The century mark, the nice, round number of 100, is something that FC Bayern Munich can achieve this season. No, not winning 100 games in a record-low amount of games, as was accomplished by Arjen Robben this past Saturday, but scoring 100 goals in a Bundesliga season, a feat that has only been accomplished once before.
The only team to reach 100
To put everything in perspective, let's take a stroll down memory lane.
At the start of FC Bayern's (first) golden era, in the 1971/72 season, with players like Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Sepp Maier, and, most importantly, one Gerhard "Gerd" Müller on the roster, Bayern were going places. After some early success, placing third in their inaugural Bundesliga season and winning the DFB Pokal, and winning their first national title in 1968/69, in addition to winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1967, they were about to embark on the first ever "threepeat" of the Bundesliga title (1971/72, 1972/73 and 1973/74), followed by the historic three-in-a-row triumphs in the predecessor of the Champions League competition, the European Cup (1974, 1975 and 1976), thereby laying down the foundation for their future sporting and financial success.
Prior to 1971/72, the highest total goals scored by a team in a season had been Bayern themselves, two years prior, when they tallied 88 goals in the 1969/70 season, only to lose the German championship by four points to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Gerd Müller had contributed an impressive 38 scores, the highest number in the short history of the league, but he was not done yet. Other than Bayern, the next highest result had been 80 goals, accomplished by their local city rival TSV 1860 München, in their (only) title-winning season of 1965/66.
On the final matchday of the 1971/72 season, Bayern managed to jump over the century mark, reaching 101 goals, by demolishing second place FC Schalke 04 by a score line of 5:1. Gerd Müller, curiously, did not figure in the scoring on that day, but he ended up contributing an astounding 40 goals on the season, a record that has, so far, also stood the test of time.
Some have come close (but, alas, no cigar)
In the over 40 years since, there have been instances of teams getting close to cracking triple digits, but, in the end, they all came up short. In fact, only five times has a team even broken the 90 goal barrier (1973, 1974, 1982, 2013, and 2014), and four of those have come from none other than Bayern themselves, the lone exception being Hamburger SV with 95 tallies, in the 1981/82 season, under coaching legend Ernst Happel, and with 27 goals from the "Kopfball-Ungeheuer" (Headball monster) Horst Hrubesch.
The closest any club has ever come actually happened very recently, when the 2012/13 triple-winning Bayern team hit the back of the net 98 times, scoring four times in a wild season-ending 4:3 win against Gladbach. Last season's Bayern squad wasn't too shabby either, racking up 94 scores.
Can this year's team finally do it?
Which brings us to this season, which has seen Bayern build an 11-point lead at the top of table, and score 66 goals, with ten games to go. To equal the record, Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller and company will need to grab another 35 goals, which translates to three and a half goals per game. It's a tall task, considering that they are averaging 2.75 a game right now, but if they can repeat another run like they had against HSV, SC Paderborn and 1. FC Köln, where they scored 18 times in a span of three games, they might have a chance.
In their favor is also the fact that, after 24 games, the current squad is actually ahead of the record-setting team from 1971/72, which had "only" managed 63 tallies. However, 43 years ago, Bayern went on a goal-scoring binge to end the season, only failing to score at least three goals twice (zero against MSV Duisburg and one against BVB Dortmund), while also racking up six goals twice (against Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt) and notching five scores twice (against VfL Bochum and in the aforementioned season finale with Schalke).
So, can they do it? It all comes down to how much focus the team will have on the final ten domestic games (considering that Wolfsburg is giving them more of a challenge than Dortmund did the last two years is promising), and how many of their opponents will elect to build a ten man wall in their own penalty box when Bayern comes calling. The odds are that they will fall short, as their ultimate goal will be another Champions League title, but let's hope they make it interesting, so that we have some excitement left after Bayern clinches their 24th Meisterschaft early.