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Bayern Munich: A Remarkable Journey

23 May 2013 by

Bayern Munchen have now clinched their 23rd title this season and now are looking forward to win their 5th Champions League title, after missing on the last season to Chelsea at Allianz Arena. Under their boss Jupp Heynckes, Bayern have earned a lot in past 3 years. This season too, as they have won the Bundesliga title, let’s take a look at their journey so far.

BUNDESLIGA

It was fantastic to see Bayern earning 91 points by winning 29 matches, drawing 4, and losing one and only match 1-2 to Bayer Leverkusen. It’s after a gap of two years that Bayern have regained the title from Borussia Dortmund. It was not easy enough for Bayern to take themselves to this spot, as rival clubs Dortmund, Leverkusen and Schalke all tried to defeat the record winner of the league. Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philip Lahm, Franck Ribery all have shown their capability and determination to win the league, to earn the respect they have lost as they were not winning the league for past 2 years. And yes, some new faces too!

In earlier weeks of the season, the Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic, after moving from Wolfsburg to Bayern on an undisclosed fee, started scoring  many goals which also led him to top the goalscoring chart. But later he lost his pace and so was overtook by Robert Lewandowski, but at the end of the season, Lewandowski (24 goals) was overtook by Stefan Kiessling (25 goals), after Kiessling scored the only goal from the spot in the last minutes in a 1-0 victory over Hamburger SV. After their victory over SC Freiburg, Bayern were declared the champions of the league.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

It is a challenge for all the participating clubs to win the champions league, after clashing with world’s top European clubs with top players. Bayern have, till now, proved that they are the best and no one can stop them from taking the trophy home. It was not easy for the Bavarians to reach the finals as they were to meet Valencia, BATE Borisov and Lille, the top clubs of their respective leagues. Bayern have won 4, drawn 1 and lost 1 in the group stage and finished on top of the table. This was a silver lining for them, and they started to believe that they can win the trophy. Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Muller were regular scorers in the group stage.

Then came the knockout stage, here they met Arsenal. Their first leg was at Emirates Stadium where Arsenal were defeated 1-3 by the Bavarians and here too, first two goals were scored by Toni Kroos in the seventh minute and Thomas Muller in the twenty first minute. Last goal, however, was scored by the new face Mario Mandzukic in the 77th minute. For Arsenal, the only goal was scored by the former FC Koln striker Lukas Podolski in the 55th minute. It was a huge embarrassing moment for the Gunners as they lost in their own home in front of 59, 974 spectators. The second leg was played on 13th March 2013, where Bavarians failed to score a single goal and Arsenal scored the goal in the 3rd minute only through Oliver Giroud.

It was a shocking moment for the Bavarians as they were not able to equalise the score despite many chances. Later in the 86th minute, Laurent Koscielny scored the header that gave Arsenal the precious win but they were knocked out on the away goal rules (3-3). It was tougher for them now as they were to meet Juventus, the unbeaten side in the competition. Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella, Andrea Pirlo, Sebastian Giovinco, all big names in the club. Surely it had to be the biggest match of the day. But, luck was in Bayern’s favour as they won the match 2-0 as David Alaba scored the goal in the first minute only and Thomas Muller scored in the 63rd minute to seal the victory. It was fun watching the home side winning the match with great ease. The second leg was tough for Juve but obviously not for the Bavarians as they had the comfortable lead of 2 goals. But it was expected that Juve could comeback to earn victory and seal their berth for the semis as it was now their home.

But things got worst as Juve did not find the net and Bayern were able to find the same two times as Mario Mandzukic scored the opener in the 64th minute and Claudio Pizarro scored the injury time goal to make 2-0 again and 4-0 on aggregate. It was so humiliating for Old Lady as they were thrashed out in their own home in front of 38,000 spectators. Last but not the least, it is now FC Barcelona, world champions, whom they were going to face. No need to mention the names of the players of the Blaugrana as they are class on their own. It was really very interesting match to watch, apart from Real Madrid’s who were facing another German giants Borussia Dortmund at that time. It was at Allianz Arena, in front of 68,000 people when Bayern defeated Barcelona by a huge 4-0 margin. Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, no one could even made to the pace of the opponents as they all looked a little fatigue. It was in the 25th minute when Thomas Muller scored the opener for the home side. He also scored his second in the 82nd minute but before that Mario Gomez (48th minute) and Arjen Robben (73rd minute) had already given their side a healthy lead. It was at that time very clear that FC Barcelona is out of the competition, but they had to play a “so called formality match”. The second leg, at Camp Nou, was not so interesting as everyone knew the result.

