Bayern Munich’s resurgence under Jupp Heynckes has been well-documented. The team has seemingly exorcised all of the demons that inhabited it during the regrettable (while still relatively successful on a local level) Carlo Ancelotti-era. Simply put, Ancelotti never got “it” about the Bayern culture, whereas Heynckes is “it”. The hiring of Heynckes represented a cure to Bayern’s ills, and as such, the Reds have never looked back.
In Saturday’s comeback victory over Hoffenheim — a match in which Bayern fell behind 2-0 — the boys from Munich displayed the frightening power and tenacity laced throughout the club’s roster. Robert Lewandowski was at his opportunistic best, while Kingsley Coman was an absolute terror on the wing. Arjen Robben contributed two assists, Arturo Vidal played as inspired as ever, and Sebastian Rudy, Jerome Boateng, and Niklas Süle anchored the defensive end after a shaky start.
Players like Joshua Kimmich, Corentin Tolisso, Sven Ulreich, and David Alaba didn’t even have great (or even good) games…and Bayern still out-paced a feisty Hoffenheim side, that had given Bayern fits over the past two seasons. This version of Bayern Munich, however, is absent of the flaws (offensive inconsistency, lack of depth, and worst of all, complacency) that the Bayern squads of recent years have had. Today, they are back into their accustomed German engineered-giant form.
The really scary part about Bayern’s effort?
Well, that had to do with Thomas Müller, James Rodriguez, Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara, and Manuel Neuer — they weren’t even in the starting lineup. While Hummels, Thiago, and Neuer were all nursing various ailments or injuries; only Müller made an appearance as a late sub. Continuing his excellent play of late, Muller hooked up with fellow substitutes Rafinha and Sandro Wagner for a late goal to give the game its final margin. Wagner, for his part, embodies the confidence that Bayern has to this point in the season as he told Bundesliga.com: “In my eyes I’m the best German striker. And without relying on statistics, as I couldn’t care less about those. To me, It’s just important that my performance is up to standard. I’m with the best team in Germany, scored a goal, and so I’m where I should be.” He is the back-up striker, so yes, each Bayern player is exceedingly confident in his own abilities individually, as well as the team overall.
The feeling at Bayern can’t just be they are back, but that there is only one mission: another treble under Heynckes
While much focus from a press and fan standpoint has been about how good Bayern could be next year when Leon Goretzka arrives via transfer from Schalke 04 and Serge Gnabry returns from his transfer stint at Hoffenheim; the roster’s focus appears be lasered in on capturing those three coveted titles.
Unlike the past two seasons, that goal looks to be achievable given the level of depth and talent the team has, along with a manager who has shown the ability to command enough respect to use it as he sees fit.
With Heynckes at the helm, it has been an ascension back to the world’s elite for Bayern. As the team’s playmaker extraordinaire and de facto heart and soul, Müller, would emphatically state after dismantling Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League in December: “We are still Bayern.”
And once again, the rest of the world is on notice.
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