The irony of this coup for Bayern is that its genesis lies in one of their worst defeats. Christian Nerlinger, sensing that his position as sporting director would come under intense pressure following the traumatic Champions League final loss at home to Chelsea in May, approached Pep Guardiola in the summer. The meeting with his brother, Pere, did not prove overly productive – a polite "let's talk in six months time" was the reply – nor was the ambitious attempt enough to save Nerlinger's job. The 39-year-old was replaced by Matthias Sammer before the start of the season.
Nevertheless, the record 22-times title winners had registered their firm interest and opened up a line of communication to convince Guardiola that their offer was worthy of consideration. Bayern realised early on that in pure financial terms they would not be able to match the riches available at Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City or Chelsea. So they focused on pointing out the similarities between Bayern and Barcelona instead.
Both clubs are owned by their members, both have thrived on bringing through young players, both are loved or hated by half the nation respectively.
Perhaps just as crucially, both employ managers whose main responsibility lies with managing the team. Guardiola will, of course, be able to suggest incoming as well as outgoing transfers but the Bayern board will retain ultimate control, as was the case in Barcelona. This continental setup is not without pitfalls, especially at "FC Hollywood" where big names with even bigger egos – Sammer, the president Uli Hoeness, the chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the honorary president Franz Beckenbauer – provide a 24-hour rolling-news commentary on the club's fortunes. Most of it is mere background noise, designed to keep up Bayern's profile. Pep will be (largely) free to concentrate on the football side of things. Only winning is a must.
While some might decry his decision as a very safe one – Bayern's star-studded squad virtually guarantees trophies, at least as far as domestic ones are concerned – it also serves to protect the Pep "brand". A spell in Munich won't preclude a move to the Premier League a few years down the line either, at a time when even more interesting positions (Arsenal, Manchester United) might be available.
Bayern started to believe that they had a realistic chance of securing Guardiola's signature just before Christmas. At that moment, the biggest trump card came to the fore in the negotiations. Guardiola was adamant that he wanted to decide on his future employer well before March, in order to give himself ample preparation time. But other than Chelsea, who had officially installed Rafael Benítez as interim manager, Bayern were the only big club who could unequivocally offer the job to the 41-year-old for this summer, as the incumbent coach Jupp Heynckes is out of contract in June.
The 67-year-old Heynckes had started the season with an overt admission that it would be his last. However, Bayern's excellent run – they are top of the league, nine points clear of second-placed Leverkusen – nearly threw an unexpected spanner in the works in relation to the Guardiola deal – Heynckes suddenly toyed with the idea of prolonging his career.
In order not to upset the feelings of his long-term personal friend, Hoeness was keen to keep the advanced nature of the Guardiola talks secret until springtime, but Sky Italia's report late on Monday about an agreement being reached forced their hand.
The Bundesliga resumes action on Friday after a six-week break and the league leaders could not afford for the managerial question to loom over the restart. While Guardiola's camp were still sending out categorical denials to protect Heynckes' position, the veteran coach was informed of the decision by the club on Tuesday and gave it his blessing.
The Catalan's will be the best paid manager in the history of the club. If reports about a separate sponsorship deal for him by Bayern's kit supplier and 9% share owner Adidas are correct, his package is likely to be €8m-10m per year.
Securing the most-coveted coach in European football also reflects extremely well on the Bundesliga. It is easy to see why the fan-friendly, sustainably run league would fit into Guardiola's vision. "We are sure that he will bring glamour not just to Bayern but to the whole of German football," said a beaming Rummenigge on Wednesday afternoon.
For once, even the "Anything but Bayern" half of the nation could not help but agree. In the Deutsche Fussball Liga HQ in Frankfurt, and beyond, the deal will be heralded as another sign of the Bundesliga's increasing profile and marketability.