There is something intensely menacing about Bayern Munich, more so than any other club. Perhaps it’s the vivid red kits, perhaps it’s the fact they steamroll every team who faces them…
Many dared to hope that this weekend’s test again Tuchel’s BVB would slow the juggernaut, as even at their most rampant Bayern have been known to come unstuck against Dortmund, but with Der BVB mercilessly swept aside the Bavarian machine looks unstoppable.
It is no secret that Pep Guardiola was brought to Munich to bring the Champions League trophy back to the Allianz Arena. While domestically dominant European outings have proven fraught and ultimately disappointing and a 6th Champions League trophy remains elusive.
The lack of success means that despite their rampant domestic form, bookmakers like Bet365, Unibet or Betfair still place them as joint favourites with Barcelona, and only just ahead of Real Madrid.
With Guardiola signed on a 3-year deal his tenure at the club is likely to end next summer, meaning this is his last chance to silence those who doubt he could repeat the European success he brought to the famous Barcelona side.
So, is this Bayern’s year? There is certainly an absence of strong opponents in Europe. Their two biggest rivals for the Champions League – Real Madrid and Barcelona – are struggling domestically and not setting their usual blistering pace. As usual the English contingent are performing woefully, and it’s hard to see them conjuring up the performances needed to make a serious bid for the final.
Their biggest challenge may in fact come from the French giants PSG, whose Champions League ambitions are as strong as Bayern’s. With the addition of di Maria, Kurzawa and Trapp their squad is markedly stronger than last season’s.
Guardiola’s tactical flexibility will be a great asset to their European ambitions; the team’s ability to absorb injuries is perhaps unrivalled in football. On the opening day of the season Bayern fielded a starting XI without a single natural centre-back, and beat Hamburg 5-0.
Sure, Bayern are known for dishing out some rather savage results against HSV, but it’s hard to imagine any other top team beating a league rival without a CB pairing. Chelsea can’t beat anyone with their first choice CB pairing!
Bayern also had an excellent transfer window; the signing of Douglas Costa was inspired, as the Brazilian winger has exceeded anyone’s expectations. The arrival of Vidal added one of football’s best box-to-box players to an already formidable midfield, and Guardiola has worked wonders with Robert Lewandowski, whose scoring record of late is nothing less than astonishing.
Unless the Clasico duo return to their best, or PSG put up a stronger test than expected we will see Bayern walk, not fight their way to the trophy.