Bayern Munich: The team to support

Written by: Published: 14 January 2016.

Bayern Munich – the biggest name in German sport.

The record winners of the Bundesliga lifted the shield for the 25th time last season and are well on course to add to that this season.

In 2015, American magazine Forbes listed the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world.  Competing with the massive market that the Premier League boasts, Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, and all of the American sports teams that include the NFL, NBA and MLB, Germany’s own Bayern Munich ranked as the 11th most valuable sports team in the world and the fourth most valuable football team.

This is a massive achievement given that the Bundesliga does not have the worldwide popularity that the English and Spanish leagues hold, nor some of the financial backing that a lot of American sports teams have.

Bayern Munich’s riches have come from their success on the field.  Currently coached by Pep Guardiola, they have won the domestic league for each of the past three seasons and currently hold an eight-point lead over second-place Borussia Dortmund at the mid-point of the 2015-16 season.

The Bavarian side were also responsible for seven of Joachim Löw’s German squad that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup – six of whom started the final and the seventh being Mario Götze who came off the substitutes’ bench to score the winner in the final.

In 2013, Bayern Munich also lifted Europe’s most prestigious club cup competition; the UEFA Champions League, 12 months after being upset on home soil by Chelsea in the final.  Victory in this competition one summer and victory for the national team the following summer were a huge boost to the popularity of German football.  And with it Bundesliga shirts sold like hotcakes.

This helped Bayern Munich no end as success breeds success and their fan support across the world increased no end leading to them breaking a record previously held by Benfica for most official fan memberships.

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How will the Bundesliga teams fair in the Champions League Round of 16?

Written by: Published: 13 January 2016.

Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg were the only two German Bundesliga teams to make it into the round of 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League.

The two German teams left in Europe’s elite club cup competition this season have been handed two remarkably different ties in order to reach the quarter-finals.

Here are Bundesliga 365’s Champions League football predictions for the two remaining sides:

KAA Gent vs VfL Wolfsburg

It may not be the strongest Wolfsburg side of recent seasons following the sale of Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City over the summer but Dieter Hecking’s side progressed from a tough-looking group that consisted of PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and CSKA Moscow.

The Wolves progressed as group winners with a 3-2 win over the English Premier League side at the Volkswagen Arena in their final match, maintaining a 100% win record in their home matches.  A 2-0 win in Moscow in matchday 5 was the only time they picked up points on their travels.

Gent was one of the more favourable draws a team could have picked out for the second round and Wolfsburg fans will be extremely confident in their side reaching the last eight as a result.

There are no household names in the Belgian side’s squad but players to look out for on 17 February during the first leg are goalscoring midfielders Sven Kums and Danijel Milićević, and striker Laurent Depoitre.

Over two legs we cannot see the German side being eliminated from this tie.

Juventus vs Bayern Munich

After winning their group, Bayern Munich were handed one of the toughest ties possible when they drew Italian Serie A champions and last season’s Champions League runners-up Juventus.

It is certainly the most mouth-watering tie of the eight that will take place between February and March and we’re confident that Pep Guardiola’s side will progress from this one.

Bayern Munich have a handsome lead at the top of the Bundesliga meaning the Spanish head coach should have little hesitation about resting players domestically, either side of each leg, especially before they have to go to Turin.

Meanwhile Juventus’ slow start to their domestic season means manager Max Allegri won’t have as much freedom.  Fixtures though have worked out quite generous.  Prior to the first leg at the Juventus Stadium, the Italian side go to Bologna four days before and host Internazionale five days after.  Then they host Sassuolo three days before their trip to the Allianz Arena before the Turin derby at Torino four days after they play in Germany.

Guardiola’s side will have a lot of talent to deal with.  They already know Mario Mandžukić very well.  Young Argentine striker Paulo Dybala had a great first half of the season before slowing down slightly before the break.  Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira are two of the stars in central midfield, but during the summer they sold Arturo Vidal to Bayern and allowed Andrea Pirlo to leave for the MLS – perhaps these sales had something to do with their slow start and maybe Munich can dominate the midfield battle.

It will prove to be a fascinating tie no doubt, but we’re favouring the German side to progress over two legs from this tie.

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Player Ratings: Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal

Written by: Published: 04 November 2015.

Bayern Munich ran out comfortable 5-1 winners over joint-Premier League leaders Arsenal at the Allianz Arena this evening.

