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Top Matches of 2023 for Bayern Munich and Germany

Germany v Turkey - International Friendly Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

2023 was a crazy year for Bayern Munich and the German national team and our old friend TeddySonMaverick dusted off his writing skills and went to town on a round-up of some of year-end superlatives...or unexceptional performance.

You might have seen some of these in our FanPosts section, but we wanted to run them as regular posts as well...

2023 was definitely one of the most up and down years of recent history for both Bayern Munich and the German national team. Well, for the latter it was mostly just down. But that doesn’t mean the year was not without its perks. Without further ado, here are the top games from one heck of a year for Bayern and Germany.

Best 2 Germany Matches

As aforementioned, 2023 was not a kind year for the German national team. In fact, it made the drab previous year look decent in comparison. But among the many disappointing defeats, there were still a couple of memorable games. Literally a couple. No point in ranking them, so let’s just jump into both.

#2. Germany 3-3 Ukraine

  • International Friendly
  • June 12, Weserstadion, Bremen

It just so happened that Germany had reached their 1000th international match, quite a milestone. Had Germany advanced to the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup, they would have played their 1000th match in style. An ignominious early exit meant that instead, a rather meaningless friendly would be the stage for the historic moment. To give credit to the DFB, they did try to make it as meaningful as possible, inviting war-stricken Ukraine to Bremen as a signal of promoting peace, donating all proceeds to those affected by the conflict, and making special jerseys for the occasion.

The game itself was quite memorable as well, although that was mainly due to Germany being mediocre enough for Ukraine to give them more than a match. Things started off quite well for the hosts, with a Marius Wolf shot deflecting off future Dortmund teammate Niclas Füllkrug into the net with just six minutes played. However, two quickfire goals from the visitors, one from Viktor Tsyhankov and one coming off Antonio Rüdiger, ensured that it was Ukraine who were leading at halftime.

Things went from bad to worse for the Germans early in the second half when Matthias Ginter made a hash out of a back pass and gifted a chance for the visitors, who made no mistake, Tsyhankov grabbing his second of the match. But as bad as they were, it seemed that Germany had no intention of making this landmark match a nightmare. Around ten minutes from time, Kai Havertz finished off a wonderful long ball from Rüdiger. Havertz also won a penalty in stoppage time, a penalty which Joshua Kimmich converted to ensure the two teams would share the spoils. It wasn’t the resounding victory that Germany would have hoped for, but it definitely wasn’t the worst way to end the 1000th milestone match. It also happened to be the last game that Hansi Flick didn’t lose as Germany coach.

#1. Germany 2-1 France

  • International Friendly
  • September 12, Westfalenstadion, Dortmund

Speaking of Hansi Flick, the former Bayern boss was relieved of his duties after another embarrassing defeat to Japan. Sporting director Rudi Völler took his place as a one-off interim, but all things considered, especially the fact that Germany were facing vice-World Champions France, no one was expecting anything from their next game only a few days after the Japan fiasco.

You can therefore imagine the shock of everyone watching when Bayern icon Thomas Müller, playing as a center forward of all positions, gave Germany the lead inside four minutes in typical Müller fashion. Stunned by the setback, the World Cup finalists did not manage to threaten the German goal until the second half, but even then, nothing came of their efforts. Rather, the Germans held firm and surprisingly did not break under the increasing pressure from the visitors. Three minutes from time, Leroy Sané effectively put the game to bed with a cool side-footed finish, putting Germany on course for their first win against France since the 2014 World Cup.

Sané did make things a bit tight in the end by conceding a late penalty, which Antoine Griezmann converted. But Germany saw out the win, and somehow managed to defeat one of the best national teams in the world in the worst possible circumstances. It may forever remain a mystery as to just how a beaten down Germany was able to get the better of a French golden generation (albeit without Kylian Mbappé), but in a year that was otherwise very gloomy for both the men’s and women’s national teams, this game was one that gave the fans hope, happiness, and pride, three things that Germany fans have been sorely deprived of in recent years.

Best 5 Bayern Matches

Compared to Germany, Bayern had a much better 2023. Not by a mile, but still much better. As a result, it was harder to pick just five of the best games that Bayern played in the past year. But we made it work. Here are the five that particularly stood out from an eventful twelve months.

