bayern walked away with a 3-1 victory in the end, after Ribery teed up Müller for his 11th goal of the season on an afternoon that also saw Robben set a new Bundesliga record of 100 top-flight wins in just 126 appearances. "Hannover were superb in defence and that's why it was difficult for us," opined Guardiola. "We'll take a break on Sunday, but as of Monday we'll focus on the UEFA Champions League [last-16] and Shakhtar Donetsk."
With the scores poised at 0-0 after last month's first leg in Ukraine, Bayern's tactical purist knows full well that conceding one goal à la Hannover could prove terminal in the all-or-nothing environment of knockout football. In an ideal world, plan A will suffice, but the 44-year-old certainly won't be averse to cracking the whip if and when required at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night. If it is broke, he's the man to fix it.