Bayern were already 4-0 up and it was difficult for the Catalans to comeback. And yes, it was surely not the day for Barcelona as Bayern stole the show with their 3-0 lead, which also consists of an own goal by Gerard Pique (72nd minute), other than Arjen Robben’s (48th minute) and Thomas Muller’s (76th minute) goals. FC Barcelona were now officially out of the competition after a humiliating loss in their own home. Bayern has beaten Barca 7-0 on aggregate. And now, the time has come. 3 days left for the final! It will be no less than a Bundesliga match as it is against their rivals Borussia Dortmund. This will be a tough match indeed. Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 4 goals against Real Madrid, and also has led his club to the victories in the league, will be worth watching along with the playmakers Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Gundogan. Whereas Bayern have Champions League’s show stoppers Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic, along with Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery and Claudio Pizarro, who scored 4 goals in a 9-2 victory against Hamburger SV. So, it will be a nail-biting final, I guess.

DFB POKAL

It is yet another domestic competition Bayern are active in. From Round 1 only, Bayern started to win million hearts as they won their first match 4-0 against Jahn Regensburg. Mandzukic was the star of the match scoring a brace with Shaqiri and Pizarro also on the scoresheet. In Round 2, they faced FC Kaiserlautern and again they won 4-0. This time Pizarro scored a brace alongside Robben who also scored a brace. This was really fantastic for Bayern as they were enjoying this journey with two consecutive wins. Next in Round 3, the Bavarians won the match 2-0 against FC Augsburg, Gomez and Shaqiri were on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Bayern Munich headed perfectly towards the quarter finals where they defeated their bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund 1-0, the only goal scored by Arjen Robben in the 43rd minute. It was a tough match as Borussia were not giving the Bavarians any chance to relax, but were defeated later by a goal as former Real Madrid attacker Arjen Robben scored the winner just two minutes before the halftime. In the semis, Bayern got a huge victory 6-1 against Wolfsburg in which Mario Gomez scored a hattrick within six minutes and was later voted as Man of the Match. Mario Mandzukic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Arjen Robben were also on the score sheet. Elsewhere, Stuttgart also seal their berth for the finals by defeating SC Freiburg 2-1. Now, on 1st June 2013, final will take place between Bayern Munich and Stuttgart at Olympic Stadium in Berlin. No doubt Bayern will take away the trophy, but it is final so it is difficult to predict the winner, as obviously both would fight till the end.

BEST PERFORMERS

Obviously best performers lead their teams to victory, and so is the case with Bayern. Mario Mandzukic, Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Claudio Pizarro.

MARIO MANDZUKIC

Mario Mandzukic started the season comfortably for Bayern, topping the goal scoring chart, but later he slowed down and it took him much time to show his talent in the league. However, he continued his goal scoring form in CL and DFB Pokal. This proved to be the good transfer for the Bavarians.

MARIO GOMEZ

Mario Gomez, one of the best attackers of the club, proved his best in the campaign. Though a flop in the league, he too, like Mandzukic, scored many important goals in the CL. His goals against FC Barcelona in the semifinal first leg, and his hattrick in a 6-1 victory over Wolfsburg in DFB Pokal’s semifinal is really appreciable.

THOMAS MULLER

This man has also received the same praise as like Mandzukic and Gomez. His scores in the Champions League against FC Barcelona, Valencia, Juventus and Arsenal were proved to be so important as Bayern are now in the finals of the CL. His goals in the Pokal were also on important occasions.

TONI KROOS

From the very first match of the CL, he started scoring goals. His long range goal against Valencia was superb that earned them a place in the Round of 16. He has also scored goals in several league matches too. He has also scored important goals in DFB Pokal too.

