The rocking Südtribüne, a charismatic coach with his shoestring team, spearheaded by their cherubic talisman. Borussia Dortmund had well and truly shaken Bavaria, in a time where oligarchs and billionaire investors are dictating the course of modern football, the team from North Rhine-Westphalia were giving the world an underdog story few could fail to fall in love with.
Having never broken seven figures on a transfer and boasting some of Germany’s brightest stars Jürgen Klopp’s team had defended their title, lifted the DFB trophy and bloodied themselves in the Champions League.
While this success represented one of the greatest eras in Borussia Dortmund history I believe their success was the catalyst that shaped the phenomenal Bayern Munich we see today. Before 2011/12 it was not uncommon for a team other than Bayern to claim the title, but sure as anything Bayern would be back next season to re-establish the natural order. The BVB double was something else, and Bayern needed to react.
Humour me here as I adopt a cockney accent and paraphrase one of my favourite movies, for every action there is a reaction, and a Bayern reaction, is quite a f**king thing…
Calmly, efficiently and cruelly the Bavarians had ripped the heart out of their closest rivals, demolished the greatest team in the world 7-0 on aggregate and won a historic treble. It only took them a few months.
For many teams winning the treble is the culmination of years of building and development and back-to-back Champions League trophies are as rare as a misplaced pass from Toni Kroos. You have to look as far back as 1989 and 1990 when a team last defended their title as Champions of Europe, and that honour belongs to AC Milan.
For Bayern there is a definite sense of infinite possibilities, Jupp Heynckes created a machine, Pep Guardiola will create a dynasty.
The best team in the world
How do you improve the best team in the world? Adding Mario Götze, Pep Guardiola and Robert Lewandowski is certainly a good place to start. Bayern boast incredible midfield and attacking depth, have an exceptionally talented keeper and in my opinion the two best fullbacks on the planet, David Alaba and Philip Lahm. Even if one is currently masquerading as one of the most in form holding midfielders around. Defensively they are just one great centre back away from being ‘complete’.
The scary thing for their rivals is that this is still a largely young squad, of their key players only Frank Ribéry, Philip Lahm and Dante are over 29.
Nobody can say Bayern Munich are bad with money, while many tops teams have suffered poor financial years in the past, Bayern remain consistently in profit.
Last year a very emotional Uli Hoeneß announced the Bavarians best financial year in over a century. The vocal supporter of the FFP rules knows the Bayern model he has been so integral to and believes it has a better chance that most of providing long-term sustainability.
Bayern’s wealth comes from a myriad of factors, numerous substantial commercial deals with a range of international companies provide the savvy Bavarians with huge profits, and combined with impressive match day takings means, should the FFP rule be properly regulated, Munich would become one of the most powerful figures in the transfer market.
The Bayern brand is becoming increasingly more visible worldwide and with the clubs announcement to open offices in New York and China as they seek to break into new markets.
Greater exposure means more revenue and with more success on the cards the Bavarians are on the road to becoming as recognisable on the streets of LA or Beijing as Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Pep Guardiola is magical, his knowledge and views on the game have changed the landscape of modern football. His tenure at Barcelona made him one of the most iconic managers of the modern era and for many players the chance to work with him would be a tremendous draw, irrespective of a generous Bayern contract. Mario Götze reportedly turned down more lucrative deals in favour of the chance to work and learn under Pep, he will not be the last.
Money can buy you a star-studded team but the development of a philosophy through careful youth development creates something that can never be bought. Pep Guardiola believed his Barça side was so special because of the core that came through La Masia, instilled with the club philosophy.
It would be amiss to mention the importance of academy graduates without a nod to Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous treble winning team which featured a core of players developed at Manchester United and know commonly know as the ‘class of 92’.
While Bayern have an excellent record of producing great players – most recently the truly gifted David Alaba – the arrival of Guardiola will undoubtedly create stronger link between the first team and youth ranks. In his tenure as Barça manager he gave no less than 22 players their first team chances.
Munich possess some exceptional talents, notably Julian Green, Mitchell Weiser, Pierre Højbjerg and Alessandro Schöpf who all have the potential to be the next generation of Bavarian legends.
Success breeds success
Obvious but true, the better a team does the easier it is to attract the best players. Bayern have already lured Götze and Lewandowski from BVB and Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt. Weakening their opponents is something Bayern have a reputation for, like it or loathe it it’s a path that they will continue to tread. It’s just good business.
If the old format was still observed Frank Ribéry would have been holding this years Ballon d’Or and as mentioned above, players want to play with the best, be it managers or players.
We all remember the Thiago Alcântara rumours of last summer, once it became known that Bayern were in the running it was obvious Manchester United would never secure his services, why? Assume you are a Thiago, who would you rather play with, Anderson, Cleverley and Carrick or Schweinsteiger, Martínez, Kroos, Ribéry, Götze? Exactly.
European dominance is cyclical; no team can win all competitions every year and even with the best structure and players this is an impossible dream. However in the case of Bayern Munich they have all the attributes needed to consistently challenge at every level. While sides like the treble winning Internazionale side quickly fell from grace Bayern have done everything possible to ensure they will be one of the most formidable competitors in all competitions for a decade to come.
By Alex Philpott – @alexphilpott_