#5. Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 FC Bayern München

  • Bundesliga Matchday 3, 2023/24
  • September 2, Borussia Park, Mönchengladbach

Ah, Gladbach. Bayern’s worst bogey team. Even in treble and sextuple winning seasons, they always managed to somehow upset Bayern at least once. Most Bayern fans are resigned to the inevitable loss of points every time Bayern travel up to the dreaded Borussia Park. Things weren’t so different this time around, and it came as little surprise when Ko Itakura gave the Foals the lead on the half hour mark.

But were things really not so different?

After halftime, Bayern seemed a different team. The customary collapse that characterized so many Gladbach trips did not happen. On the contrary, Leroy Sané got Bayern right back into the game by finishing off a deft lob from Joshua Kimmich. Bayern were in the driving seat in Gladbach for the first time in a long while, and they weren’t about to settle for a draw. But time was not on their side, and the minutes ticked by. Then again, goals only really need seconds to materialize.

As the 87th minute rolled around, Kimmich sent in a corner, and unlike so many of his previous attempts, this one bore fruit. The ball met the head of youngster Mathys Tel and nestled into the bottom corner. Bayern were actually leading in their nemesis’ backyard, and it was a lead they would not relinquish. A strong, never-say-die approach was rewarded with Bayern’s first away win in Gladbach in four and a half years. It was a long time coming, but boy, it was worth it.

#4. FC Bayern München 3-0 VfB Stuttgart

  • Bundesliga Matchday 15, 2023/24
  • December 17, Allianz Arena, Munich

Bayern had hit a patch of black ice as winter rolled around. Reeling from a heavy defeat against new bogey team Eintracht Frankfurt, among other unsatisfactory results, the Bavarians had to go up against resurgent Stuttgart, who were in the form of their lives under Sebastian Hoeneß. Even in their relegation-threatened previous seasons, Stuttgart had not lost at the Allianz Arena in two years. What’s more, Bayern had a long injury list to deal with. What else could go wrong?

Not much, as it turned out. Barely two minutes had gone on the clock when Thomas Müller released Leroy Sané, who took advantage of a goalkeeping error from Bayern loanee Alexander Nübel and fed Harry Kane to score his 19th league goal of the season. Bayern would have doubled their lead through Minjae Kim had it not been for an untimely VAR malfunction, but the second goal would duly arrive in the second half. Aleksandar Pavlović whipped in a sumptuous free kick that Kim headed down for Kane to grab his brace. Shortly afterwards, Pavlović provided another good cross, this time from a corner, to ensure that Kim got the goal he deserved and put the game beyond reach. It was the first ever goal scored by a Korean for Bayern’s senior team.

Stuttgart’s red hot attack was reduced to nothing in front of a strong defensive performance (and perhaps a minimal effort from Manuel Neuer), and Bayern delivered just as strong a performance at the other end of the pitch as well. Likewise, Bayern proved that they were always the ones to beat in the Bundesliga. It was the best possible way to close out the final home game of the year, and the record champions finished off the year with a bang against Wolfsburg three days later.

#3. Borussia Dortmund 0-4 FC Bayern München

  • Bundesliga Matchday 10, 2023/24
  • November 4, Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund

Not unlike before the Stuttgart game, Bayern was in tatters ahead of their mammoth clash against Borussia Dortmund. Having suffered possibly their most embarrassing DFB-Pokal defeat in the 21st century at the hands of third-tier FC Saarbrücken, Bayern desperately needed to pick things up, rapidly. Dortmund was only a few days away.

But Bayern were Bayern. Just four minutes in, Dayot Upamecano embarrassed Nico Schlotterbeck by completely evading his shoddy marking and nodding in the opening goal. Another five minutes later, Harry Kane finished off a brilliant counterattack to double the score in Bayern’s favor. Whatever gameplan Dortmund had prepared had been shredded inside the first nine minutes.

Dortmund tried in vain to salvage some pride in front of their home fans, but their efforts were reduced to just one meaningful shot, which drew a good save from Manuel Neuer. Although Bayern were forced to field Leon Goretzka as a makeshift center back, things only got better as the game went on. Midway through the second half, Kane prodded home a Kingsley Coman cross to kill off any remaining hope, and completed his hat trick deep into stoppage time. It was the first Bayern hat trick against Dortmund since Robert Lewandowski’s triple well over five years ago.