ARJEN ROBBEN

“Rising from the ashes!” This phrase wouldn’t be wrong for him. He was without goals for many weeks. He was not getting time on the pitch, and that time also came when the news regarding his move from the club also spread like the fire. But Robben silenced his critics after given a chance and he proved himself. In the second half of the season, he has scored too many goals that were enough to silent his critics. He scored crucial goals in the CL, especially in both the legs of semis against Barcelona. He also scored 2 goals in their massive 9-2 victory over Hamburger SV. He has now got his pace, his old form back and maybe would get more chances next season.

FRANCK RIBERY

This French midfielder has always helped his club to taste the victory. Be it Bundesliga, Champions League or DFB Pokal, this man has proved himself worthy in every competition. He has scored too many goals this season, not to forget his goal in 9-2 victory over Hamburg.

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER

This German international has always been a center of attraction for the fans, coaches, and also team mates. His capability to hold the ball tightly and his unique pace always help him to steal the show. He has scored all his goals on important occasions. He has many more seasons to prove himself . He is the heart of the club.

CLAUDIO PIZARRO

The Peruvian striker, after returning to Bayern on 26 May 2012, has shown his dedication towards the club. He started his journey with this club very perfectly as he scored 2 goals against Kaiserlautern in DFB Pokal. In CL too, he has scored a hattrick  in a 6-1 victory against Lille. He also scored against Juventus in their 2-0 victory in the 90th minute, when he came off the bench. He scored his first league goal against Hamburg in a 9-2 victory over them. He managed to score four goals in this match and from here he started receiving rave reviews from the fans, and also scored twice in a 6-1 victory over Hannover 96.

BEST INCOMING TRANSFER

Best transfer for the Bavarians, in my view, is Claudio Pizarro as he got goals for him since the beginning only. He proved to be the best forward by then only. He has also scored 4 goals, as mentioned above, in the 9-2 hammering of Hamburger SV, which put him into the limelight. He later started scoring goals for the club that proved to be helpful. He has signed one year contract with the club. So, in this one year, he can achieve a lot here.

BEST MOMENTS

Obviously the best moment for the Bavarians would be when they lifted the trophy. But during the campaign, there were few moments which can be put as the best moments.

VICTORY OVER JUVENTUS

Champions League quarter final victory over the Italian league leaders Juventus would really be a proud moment for them. Two goals scored by Bayern, one by David Alaba in the first minute and the second by Thomas Muller in the 63rd minute were enough to give them partial ticket to the semis. In the second leg, the score was the same, but this time Mario Mandzukic scored the goal in the 64th minute and after coming off the bench, Claudio Pizarro marked his presence by scoring a goal in the injury time. Bayern enjoyed much of the possession as Juventus accepted their defeat after the score 4-0 on aggregate.

VICTORY OVER BARCELONA

In the semis, Bayern faced Barca that was supposed to be a nail-biting match. But all ruined up as Bayern did not give their opponents a single chance to attack, and the final result we all know (4-0). Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez scored the goals and Thomas Muller scored a brace. It was an easy win for Bayern Munich, and of course, necessary too. In the second leg, Bayern looked quite comfortable as they had a four-goal lead over the Spanish giants. This time too, Arjen Robben scored the goal, the  opener of the match in the 49th minute, and Thomas Muller too scored a goal in the 76th minute. But just four minutes before that, Barcelona centre-back Gerrard Pique scored an own goal that proved to be too costly for the Catalans as they were out of the competition on an aggregate score of 7-0.

Now, as Bayern have won the title and are looking for the CL and DFB Pokal win, it is quite interesting to see whether Jupp Heynckes can help them win the treble. Mario Gotze has already signed a contract with the club, but will only move to Allianz Arena after the final. But, the latest news is that Mario Gotze will not play in the final after suffering from knee injury and after further more tests, this news is now official.

Bayern have the best squad today and are the favourites to win both the remaining trophies (CL and Pokal). They just need to be concentrated and not get over confident. Rest, they are the best team and can defeat any team that come to block their way.

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