2011-12 was the most painful season that any Bayern Munich fan could possibly endure. Runners-up in the DFB-Pokal, runners up in the Bundesliga, and worst of all, runners-up in the Champions League due to a late goal in their own home stadium. Jupp Heynckes’ return to Bayern showcased his quality as a manager and it seemed inevitable this squad would do big things, but it was at the final hurdle that it all fell apart. A shame that Heynckes never got his well-deserved trophies, no?
Let’s look at the window that triggered this almost-all time great season.
- Manuel Neuer from FC Schalke for €30m (joint club record fee)
- Jérôme Boateng from Manchester City for €13.5m
- Rafinha from Genoa for €5.5m
- Nils Petersen from Energie Cottbus for €2.8m
- Takashi Usami from Gamba Osaka on a one season loan
- Mehmet Ekici to Werder Bremen for €5m
- Thomas Kraft to Hertha Berlin for free
- Hamil Altintop to Real Madrid for free
- Andreas Ottl to Hertha Berlin for free
- Miroslav Klose to SS Lazio for free
- Maximilian Riedmüller promoted to the first team permanently.
- Emre Can makes his professional debut.
Leiterkletterer: Emre Can
I think Emre Can is one of the most underrated players in the modern era. He made his mark as a defender and defensive midfielder in the Bayern academy, and while he failed to make his mark in Munich, he was so impressive in one season at Bayer Leverkusen that Liverpool picked him up for €12m. He would go on to be very good at Liverpool despite fans not taking a liking to him, and would eventually leave for Juventus after the expiry of his contract. He was okay at Juventus, but began to stagnate slightly. A loan move to Dortmund would take place where he was wildly successful, eventually being bought permanently by the Bundesliga hopefuls for €25m. Can still has many years left at the top level at 28, so it remains to be seen where his fascinating career goes next.
Überschuss: Hamit Altintop
I honestly would not say any players that Bayern let go were poor for their careers. But Hamit Altintop was the closest, a player who still had a few years left at the top but would not be able to negotiate a contract extension in Munich, instead signing for Real Madrid on a free transfer. He would leave for Galatasaray the very next year, but wasn’t poor during his tenure either in Spain or in Turkey. Well, except for one game. Yes, one game. One poor game was enough for his contract with Galatasaray to be terminated. Turkish football, everyone.
Sehr Vermisst: Miroslav Klose
Miroslav Klose wasn’t a huge loss as Mario Gómez had taken over the duties of starting number 9, but he was still a world class player who Bayern could have treated better. He proved his worth for Lazio, scoring 63 goals and assisting 35 times in 171 games in a five year stint, and would lift the 2014 World Cup along the way, being Germany’s primary striker throughout the tournament.
Reue des Käufers: Nils Petersen
Nils Petersen arrived in Bayern with high hopes at the age of 22. He would be disappointed by his playing time and would leave the very next season on loan to Werder Bremen, where he was wildly successful with 11 goals and 6 assists in the league, not missing a single game. Bremen would make his deal permanent in 2013 for €3m where he would score 7 and assist thrice in a year and a half long stint before going on loan to Freiburg for half a season. Freiburg would then make his transfer permanent, and Petersen would become a Freiburg legend, scoring 102 goals and assisting 21 times in 247 games, including an iconic 2017/18 season where Petersen would score 15 goals, falling short in the Bundesliga top scorer race only behind one Robert Lewandowski. Petersen would become famous for coming off the bench and changing games on the fly, including very recently against Bayern themselves were he scored a great curling goal with his first touch of the game.
Neue Legende: Manuel Neuer
As I said earlier, Oliver Kahn could never be replaced, and Bayern Munich are still searching fo-what? What do you mean, they did? No, I don’t know what-
Pep’s eleventh outfield player.
Manuel Neuer joined for a club record fee of €30m, which was also the most expensive fee for a goalkeeper at the time. He was, at first, disliked by the Bayern fanbase, but would prove himself world class with insane performances across 2011/12. He would establish himself as the best keeper in the world in 2013 and would continue this form so well that by 2014 and one World Cup later, he was already in the conversation for the greatest goalkeeper of all time at the age of 28. Outside of a two year period from 2017 to 2019, Neuer has been undoubtedly the best goalkeeper in the world all the way up until the last few months with the rise of one Thibaut Courtois.
Ten Bundesliga titles, five DfB Pokals, seven DfL-SuperCups, a World Cup, two Champions Leagues and a two-time Footballer of the Year in Germany. The greatest goalkeeper of all time: Manuel Peter Neuer.
Special mention goes to Rafinha who established himself as a consistent starter for the better part of a decade, and especially Jérôme Boateng who is a Bayern Munich legend and the one fixture in the Munich defense all the way until the expiry of his contract in 2021.
What do you think of Bayern’s 2011 window? Could we have done better? Did Jupp Heynckes deserve better than only being known for this one season where Bayern came ever so close but couldn’t get the job done in any tournament? Let us know in the forum below.