Bayern Munich had another good year. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still good. There were a few bumps in the road, but overall, fans can look back on 2022 and say, “yeah, you know what, this was still worth remembering.” Here are the top five matches that really are worth remembering for the years to come.
#5. FC Bayern München 5-0 SC Freiburg
Bundesliga Matchday 10, 2022/23
October 17, Allianz Arena, Munich
Bayern were coming off a rather torrid run in the Bundesliga, with only one win in their last five games. Worse still, surprise title challengers Freiburg awaited them next. Would the Bavarians be able to get the better of their opponents this time?
It didn’t take too long to find out. Leroy Sané’s early effort was blocked by the keeper and seemingly cleared away to safety. However, Serge Gnabry was on hand to head home from long range to open the scoring. Later in the first half, unlikely starter Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fooled his defender with a deft feint before finishing off coolly.
The second half brought the best goal of the bunch, with Sané making amends for his poor finishing earlier with a powerful effort from about 20 yards out. Sadio Mané joined the fun with a wonderful chip over the keeper. Even though they were four goals to the good, Bayern didn’t let up too much, and there was still time for a late Marcel Sabitzer goal.
This was the game that signaled the end of Bayern’s bad streak. It was a performance that personified Bayern’s style of play - high-octane press, fast-paced attack, and lots of goals. The fact that such a performance came against a strong team like Freiburg buoyed Julian Nagelsmann and his men, and they never looked back for the rest of the year. Nine more games later, they closed out the Hinrunde with nine wins.
#4. FC Barcelona 0-3 FC Bayern München
UEFA Champions League Group C Matchday 5, 2022/23
October 25, Camp Nou, Barcelona
Bayern faced Barcelona twice in this Champions League season and came away with two wins. The home leg was good, but it’s the away leg that makes this list.
Sadio Mané opened the scoring, latching onto a pinpoint through ball from Serge Gnabry and making a fool out of Héctor Bellerín. About 20 minutes later, Gnabry fed Choupo-Moting this time with another good through ball for the Cameroon international to nutmeg Marc-Andre ter Stegen and make it two nothing. VAR chalked off a Barcelona penalty on the stroke of halftime, and Bayern never looked back, making it three with a Benjamin Pavard goal mere seconds before the death. The assister? Serge Gnabry yet again.
Why was this game better than the home leg, one may ask. Well, this game was simply a better performance from Bayern on all levels. Bayern had Barcelona by the throat for 90 minutes and didn’t allow a single shot on goal. Barcelona had no answer to Bayern’s power-play, and they were left haplessly chasing the Bayern players around in vain, in their own backyard, no less. It was a dominant performance that probably left Bayern alum Robert Lewandowski wondering what might have been.
#3. Eintracht Frankfurt 1-6 FC Bayern München
Bundesliga Matchday 1, 2022/23
August 5, Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt
Frankfurt away is a fixture that has been quite a burden for Bayern Munich lately. It was in Frankfurt that Bayern’s biggest league defeat in recent memory came in 2019. Even Hansi Flick’s sextuple winning team was stopped dead in their tracks by Die Adler. So it was no surprise that not every fan was looking forward to opening the new Bundesliga season at a ground they had only won half of their last four games.
But this time, things were different. Much different. Only a few minutes into the game, Joshua Kimmich got the ball rolling with a sumptuous free kick from distance. Later, Benjamin Pavard slammed in a loose ball from a corner. Sadio Mané scored his second goal in as many competitive Bayern games on the half hour mark with a well taken header before Thomas Müller teed up Jamal Musiala for a tap in. There was still time left for Müller to set up another goal, this time for Serge Gnabry, before the referee blew for halftime.
The second half was understandably a bit more subdued, and Frankfurt got a goal back courtesy of a rare howler from Manuel Neuer. But the game was already done and dusted, and Musiala added the finishing touch in the later stages.
Bayern thus capped off their most dominant performance at Frankfurt in recent memory, and showed the world that they were not to be taken lightly. It’s not every day that a team dismantles the current Europa League winners so convincingly. This was a game to relish indeed.
#2. FC Bayern München 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Bundesliga Matchday 31, 2021/22
April 23, Allianz Arena, Munich
Bayern were just one win away from a historic tenth consecutive Bundesliga title. Fate had it that the last hurdle they needed to overcome was direct title rivals Borussia Dortmund. Seriously, who writes these scripts?
But the script was a bit more one-sided than expected. Just fifteen minutes in, Serge Gnabry volleyed in a headed pass from Leon Goretzka, one of his better finishes for the club so far. Bayern had the ball in the back of the net again, but it was ruled out. No matter, though, as Thomas Müller fed Robert Lewandowski for the second of the evening. As things stood at halftime, Bayern had one hand on the Meisterschale.
Dortmund did make things slightly more interesting shortly after the restart, when Emre Can converted a penalty. But it was not enough to wrest the title out of Munich’s hands, and seven minutes from time, Jamal Musiala put the game to bed after Marcel Sabitzer headed a faulty clearance into his path.
Overall, it was a routine win, but it was a trophy-clinching win, and wins that end in trophies are always special, no matter who the opponent is. Of course, things become even more special when Dortmund is on the other end. Most importantly, this was the win that won Bayern their tenth consecutive league title, a record that had never been achieved before in Europe’s top five leagues.
#1. RB Leipzig 3-5 FC Bayern München
July 30, Red Bull Arena, Leipzig
The DFL-Supercup isn’t the most glamorous trophy in the world, but it’s still an official trophy, and every trophy counts. This particular one was made even more memorable by the crazy game that preceded it.
The game was only 13 minutes old when Jamal Musiala pounced on another faulty clearance and put the visitors up. Half an hour into the first half, some lovely linkup play between Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry, and Sadio Mané saw the latter finish off his first competitive goal in a Bayern shirt. Right before halftime, Musiala set up Benjamin Pavard for Bayern’s third of the game. That was game over, right?
Not quite. Leipzig started to turn the screw through Marcel Halstenberg, who headed home a corner. Bayern restored their three goal lead shortly afterwards, with Gnabry scoring from a loose ball, a byproduct of Müller’s blocked shot. But Leipzig were not going down easily. Christopher Nkunku scored from the spot, and with seconds remaining in normal time, Dani Olmo reduced the deficit to one, providing some very nervy stoppage time for Bayern.
After almost eight minutes of stoppage time, not to mention a very dirty trick from Olmo, Bayern cleared the ball from danger. The ball found its way to substitute Leroy Sané, who ran through on goal with only two men to beat, beat both of them, and slid home to seal Bayern’s victory.
This was probably the most spectacular DFL-Supercup to date. Lots of goals, last minute chaos, some lovely play from Bayern, what wasn’t to like? Sure, fans could probably do without the last minute stress, but Bayern ultimately won a trophy in the end, and that’s what matters most. Here’s to many more wins and many more trophies in the days to come!