Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller rates his side as one of the top contenders for this year’s Champions League title — but after a string of quarter-finals exits in the years following their 2020 triumph, Müller notes that the Bavarians can only rue that they are not even higher in the pecking order.
“There are a few other candidates. To be honest, after the title in 2020 I thought we would be unstoppable in the next 2-3 years or at least we would be knocking on the doorstep of the final every year,” Müller reflected in his recent Sport Bild interview (via @iMiaSanMia). “That’s how it felt like: Who’s going to stop us with this team? Unfortunately, that has not been confirmed. Of course we are currently doing very well, but we still need more for the title.”
Who was able to stop Bayern in the years since 2020? In 2021, Paris Saint-Germain held off a feisty but Robert Lewandowski-less Bayern side, in a result decided on away goals. The following year, Unai Emery’s Villarreal sucker-punched Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern in a stunning upset.
And last season, of course, a newly-hired Thomas Tuchel ran into eventual champion Manchester City.
Could this be the year Bayern finally reassert themselves as a big player in the competition? Müller hopes so, and also that it won’t only be this year. After all, the 2025 Final — like the 2012 Final — is to be played in Munich. Uli Hoeneß famously declared that Bayern needed to be present for a UCL Final played in their own backyard last time, and the Bavarians made good on the promise. And asked about these comments, Müller agreed for the next time around, too.
“Yes, I definitely see it that way,” Müller said of 2025.
In 2012, Bayern lost a heartbreaker to Chelsea FC. Might the story be different in ‘25, with a certain #25 still leading the way?
Let us not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet. There is still the 2024 campaign to go. Bayern kick off the first leg of their Round of 16 tie at Lazio on February 14.