Liverpool legend gives Guardiola an unexpected challenge in Germany

Sami Hyypia

As Sami Hyypia's Bayer Leverkusen continue to impress in Germany, Vincent Ralph asks how successful the former Red can ultimately be.

When Pep Guardiola took over at Bayern Munich this summer, he had two main challenges: somehow attempt to replicate Jupp Heynckes’ achievements the previous season, and keep Borussia Dortmund at bay.

While the first challenge is all-but-impossible given Bayern’s treble-winning exploits in their former manager’s farewell campaign, the second was doable. And with the Bundesliga champions undefeated after six matches, and one point clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side, all appears to be going well.

Despite on occasions focusing on pragmatism over flair, Guardiola’s side look every inch the continued success story waiting to happen.

And yet there is an additional challenge looming over the Allianz Arena that the Spaniard may not have previously considered, at least not in the way he focused on the echoes of Heynckes and the spectre of Klopp.

That challenge comes in the form of Bayer Leverkusen and their manager Sami Hyypia.

The former Liverpool defender made headlines of the highest order last season as he steered his club to third in the Bundesliga – just a point behind Dortmund although an additional 25 behind the all-conquering Bayern.

But this year, now in sole charge of the club after receiving his managing licence, Hyypia is pushing for even bigger plaudits.

See also: Former Liverpool starlet involved in blockbuster La Liga finish

Those English football fans whose only sighting of Leverkusen this season was their 4-2 defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League should adjust their expectations.

Domestically they continue to impress, holding Guardiola’s side to a 1-1 draw on Saturday and sitting just a point behind the leaders.

There is a very long way to go, and Hyypia’s men will have to conjure the campaign of their lives to finish above either of the two German powerhouses, let alone both of them.

But Hyypia is a manager for both the present and the future, a man making waves and building a career that could ultimately see him take on one of the biggest jobs in the game.

Do you see Hyypia as a future Liverpool manager?

image: © Dmitry Neymyrok

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