Bayern Munich have been the undisputed number one in German football for decades. The men in red are comfortably the nation’s most successful club with 23 championship titles, 16 German Cup triumphs, and the best record in European competition. For all that, the Bavarians have yet to contest a FIFA Club World Cup, although they twice won one of the predecessor trophies, the Intercontinental Cup, in 1976 and 2001.
The 2012/13 campaign saw records tumble left, right and centre as Munich stormed to unprecedented success. In the Bundesliga's 50th anniversary season, Bayern set a host of new benchmarks and also became the first German club ever to win the fabled treble of the domestic league and cup double and the UEFA Champions League. After two seasons without silverware, the current success will by no means sate the club's hunger for honours, and they are determined not only to become the first team to retain the crown in Europe's elite club competition, but also to break their duck in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Despite a season of the superlatives, Munich are not resting on their laurels. It was announced in January that in-demand coach Pep Guardiola would take the helm for the new campaign. Mario Goetze, widely regarded as one of the greatest talents in the German game, has been enticed from chief domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund, and deals to secure the long-term loyalty of key figures such as Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery are already in place. The ambitious target is to top even the record-breaking 2012/13 campaign and launch a new long-term era of success.
Germany's most successful club grew in strength as the UEFA Champions League campaign went on, showing scintillating class at times in the knockout stages. Bayern disposed of Arsenal and Juventus in the Round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively, before entering a semi-final tie with Barcelona as underdogs for the first time. Jupp Heynckes’ team stunned the footballing world and sent out an ominous message of intent with a 7-0 aggregate victory over the Catalan giants, as Bayern progressed to their third Champions League final in the space of four years. And in the first all-German final in Europe’s top competition, the Bavarians edged out Bundesliga rivals Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley.
The numbers game
3 - Bayern lost just three of their 53 competitive matches in 2012/13, at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, and against Arsenal and BATE Borisov in the UEFA Champions League.
|5||Daniel VAN BUYTEN|