The Gunners were 2-0 winners in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago but were no match for Pep Guardiola’s side in Germany who extend their winning record at home to eight from eight competitive victories this season, having scored 34 goals and conceded only four.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring after only 10 minutes when he beat the offside trap to head home from close range.

The game was virtually out of sight on half hour when Thomas Müller’s deflected effort squeezed inside the bottom corner to make it 2-0.  At this point, Bayern Munich had dominated possession and territory and aside from Mesut Özil having a goal disallowed for handball so soon after the home side’s opener.

David Alaba started to make the scoreline emphatic with a 25-yard strike just before half-time as the Arsenal defence failed to close the left-back down.

Arjen Robben was introduced early in the second half and it took the Dutch international only 38 seconds to put his name on the scoresheet, turning home David Alaba’s cutback from close range.

Olivier Giroud scored a consolation for the visitors before Thomas Müller completed the route two minutes from time.

Here are our player ratings from Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal:

Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer 7 – Didn’t have much to do at all this evening but made a fine save to deny Santi Cazorla one-on-one at 4-0.

Philipp Lahm 8 – Found a lot of space down the right when bombing forward as Alexis Sánchez didn’t always track back.  Nacho Monreal already had Douglas Costa to deal with on that side.

Jérôme Boateng 9 – Bayern Munich had a clean sheet whilst Jérôme Boateng was on the pitch and conceded very shortly after being replaced by Mehdi Benatia.

Javi Martínez 8 – Comfortable game defensively but poor communication with Benatia helped Olivier Giroud grab a consolation.

David Alaba 10 – Spent much of the game as a left winger where he started his Bayern career as opposed to left-back where he was positioned.  Scored a fine goal from 25 yards out and central to make it 3-0 and then made an excellent run before setting up Arjen Robben for the German side’s fourth.

Xabi Alonso 7 – Looked after the ball in midfield in a comfortable game from Xabi Alonso.  Did take one shocking corner in the first half which was the most noticeable moment of the game for the Spaniard.

Thiago Alcântara 10 – Ran the show from centre midfield.  Was given plenty of time outside the penalty area to pick out Robert Lewandowski for the opening goal.  Showed some skillful touches and passes throughout the game.  His teammates let him down in not having more than one assist.  Pressed well off the ball which was key to setting the tone at the start of the game from which Bayern Munich quickly began to dominate.

Kingsley Coman 8 – Excellent performance down the left wing running at the Arsenal defence, causing Joel Campbell a lot of problems, and creating a number of chances for his teammates whilst he was on the pitch before being replaced by Arjen Robben nine minutes into the second half.

Thomas Müller 9 – His deflected effort settled the game just before the half hour mark.  Thomas Müller forced a couple of saves from Petr Čech after.  His movement was a real problem for the Arsenal defence even before he made it 5-1 late on.

Robert Lewandowski 8 – Opened the scoring with a well-timed run and good header despite being off-balance.  Had a couple of other efforts saved but otherwise did his job up front.  Bayern Munich’s main threat came from down the wings in this game.

Douglas Costa 8 – Wasted a couple of efforts but caused both Arsenal full-backs a lot of trouble by running at them before playing the ball inside.  Not involved in any of the five the goals surprisingly.


Arjen Robben (36 mins) n/a – Introduced early in the second half and scored after only 38 seconds after making his way onto the pitch.  Made a good defensive clearance to deny Arsenal a tap-in at 4-0 but later missed a one-on-one.

Mehdi Benatia (23 mins) n/a – Arsenal scored their consolation very shortly after Mehdi Benatia was brought on.

Arturo Vidal (20 mins) n/a – Brought on as Arsenal began to see more and more possession in Bayern’s half in the final 20 minutes or so.

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Can anyone stop Bayern Munich next season?

Written by: Published: 18 June 2015.

Bayern Munich dominated Germany’s top flight last season as they clinched their 24th Bundesliga title with ease. The Bavarians secured their position as champions with four matches remaining after an incredible domestic campaign. Earlier in the season, Bayern had won 25 of their first 27 league games – drawing the other two – and scoring 79 goals while conceding just 13. Looking ahead to next season, it would appear that Pep Guardiola’s side will be well fancied to go on and lift the Bundesliga trophy for the fourth time in a row at the end of the 2015-16 campaign. We take a look at Bayern’s chances of going unbeaten next year and for more news and odds on German football, or the sport in general, click here.

