Now with all of that misery behind us, let’s now take a look at all of the good things we’ve been blessed with!
10. Bayern Sign Jérôme Boateng for €13.5 million from Manchester City
Let’s all ignore his recent drop in form and actually appreciate what Jérôme has blessed us with over the past few years. I’m not sure the Bayern board knew that they were signing someone who would be one of the best German defenders of this millennium when the 22-year-old put pen to paper in the summer of 2011.
His pairing with Dante and Holger Badstuber (and occasionally Javi Martinez) in central defense was the bedrock of a strong Bayern defense during the team’s run to the Champions League final of 2013 and in the years to come.
Boateng was named to the 2016 UEFA Team of the Year and was German Footballer of the Year for the 2015/16 season. That’s immense for a center-back.
9. Round of 16 comeback over Juventus in 2016
This was perhaps not the most important win Bayern Munich had in the Champions League this past decade, but it was a special result nonetheless.
Juventus was the previous year’s runner up in the Champions League, losing 3-0 to Barcelona in the final in Berlin. Coming into this stage, Bayern had topped its group easily, while Juve finished just one point behind Manchester City for second place in Group D.
The first leg in Turin was a tense 2-2 draw. Bayern was up 2-0 by the 55’ thanks to goals from Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben. But, two goals in 20 minutes from Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro meant a tied fixture going back to Munich.
It should have been over for Bayern Munich by the close of the first half. Paul Pogba scored off a wacky deflection just five minutes into the game. By the 28’ Juventus were up 2-0 thanks to an effort from loanee Juan Cuadrado.
But just when all hope seemed lost, Bayern struck back. Thanks to a cross from Douglas Costa, Robert Lewandowski was able to put a header above Gianluigi Buffon in the 73’ to bring the Bavarians within one.
However, a desperate push for a final goal began. Shot after shot was deflected or off target. Until the 90+1’...
Müller’s goal sent the game to extra time, where a 108’ goal from Thiago was followed up by a goal from Juventus’ own former player Kingsley Coman just two minutes later to secure a quarterfinal berth for Die Roten.
8. Bayern Munich Signs Manuel Neuer from Schalke 04 for €22 million
The Sweeper Keeper. Manu. The Wall. The Best Bayern Midfielder Ever.
Whatever you want to call him, not since Oliver Kahn had there been such a commanding presence between the sticks as Manuel Neuer. The fact that Bayern was able to steal him from Schalke for only 22 million euros puts the icing on the cake.
Even as his performances have been shakier as injuries have piled up, Neuer has cemented his status as one of the best players ever to wear the number 1 shirt for Die Roten.
Neuer’s accomplishments include a Champions League trophy, numerous Bundesliga titles, and, of course, the 2014 World Cup, which he won with Germany.
Despite all of the debate over whether Alexander Nübel or Christian Früchtel might eventually replace him, one thing everyone can agree on is that Manu isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
7. Louis van Gaal is fired as manager
Call me mean all you want, but this is one of the best things that ever happened to this club.
Van Gaal took over as manager in the summer of 2009, replacing Jürgen Klinsmann after a well decorated career prior to his time in Munich. He had won the Champions League in the 1994-95 season with Ajax over AC Milan and, the season prior, he won the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar.
His reign in Bavaria lasted only two years, and for good reason. Over three seasons at Bayern he won the league only once, in his first season at the club. He led Bayern to a Champions League final that they lost to Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter Milan side.
Following that close finish, Bayern failed to win a trophy in van Gaal’s next season, and he was sacked after Die Roten finished 3rd in the Bundesliga.
But the legacy of Louis van Gaal’s departure is not the manager Bayern lost, but the manager Bayern gained.
Jupp Heynckes was the caretaker of Bayern Munich in between the period between Klinsmann and van Gaal, but was brought in permanently in 2012. In his tenure, Bayern first narrowly lost the DFB-Pokal, the league, and the Champions League final, but the following year Heynckes brought home the Treble in the best year in club history.
6. Uli Hoeness’s two presidencies of FC Bayern Munich
The impact of Hoeness’ decision-making during his two spells at the top of the club are too immense to describe in this short article. The devil is in the details though, and the period of success under Hoeness witnessed some of the best years the club has ever seen.
Hoeness’ arrest and incarceration for tax evasion in 2014 tarnished his legacy both at the club and in German soccer, but after his retirement this past November, Bayern fans will remember him as one of the most important leaders the club has ever seen.