What was expected to be a cagey affair, perhaps even in Dortmund’s favor for once, turned out to be the biggest Klassiker away win in a whopping thirteen years. It was a darn near perfect performance that more than boosted Bayern’s low morale. Bayern may stumble from time to time, they may even fall down if Saarbrücken has anything to say about it. But you better believe they won’t stay down for long.

#2. FC Bayern München 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain

  • UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg, 2022/23
  • March 8, Allianz Arena, Munich

Bayern’s 22/23 Champions League season can be summed up into really, really bad draws. After being forced to top a group featuring the eventual Spanish champions and previous Italian cup winners, Bayern couldn’t catch a break in the round of 16, having to face the French champions. Armed with a video game-esque attacking front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappé, PSG were raring for their first ever European Cup. Bayern were looking to avenge their defeat to the Parisians two seasons ago. Who would come out on top?

The first leg ended with a narrow one-goal victory in Bayern’s favor, but if you know the Champions League, you’ll know that means next to nothing, especially in big team clashes. Sure enough, PSG came out swinging in the second leg, and almost leveled the aggregate score through a mistake from Yann Sommer. Thankfully, Matthijs de Ligt saved the day with the tackle of the season, a move that earned him a truckload of Swiss chocolate.

They say you pay the price when you don’t take your chances, and PSG sure did in the second half. With half an hour to go, Thomas Müller won the ball right in front of PSG’s penalty area and passed it to Leon Goretzka, who fed Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to open the scoring and double Bayern’s advantage. PSG desperately started throwing bodies forward to get themselves back into the game, leaving their half wide open. Bayern took full advantage, and João Cancelo initiated a counterattack that Serge Gnabry coolly finished off a minute before time. Bayern were through.

Although Bayern’s Champions League season ended in the quarterfinals against eventual winners Manchester City, the journey was definitely a memorable one. This thrilling win against PSG was the crowning jewel of a season that may not have been the best, but could make fans think back upon it fondly. Julian Nagelsmann did have his moments from time to time, and this happened to be his last good one at Bayern.

#1. 1. FC Köln 1-2 FC Bayern München

  • Bundesliga Matchday 34, 2022/23
  • May 27, RhineEnergieStadion, Cologne

Although Bayern’s 22/23 Champions League season may have been partially successful, the same could not be said about their domestic campaign. Too many dropped points under both Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel saw the once proud Bavarians two points behind Borussia Dortmund going into the final matchday and unable to win the Bundesliga on their own terms. What’s more, Bayern had to travel all the way to Cologne, while Dortmund were facing a demotivated Mainz at home. It would take more than a miracle for Bayern to win the title this time.

But things took a slightly strange turn as Bayern took an early lead through Kingsley Coman, while Dortmund started crumbling in their home stadium. As things stood at halftime, Bayern were a goal up and Dortmund were two down, meaning that Bayern had one hand on the Meisterschale.

There’s a reason football matches are played in two halves, however, and Bayern, just as they had done so many times over the season, gave their lead away with a silly penalty in the 80th minute. Köln’s equalizer sparked wild celebrations in Dortmund, despite the fact that they were still trailing. Bayern’s 22/23 season was heading for a disastrous finale.

Something happened, though. Something different. Something that made this game stand out from the many other disappointing results that had peppered the season. Was it sheer willpower? Was it just luck? Or was it a divine intervention? Whatever it was, it resulted in Jamal Musiala deftly turning on the spot and curling in a precise shot right into the bottom corner with only a minute to play.

Bayern had done their job, and now it was time to wait for Mainz to do theirs. After the final whistle, the whole team huddled around Thomas Müller, who was relaying Dortmund’s result from his phone. As the team desperately waited for updates, they suddenly got one in the form of raucous cheers of jubilation from the traveling Bayern faithful.

The game was over. Bayern were German champions for the eleventh year in a row.

The Bayern players roared in delight and sprinted over to the fans. The necessary miracle had become reality. After all the hardships and struggles of the season, the team had been rewarded with the most honest title. While many will argue that it was far from deserved, it was still one of those moments that will be savored by many more forever and ever. It was a moment that made the emotionally draining season worth it. Perhaps it was a fitting finale for one of the craziest Bayern seasons in recent years. Crazy as it may have been, though, it will always be remembered for that day Manuel Neuer hoisted the fake Meisterschale high into the sunny Cologne sky.

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