A Bundesliga trophy was a good trophy to win, for it was the 25th league title they have won in their history. The team ran out of gas last season though, with fitness issues crippling the squad to the point where they could not even be competitive against top opponents.
The Rekordmeister need to zap new life into their squad, and that is exactly Bayern's hierarchy did. The club's net spend was €52.5 million was the highest in their history, treading in to transfer territory they have yet to wander into. The result is a squad full of title-winning talent, providing manager Pep Guardiola with difficult managerial decisions for the first time in his tenure.
Bayern made a distinct effort to acquire young talent, but they seem to understand their window of opportunity is still pretty finite. The club has aspirations to not only lift a fourth consecutive Bundesliga trophy, but to get Bayern back to the pinnacle of a treble season. The moves they completed were in tribute to those lofty goals, and Bayern's swift and shrewd business practices allowed them to build a very formidable squad.
Kingsley Coman (€7 million loan, Juventus)
With this move, Bayern moved into obscure territory they have never entered before. They trailed players on loan before with a possibility of a purchase – namely Takashi Usami – but the transaction never involved this amount of capital. Bayern may have stumbled on an interesting business model though, possible taking some of the player frustration out of youth development.
In the immediate, Bayern fill several needs with Coman coming to town. Guardiola wanted more players who excelled in one-on-one situations, and Bayern needed more numbers in attack after fitness issues a year ago. Coman helps complete a big part of that puzzle, at the very worst being a back-up striker to Robert Lewandowski. At 19, he has to develop, but he could become a big piece of Bayern's future.
Douglas Costa (€30 million, Shakhtar Donetsk)
Many thought Guardiola had flown all the way to Chile to watch Angel Di Maria at the Copa America. Then he came back with a Brazilian playing in Ukraine named Douglas Costa. He was zigging and zagging, his mind racing faster than the speed of sound. Starved with flank alternatives, Bayern moves swiftly to get his signature, convincing him to emmigrate from war-torn Donetsk to Munich.
Douglas did not need much time to burst onto the scene, using his pace and his ingenuity to electrify Bayern's attack. He has roared to a rocking start in the Bundesliga, collecting a goal and four assists in just three Bundesliga matches. Bayern have long searched for the player who was going to take the Robbery mantle, but Douglas is already creating a legacy of his own.
Julian Green (loan return, Hamburger SV)
Green's nightmare in Hamburg finally ended, the 20-year-old returning to Bayern after trying to salvage his development with the United States. He showed over the summer his offensive attributes have not diminished, but they have not progressed to the point of squad contention. Bayern were supposedly open to allowing him to find a different home, but he wanted to remain at the club to continue his development.
So Green is back where he started two years ago, trying to get a chance at the big time while playing with the reserves. He may be expanding his skill set, playing as a wingback occasionally to accommodate the vast amount of wing talent with the second team. How long his future is with Bayern is unknown, but the days seem more numbered than they used to be.
Joshua Kimmich (€8.5 million, VfB Stuttgart)
Central midfield was a position which seemed pretty well set for Bayern, but the Rekordmeister cannot pass up the opportunity to snatch up one of Germany's next great talents. Kimmich fits the bill, a player who progressed quickly to first team football. His accomplishments got RasenBallsport Leipzig promoted back to the third tier, and had Bayern not moved for him, he would have easily been a top option for Stuttgart.
Instead, he is buried on the Bayern bench, stuck behind veteran footballers trying to get one last breath of greatness before they diminish into obscurity. He will not have to wait long in order to get his chance, for he showed flashes in the preseason of being the holding midfielder Bayern is looking for. For now, he will have to settle for less meaningful competition, hoping he can show he, not Xabi Alonso, is the immediate option for Bayern.
Jan Kirchhoff (loan return, FC Schalke 04)
Kirchhoff left on loan over a year and a half ago, hoping he could prove he was worth what Bayern invested in him after he did not get his chance under Guardiola. That loan stint did not go as planned for him, Kirchhoff getting injured shortly after his arrival at Schalke. He managed to stay healthy long enough to make an impression under then manager Roberto Di Matteo, but his fitness issues continued to follow him.
With a year left on his Bayern contract, Kirchhoff is now trying to recover from an ankle injury he suffered in April with Schalke. The minuscule role he had in Bayern when he signed in 2013 had become non-existent two years later. As soon as he regains fitness, he will be looking for a new destination.
Sven Ulreich (€3.5 million, VfB Stuttgart)
Bayern have not spared an expense to provide Manuel Neuer with a suitable backup over the past two summers. Pepe Reina and Tom Starke had fitness issues last year, so their investments a year ago did not solve the problem. This time around, they decided to buy low on a goalkeeper with a damaged reputation, and Ulreich took the opportunity to recast his career.