5. A decade of dominance from Robbery
Much like the man immediately above, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery will leave an undeniable impact on the hearts and minds of Bayern fans around the world for years.
Ribery joined the club in 2007 from Olympique de Marseille for €25 million, which was the club record at the time. He went on to become the club’s 11th-highest goal scorer and the leader in appearances for Bayern by a non-German player.
Robben had already had a successful career, having spent time with Chelsea and Real Madrid. His transfer for the same fee as Ribery came two years later, but his goal-scoring impact more than made up for lost time. Robben currently sits 8th on Bayern’s list of all-time scoring leaders, and his patented cut-in-from-the-right, shoot-with-the-left technique became the agita of goalkeepers everywhere. Of course, his most important contribution will appear later.
4. The record breaking 2012/13 Bundesliga season
To save some time, here is the long list of records that Bayern Munich tied or broke in this historic season:
3. Mario Götze, Bayern Munich, win the World Cup for Germany
Their first game against Portugal was a 4-0 smacking, which featured a hat trick from Thomas Müller. Following that was a close 2-2 draw with Ghana. Götze scored in the 51’, but Ghana quickly retaliated with goals from Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan. It took Miroslav Klose’s dinky goal in the 71’ to secure a draw. A Thomas Muller goal against the US was all that came from that 1-0 game and Germany was off to the knockout stage.
A tough Algeria squad awaited them in the Round of 16. After 90 minutes, the game was scoreless, but a goal by Andre Schürrle gave Germany the lead. Mesut Özil secured the win at the 120’ and off they went to the quarterfinals. France met them there; a hard-fought 1-0 game ended with a Hummels goal scored in the 13’ minute.
Then came the game that defined the entire tournament:
The greatest scoreline of all time saw a brace from Bayern’s Toni Kroos and solo goals by Müller, Klose, Özil, Schürrle, and Sami Khedira. 7-1: Germany was off to the final.
There they met Lionel Messi’s Argentina. This hard-fought game saw two very close chances for La Albiceleste, including a goal that was ruled offside. Extra time awaited.
And just when we all thought penalties would be next, Bayern’s Mario Götze scored this wonderful goal:
And just like that, it was over. Die Mannschaft won their fourth title. Philipp Lahm could finally lift the trophy.
2. Robert Lewandowski signs for Bayern Munich on a free transfer
This undoubtedly is the greatest free transfer of all time. Lewy had already established himself as an outstanding striker with Borussia Dortmund, having been their leading goal-scorer for three seasons running.
Since joining Bayern, he has established himself as the best number 9 in the world. Lewandowski has been ruthless in front of goal and was the top European goalscorer for the year of 2019.
Of course, this is the obligatory place to talk about his performance against Wolfsburg on September 22, 2015. His five goals in nine minutes is one of the most dominant goal-scoring performances in football history, so let’s have this also be the #2 spot.
1. That magical night at Wembley: Bayern is the best in Europe, and later completes the Treble
Having already run away with the Bundesliga, Bayern set their sights on a Champions League final one year after the disastrous Finale dahoam. This time, the game was played against a tougher opponent — Bayern’s league rival Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund was able to top a true Group of Death: Real Madrid, Ajax, and Manchester City were no match for them. The knockout rounds were relative smooth sailing — no mean feat. After blowing out Shakhtar Donetsk 5-2 on aggregate, BVB defeated Malaga 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Real Madrid awaited them in the semifinals, and after a 4-1 win at home in the first leg, they reached their first Champions League final since 1997.
Die Roten also topped their group. After beating Arsenal on goal difference in the Round of 16, they outscored Juventus and Barcelona by a combined scoreline of 12-0 over the quarterfinals and semifinals. With that, a Champions League Klassiker for the cup was set.
The scoring didn’t open until the second half, when Mario Mandžukić’s quick thinking put away a sloppy Arjen Robben cross in front of an open goal.
Eight minutes later, Marco Reus’s fancy footwork in the box forced Dante to make a challenge. His boot went high and Reus went down. The referee pointed to the spot and Ilkay Gündoğan made it 1-1.
The minutes ticked by and Bayern were in full out attack mode.
Then Arjen Robben scored the greatest goal of his career:
Bayern lifted their first Champions League title since 2001 and, a few weeks later, they won the DFB Pokal over Stuttgart to complete the first treble in team history. It doesn’t get better than that.