The German giants possess one of the strongest squads in world football and have match winners all over the field. Manuel Neuer – arguably the best goalkeeper in the world – is reliable between the posts and has a unique ability to act as a ‘sweeper keeper’, meaning that the defenders are safe in the knowledge that the Germany international can cover for any long passes over the top of the back four. Meanwhile, their defensive unit is more than capable of frustrating the best strikers in the world. Dante, Jérôme Boateng, David Alaba and captain Philipp Lahm are extremely talented players and their aggressive style suits the 24-time Bundesliga champions down to the ground. Their recent success has largely been down to a stable defensive unit and these players have been key components of Bayern’s dominance during the last few years.

In attack, they have talent in abundance and have ran riot against some of the best teams on the planet. In fact, Bayern earned mammoth victories in last year’s Champions League campaign against the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, AS Roma and FC Porto – all of whom are established elite European sides. Moreover, they thrashed plenty of excellent Bundesliga teams throughout the campaign, with nine victories by four or more goals in the 38 game season. With the likes of Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski in attack, they have a lethal attacking unit that can unlock Europe’s greatest defences on a regular basis.

If they are to avoid defeat throughout the entire 2015-16 season, Bayern will need their players to maintain a high level of intensity and perform well in the important matches – such as away fixtures at VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund. With a bit of luck, they could emulate Arsenal’s “Invincibles” from 2004 and go unbeaten next season.

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Schweinsteiger Future Remains Unclear but Pogba Almost Impossible

Written by: Published: 15 June 2015.

Bastian Schweinsteiger has been the face of Bayern Munich for almost a decade. The 30-year-old is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the game. Last season was seen as relatively successful for Bayern after they managed to win the league title for a third consecutive campaign. However, major disappointment awaited the club in the Champions League and the German Cup. Betfair backs the German club at 5/1 to win the title in the 2015/16 Champions League odds. Schweinsteiger also had a disappointing campaign after featuring in only 28 matches across all competitions.

This is the first time Schweinsteiger has played less than 30 games since becoming a first-team regular for Bayern during the 2004-05 season. Yet, this is not seen as the reason behind the German being linked with a move to Manchester United.

Louis Van Gaal’s presence at the Premier League outfit is thought to be a key reason behind Schweinsteiger constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford. Schweinsteiger has been immensely successful during his time at Bayern. The midfielder has a collection of eight winners’ medals in the league and more in other competitions. Two of those Bundesliga titles came when Van Gaal was in charge of the team. More importantly, Schweinsteiger is thought to hold a great relationship with the Dutchman.

When Pep Guardiola became the manager of the German outfit, it was seen as a great move for Schweinsteiger on a personal level. The brilliant passing skills along with the vision of the player would make him central to Guardiola’s preferred style of football. He was seen as the perfect player to replicate the role done by Xavi at Barcelona. It turned out to be the case as Schweinsteiger has had two impressive campaigns on a personal level before last season. There is little doubt that he would have gone on to have yet another good campaign without niggling injury problems.

One of the major factors behind a potential transfer could be the contract. Schweinsteiger has less than 12 months left on his current deal, but there is no urgency from Bayern over potential talks. This is largely believed to be due to the player’s age. Schweinsteiger will be 31 in a few months and most clubs see to that the players about 30 are constantly kept on their toes. Hence, these players are not offered more than 12 month extension and Schweinsteiger does not seem to be an exception.

United are ready to take advantage of this situation and they have also received sufficient encouragement from Bayern themselves. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed that Bayern Munich will listen to offers for the midfielder should he express his desire to leave. Even though United have long had a policy of not signing players about 27, it appears to have been relaxed in recent transfer windows in order to make the club competitive once again. A signing like Schweinsteiger will be a statement of intent, but it will also be one for the short-term.

United are unlikely to have any trouble in meeting the price set by Bayern, as the Red Devils have reportedly ready to spend in the region of £200 million this summer.

As for the transfer budgets available for Guardiola, Rummenigge says that Bayern will not be spending in the region of £100 million. His statements are seen as an indirect ‘no’ to the potential arrival of Paul Pogba. The French international’s future at Juventus has been under speculation for several months. After having contributed to the Italian outfit winning the double and also reaching the Champions League final, Pogba’s valuation has edged closer towards £100 million. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, and Manchester City are thought to be monitoring his situation.

Bayern remain as one of the clubs capable of offering this transfer fee, which would become a new world record. The club’s current record transfer is Javi Martinez, who was brought at a fee of £40 million. The addition of a player like Pogba will be massive to Bayern’s potential strength next season. Betfair backs the German club at a very distant 33/1 to sign the 22-year-old. Manchester City are the new favourites at odds of 2/1.

