Reignited Bayern ready to step up in Europe
Background photo: Lapunkd, CC BY-SA 2.5
Last season, Bayern Munich president, Ulli Hoeness promised his club would come out stronger this term. He wasn't kidding.
The Bavarians claimed the Bundesliga title for the seventh successive season in May despite unconvincing performances throughout the campaign. Only Borussia Dortmund's own late-season inconsistency allowed die Roten to retain the title.
Arjen Robben's retirement and Frank Ribery's departure for Fiorentina raised questions about whether Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry were ready to be regular starters. The general consensus was Bayern needed to strengthen in the transfer market.
In fact, the Bavarians were busy before the market opened. Deals were made to sign Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid for €80 million and Benjamin Pavard from VfB Stuttgart for €35 million. Of course, that fortified the flanks at the back. Upfront, Philippe Coutinho arrived on loan from Barcelona for €8.5 million with the option to make the move permanent for €120 million in June.
The investments are making an early return. Nico Kovac's men kicked off their Bundesliga campaign with a 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin but have since become unstoppable in the German top flight. They top the table with 14 points from six games.
It's a far better start than 2018/19. If the Bundesliga offers a ray of hope, die Rekordmeister truly shine in the Champions League. Bayern have been the most through, relentless side in the tournament. They scored three and conceded none against Red Star Belgrade at the Allianz Arena. Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller and Kingsley Coman all found the back of the net.
The Serbians were just an appetiser, however. Bayern feasted on Tottenham in London. The German champions 7-2 humiliated Spurs in front of their home fans. With that brilliant display, Bayern sent a strong message across Europe. They've shown that they are ready to step up in the Champions League this season. It is time rival clubs start taking them seriously.
The Bundesliga giants are real contenders. Like an army marching to war, they continue to charge forward with tremendous confidence and a strong instinct to crush every obstacle. For many reasons, they could go all the way in Europe this term.
Nico Kovac is getting his tactics spot on, breaking down opposition defenses from every angle while the backline has been well set-up to keep rival attackers at bay. Bayern have scored 29 goals so far this season and conceded just eight. Serge Gnabry, Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich have all turned in eye-catching displays in recent weeks.
Robert Lewandowski remains a beast upfront. The Polish International is the hottest striker in Europe with 14 goals from six appearances across all competitions. He keeps providing answers in front of goal.
Coutinho's acquisition is proving a masterstroke. The Brazilian is off to a bright start at the Allianz Arena. He's recorded two goals and three assists and, to be honest, could have more. He might be the X-factor Bayern lacked in recent years.
With many big teams, including Real Madrid and Liverpool still struggling to find their feet, this could be the year the Bavarians return to the summit of European football.