From having their worst season in Bundesliga since 2012, where they were once ranked seventh on table following a 2-1 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach, to becoming the second club only after FC Barcelona to win the treble twice, Hansi Flick not only made sure that FC Bayern wins all their UCL games but also made us witness a team that not only attacked but completely knocked down the defense of the opposing team.
Bayern Munich were crowned Champions League winners on Sunday, giving a final flourish to a campaign which has been near to perfect for the Bundesliga giants. Kingsley Coman struck at the 58th minute against former club Paris Saint Germain to score the only goal of the final leading Bayern to continental glory in a 1-0 victory.
It is the Bavarians’ sixth win in the Champions League, placing them joint-third in the overall trophy standings behind only Real Madrid, who have lifted the title 13 times and AC Milan which has won the UCL 7 times.
What has been more intriguing is the fact that never in the long history of the competition had a single team managed to negotiate the entire campaign without dropping a single point until Hansi Flick’s relentless champions appeared. The victory over PSG was their 11th in as many games in the 2019-20 Champions League, making Bayern the first side to post a 100 per cent record in the tournament. The impeccable run began all the way back in September 2019 with a 3-0 defeat of Red Star Belgrade, a result that set the tone for what turned out to be a thrilling, goal-filled dash to glory.
It was definitely Hansi Flick- the manager that Bayern long wanted. They were always one of the favourites of winning the UCL but used to choke under pressure and were not able to win big matches. Even under the great Pep Guardiola, they dominated the Bundesliga but could not get their hands on the Champions League. Finally, the 7 year long wait ended and they found the right man for the job.
Flick was originally appointed only as an interim replacement for the sacked Niko Kovac earlier in 2019-20, earning a permanent appointment on the way to a brilliant run of results that saw Bayern lift the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and now the Champions League. The coach went on to spend eight years under Joachim Low as Germany’s assistant, before returning to Munich, where he picked up four Bundesliga titles as a player, as part of Kovac’s backroom staff. He was the assistant manager of Germany when it won the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
In his 36 matches in charge so far the trainer has won 33, his side scoring an incredible 116 goals while conceding just 26.
Not only did FC Bayern won, but they won it one-sided. It was not a one man show that they relied upon but a team effort that bore them fruitful results. Robert Lewandowski had a phenomenal season where he scored 15 goals in UCL, putting him third on the list of players scoring the most goals in a single UCL after Cristiano Ronaldo. He ended the season with his best figures where he scored 55 goals in all competitions. It is unfortunate that the Ballon d’or is not being given this year. Robert would have won that easily. Serge Gnabry had a quite decent season as well where he scored 9 goals in the UCL. Who can forget the amazing poker against Tottenham Spurs in London where he turned London into red.
The inclusion of youngsters like Alphonso Davies and Joshua Kimmich came as a big bonus for FC Bayern. Both these full-backs had a tremendous season and provided the team with a lot of assists. Davies also set the record for the season’s fastest recorded sprint speed where he ran almost at 36.4 km/h. His dribble past Barcelona right back Semedo became the highlight of the match. It was here that he was able to impress his idol Lionel Messi.
What proved to be even better for Bayern was that youngsters were very well backed by Senior players. Thomas Muller, the club legend gave a total number of 21 assists in a single season of Bundesliga setting the world record there. His brace against Barcelona showcased that age is just a number for him. Not to forget about the captain who led from the front- Manuel Neuer. When many critics started calling him ‘finished’, he was able to shut their mouths with his performance. The vintage Neuer was witnessed again in the final against PSG where despite numerous unparalleled attempts by Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria, he held his nerves tight and did not allow the ball to go into the goal. He kept a clean sheet and was adjudged as the player of the match.
The Bayern campaign of 2019-20 presented a lot of memories and anecdotes, some of which will remain unforgettable. The sheer and ruthless 8-2 win over Barcelona is still hard to digest by some Barca fans. The 10-3 aggregate win against Spurs and 7-1 aggregate win over Chelsea in a single season highlights how much attacking football Bayern has played and is capable of playing. The lesson to be learnt from such a campaign is simple and unambiguous. Players may make you win a single trophy, but for winning a treble, what you need is a good and strong team.