Even though they have won three consecutive league titles, Guardiola will undoubtedly be judged upon his performances in the Champions League. Bayern have been disappointing in this competition under his regime, as they have faltered in the semi-finals on both occasions. Will it be third time lucky?

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Bayern Munich can seal the Bundesliga this weekend

Written by: Published: 21 April 2015.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will seal their third successive German Bundesliga title and extend their national record to 24 this weekend if they can outdo VfL Wolfsburg’s result.

The Bavarian giants are at home to bottom-half Hertha Berlin in Saturday evening’s televised game before VfL Wolfsburg travel to in-form Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.

Bayern Munich need to better the result of the Wolves to be crowned champions this weekend.

Hertha Berlin’s form book reads unbeaten in seven, winning three. However, all three of those wins and four of those matches have come against four sides currently below Pál Dárdai’s side in the table. Hertha themselves only five places off the bottom.

The defending Bundesliga champions have won the last seven meetings head-to-head, but the 1-0 win in the German capital earlier this season was the first time that they had not scored at least three goals during this streak.

Guardiola has a 100% win record versus Hertha Berlin and despite facing FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League this evening, and then Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup semi-final next Tuesday, Bayern have enough strength in depth to warrant being the heavy favourites on Saturday.

Should Bayern win, Wolfsburg could still prevent them from winning the title in April. Dieter Hecking’s side face the tough test of a trip to Borussia Park where Mönchengladbach where the hosts are on a seven-game winning streak in their own stadium, having lost only one there all season.

Gladbach themselves are looking to confirm a top four finish themselves this weekend, whilst are currently level on points with Bayer 04 Leverkusen for third spot which would mean automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League.

Wolfsburg will only have two days’ rest following their Europa League trip to Napoli on Thursday, but Hecking is expected to rest much of his first team having lost to the Italian side 4-1 at Volkswagen Arena in the first leg.

Should Bayern Munich not wrap up the title this weekend, they can be crowned champions at Bayer Leverkusen the following Saturday. Having lost two games already this season, there are few records for Guadiola’s side to chase between now and the end of the season, but chasing another historic treble remains their focus.

Don’t expect Bayern to field their strongest team this weekend, but don’t be surprised if they are crowned the German Bundesliga champions for a record 24th time either.

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Can Bayern Munich win the treble?

Written by: Published: 19 March 2015.

Although the shock 4-1 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg offered hope for those outside of Bavaria that Bayern Munich could be dethroned, the reigning Bundesliga champions have since returned to their ominous best and swept aside their opponents with relative ease. It appears inevitable that Pep Guardiola’s side will secure their third consecutive league title in a row, with six straight victories putting them eleven points clear with just nine games remaining.

Bayern Munich have simply been a joy to watch this season, and while many may cast an envious glance in their direction, they have a squad capable of dominating German football for many years to come. Their quality has also shone through in the Champions League, with Guardiola leading his team into the Quarter Finals with the sort of ruthless streak that could result in them winning their second major European title in three years. The Bundesliga leaders have also reached the same stage of the DFB Pokal to put them within touching distance of a potential treble, and in their current irresistible form, it may be the best time to back Bayern Munich to enjoy success in all three competitions.


Extending their Bundesliga record of league titles to twenty-five would be yet another indication of the level of domination that Bayern Munich have enjoyed throughout their illustrious history. It would also be the fourth time that the Bavarians have won three back-to-back titles, and while Wolfsburg have enjoyed excellent progress under Dieter Hecking, the 2009 champions may be too far away to prevent Bayern Munich from storming towards the 2014/2015 title. Hamburg and Paderborn may be struggling at the wrong end of the table, but the respective 8-0 and 6-0 hammerings that Guardiola’s side delivered were a perfect demonstration to those who may have doubted their quality after defeat at the Volkswagen Arena that they simply have too much quality that the rest of the Bundesliga cannot currently match. Upcoming fixtures against the two Borussia-based teams, Gladbach and Dortmund, may offer a real test of their title credentials, but with Bayern Munich looking unstoppable in recent weeks, it appears unlikely that their march towards the title will be halted.

