Over the past year, Bayern Munich had the privilege of wearing a shiny gold chest badge that said “FIFA WORLD CHAMPIONS 2020.” A badge that only one team in the world gets to wear. In 2020(technically 2021), it went to a very special team indeed.
What a year 2020 was. Bayern won the Bundesliga by a considerable margin, blew away Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal final, and edged past Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final. Javi Martínez and Joshua Kimmich then won Bayern two Super Cups in the space of a week to make it five trophies in a single year.
Now there was just one more piece of the puzzle, the FIFA Club World Cup. Just one more trophy separated Bayern from a historic sextuple.
But the football gods would not have it easy on Bayern. A snowfall and curfew hours at Berlin Brandenburg Airport stranded the his team for a whole night before their journey even began. Thankfully, once they did get to Doha, Bayern made short work of African champions Al Ahly in the semifinals regardless of their fatigue. But trouble struck again when Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller had to leave the squad for personal reasons and COVID-19, respectively. Would the team be able to take that last step, even in these circumstances?
Well, time would tell. On February 11, 2021, Hansi Flick’s team kicked off against North American champions Tigres UANL in the Club World Cup final.
Bayern made a bright start to the game when Joshua Kimmich fired into the bottom corner from long range on 18 minutes. However, Robert Lewandowski was judged to have hindered the keeper’s vision from an offside position, and the goal was questionably chalked off. Ten minutes before the break, Leroy Sané struck the bar but the half would ultimately end goalless.
Roughly on the hour mark, though, Bayern struck gold. Lewandowski won the ball after an aerial duel with the keeper, and Benjamin Pavard of all people tapped the loose ball home. The goal was given after a VAR check to determine whether Lewandowski was offside again.
Afterwards, the likes of Corentin Tolisso and Douglas Costa also tested the keeper, but to no avail, and the game was poised at one-nil with the clock ticking down. While it wasn’t the most nerve-wracking finish ever, every Bayern fan was still tense as the minutes crept by towards glory.
And just like that, the final whistle blew. Bayern Munich were the champions of the world.
World Champions. That’s not a title you get every day. It means you’re on top of the world, looking down on everyone. It means you’re the best in the world, and no one can tell you otherwise.
That alone is special enough, but what if you got that title by also winning every single competition you played in? Bayern were also sextuple winners, having won six trophies in the space of twelve months. Only one other team, Barcelona, has achieved such a feat. Sextuple. The word has a nice ring to it. It’s a word that can only be attributed to a select few, and Bayern just happened to be one of them. A treble is one thing, but a sextuple is another. It was officially the best year in Bayern’s long and rich history.
That all happened a year ago. Today, I look down on the jersey I’m wearing and gaze at that shiny gold World Champions badge. I reminisce back to that glorious day when we earned that badge, topping off every single trophy we won. It’s times like this that make being a Bayern fan just oh-so-special.