Despite Real Madrid’s indifferent league form, the Spanish giants are still termed as favourites to win a third consecutive Champions League after decisioning French outfit, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 last week in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash. While everyone has been waxing lyrical about how the Madrid based outfit showed mental strength to defeat the Neymar-led outfit after going behind, German club, Bayern Munich may have gone off the radar which could come back to work in their favour. Under Jupp Heynckes, the Bavarians are in top form, establishing a double digit margin at the top of the table to Borussia Dortmund, their nearest challengers.
No football lover would forget how Bayern dominated all their opponents in the run to lifting the Champions League back in 2013. They had finished runners-up in the Champions League, DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga the season before, but by 2013, they played every game like they were possessed. It is not hard seeing them do the same again, as the manager then has become the manager now. After Pep Guardiola left Munich, Italian tactician, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed to help their cause in winning Europe’s holy grail once more. The former Real Madrid manager has won the trophy three times, and was expected to help the team challenge for the Big-Eared trophy, but he flattered to deceive with Des Sterns Des Sudens.
He lost to Real Madrid in the quarter finals and was let go at the beginning of the season after the club struggled to impress. He was then replaced by legendary manager, Jupp Heynckes who had retired get the Treble triumph of 2013, who has steered the Bayern ship the exact way many thought following his reappointment. After dominating German football in the last five years, Bayern’s aspirations are closer to challenging for the Champions League. They have watched with envious glances as Spanish sides, Barcelona and Real Madrid have won the titles in that time. They have lost to Spanish opposition in the last four years, which goes to show how difficult it has been for the 5-time European champions.
A look at their Champions League Highlights thrashing Besiktas 5-0.
The likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are favourites to win the competition but Bayern under Heynckes are a different beast. The wily old manager, with 22 wins, a draw and just a solitary defeat in 24 games is a master tactician that can stand toe to toe with any top class manager in wold football despite his age. Bayern have a solid defence, a fantastic midfield and with Robert Lewandowski in attack, teams in Europe must be scared of facing the Bayern juggernaut. He has them playing the German style of play: tactical, efficient and effective football that produces the results. With PSG, Juventus and one of Chelsea or Barcelona almost certain to exit the competition, it is a no-brainer that Bayern can actually win the trophy.
Bayern are on a 13-match winning run at the moment and the way they took apart PSG 3-1 at the Allianz Arena earlier in the group stages showed the mettle of a team that can mid it with the big boys when it matters most. It will be tough but as they have shown under Heynckes, it would take something special to defeat them. Bayern have a fantastic squad depth in every position on the pitch and the added incentive that Manuel Neuer will soon return to full fitness will spur them on. Write off Bayern at your own peril. They have a score to settle with the rest of Europe, especially the Spanish sides that have taken them to the cleaners in recent years.