DFB Pokal

Some fans may question where the DFB Pokal ranks in Bayern Munich’s list of priorities, but Guardiola has shown during his managerial career that he takes every competition very seriously. The seventeen-time winners may be spurred on by the potential opportunity of breaking yet another domestic record and become the first team to win three consecutive cups in a row. Bayern Munich have beaten Preußen Münster, Hamburg and Eintracht Braunschweig on their way to another quarter-final appearance where they will face a tough test at ever-improving Bayern 04 Leverkusen. Roger Schmidt has finally got Leverkusen firing on all cylinders, with their recent 4-0 victory against struggling VfB Stuttgart illustrating their recent progress under the former RB Salzburg manager.

Champions League

Being blown away by Real Madrid at the semi-final stage of last season’s Champions League was considered a huge disappointment for Bayern Munich, with the 5-0 aggregate loss sending shockwaves across Europe. It has made the club even hungrier for more Champions League success, and have set about writing the wrongs of last season in imperious style. Despite being drawn in a tough group which included English Premier League champions Manchester City, Serie A runners-up Roma and Russian champions CSKA Moscow, Bayern Munich swept them aside with unerring ease, with the 7-1 rout in Rome a clear indication that Guardiola’s side mean business.

They faced a potentially tricky draw against Ukranian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in the last sixteen, but while Bayern Munich struggled to a 0-0 draw in Ukraine, they made the most of a record third minute red card for Oleg Kucher at the Allianz Arena to secure a resounding 7-0 win. Holger Badstuber, fresh from returning from a long-term injury absence, marked an emotional return with a goal, with no less than six Bayern Munich players getting on the scoresheet as they made a real case for being strong contenders to win the Champions League in Berlin.

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Shock Defeat for Bayern Provides Temporary Hope for Wolfsburg

Written by: Published: 04 February 2015.

Bayern Munich suffered a shock 4-1 defeat against their nearest competitors in the Bundesliga – VfL Wolfsburg – upon their return to league action. The German league has been in hibernation over the last few weeks, but it announced its return in the most emphatic manner with this shock result. Bayern were in danger of running away with the league, but their lead has now been cut to eight points. Despite this huge setback, Bayern remain favourites – amongst Betfair in the 2015 Bundesliga odds – for the league title. Odds of 1/250 suggest that the club are almost certainties for the title.

This defeat provides scope for teams like Wolfsburg to have a glimmer of title success. No other team has been able to keep pace with Bayern this season. Both teams have European commitments starting from February, although Bayern are more than expected to be at the latter stages of the Champions League. Wolfsburg face Portuguese outfit Sporting Club in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League. A big boost for the second placed team will be the signing of André Schürrle. The German international, who won the World Cup last summer, comes from Chelsea for a fee of around £22 million.

Schürrle is the second major signing for Wolfsburg from Chelsea after the German club had earlier bought Kevin De Bruyne for around a similar fee recently. The transfer of De Bruyne has worked very well for them and Dieter Hecking will be hoping for more of the same. Schürrle’s form has been inconsistent in the league this season, but he played a major role in Germany’s success in Brazil. The 24-year-old was largely utilised as an impact substitute by Joachim Löw. Schürrle may expect more first-team opportunities at Wolfsburg.

For Bayern, this was a humiliating defeat and one the few meaningful league matches that Guardiola has lost since his arrival almost 2 years ago. Hence, it is too early to come to a conclusion that the former Barcelona manager fast needs to find a Plan B. It is especially true when looking at the sizable advantage that the Bavarians have in the league table. Bayern coasted to the finish last season and it was seen as one of the reasons for the poor performance in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Counter-attacks were the story of the night after Wolfsburg adopted tactics similar to those used by Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-final against Bayern. For most periods, Jérôme Boateng found himself as the last man in defence. It was due to the combination of Bayern playing an extremely high line and Wolfsburg immediately starting attacks once they won possession.

The next couple of weeks will be very crucial for the club. Schalke are the visitors to the Allianz Arena in the next league match. Under the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo, Schalke have emerged as one of the contenders for the final Champions League qualification spot. They are level on points with Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Augsburg, while Bayer 04 Leverkusen are not too far behind.

Bayern may have suffered their first league defeat of the season, but it has not altered the strength in the eyes of bookmakers. Betfair places Bayern Munich at 1/7 for a victory when they take on Schalke during weekend. Schalke’s last victory against Bayern away from home came in 2009.

After publicly courting Manchester United a few months back, doubts continue to persist about Guardiola’s future in Germany. The Spaniard is yet to sign a new contract and his existing deal runs out in the summer of 2016.

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