Some did not understand his decision to become a backup at age 26, but Ulreich is certain he made the right choice. How he advances his career is still a mystery, but Bayern have a stable backup for the first time in four years. He may even get some games here and there, but it won't be a lot of them.
Arturo Vidal (€37 million, Juventus)
This transfer may not end up being the best, but it certainly feels the best. Bayern finally got their man on the second try, getting the Warrior to commit the rest of his footballing prime to Bayern. His transfer came with a few clouds of uncertainty, but to win right now, it is a risk Bayern is willing to take.
Vidal is a player who can do absolutely everything, making him a perfect candidate for a Guardiola team. He may not be the one taking penalties anymore, but he settles in as a veteran complement to a very strong batch of stars. He wants to win the Champions League, and he may get his wish with Bayern.
Dante (€4.5 million, VfL Wolfsburg)
Dante is a player crucial to Bayern's recent success, but as the safety barriers lessened around him, he showed his true form. Bayern had to make contingency plans last summer because of it, and the main one, Mehdi Benatia, supplanted his starting role. His place in the squad became uncomfortable, to the point where he wanted to find a place where he could play again.
Bayern granted that wish despite their inconsistent center back depth. He moved on to Wolfsburg where he could pair with his countrymen Naldo and Felipe, remaining in Champions League competition. At 31 years old, he may still have a few years left in the tank, and the protection Luiz Gustavo and Joshua Guilavogui provide will allow him to shine once more.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (€1 million loan, FC Schalke 04)
Højbjerg came back to Munich hoping to get another crack at becoming a regular player. Certain departures nearly made it possible, but others removed that possibility pretty quickly. He cdid take the next step this preseason, showing a mature presence with the ball. The time in Augsburg did him good, so stunting his development on the bech was not going to do him any favors.
His strong preseason got him a larger set of suitors, and Schalke won the race to acquire him on loan. He immediately becomes one of Schalke's better midfielders, a box-to-box presence that will get regular playing time in multiple competitions. As insightful as the experience in Augsburg was, the mere fact he will have to compete for his spot will take his game to the next level.
Claudio Pizarro (out of contract)
Letting go of one of the club's beloved players must have not been an easy decision. His advanced age and his injury issues a year ago no longer made him a viable back up striker. Bayern needed to move in a different direction – one they may have addressed in Coman – and the 36-year-old Bundesliga icon was left out of a job with the Rekordmeister.
His career may not be over though. Augsburg were reportedly looking into the Peruvian, but the Fuggerstädter may not have the kind of capital to convince him to move a half an hour down the road. He is not going to go down a level, so his options may be limited. Regardless, Bayern had to say farewell to a servant on the field and in the boot room.
Pepe Reina (€2 million, Napoli)
Reina's move to Munich came as a consolation after Napoli could not meet the Spaniard's wage demands. After a year on the bench, the 33-year-old had a change of heart, and requested to go back Naples to round out his career. Bayern did not have any issues relinquishing him and his €8 million per year contract, for what kind of club would hold a Spanish goalkeeper against his will?
Reina's return to Napoli has not gone too well so far. Napoli have only one point in two Serie A matches, and the veteran goalkeeper has already fished four balls out of his own net. After bouncing around the last few years, Reina was probably looking to settle down, but he may not get the taste of glory he had in years past.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (€9 million, Manchester United)
If Vidal's transfer felt the best, Schweinsteiger's transfer surely felt the worst. A day occurred that Bayern themselves probably never thought would come: having to sell the club icon to bitter rival, Manchester United. However, the 2013 Fußballer des Jahres had missed nearly half of his matches since Bayern won their treble. With his contract expiration approaching quickly, Bayern elected to cut the cord with Schweinsteiger to let him pursue a new challenge.
Schweinsteiger had to delay undertaking of that challenge to increase his fitness to a full-match level. He did not make his first start until his first appearance, and didn't go a full 90 minutes until his six appearance this past weekend. He is already one of Luis van Gaal's best midfield options, and Manchester United may need him than Bayern ever did.
Xherdan Shaqiri (€17 million, Internazionale Milano)
This deal was already done, Shaqiri going to Inter on a six-month loan before the deal became permanent during the summer transfer window. However, the permanent deal allowed Inter to move on from a player they did not want anymore. Now Shaqiri is off to Stoke, his third club in less than a year, and no where near the level he was playing at Bayern.
Mitchell Weiser (free transfer, Hertha Berliner SC)
Though he had yet to show anything, Weiser nearly looked like he was going to work out at the end of last season. He came up short when Guardiola trusted him in the DFB-Pokal, and he did not get a real chance after that. Bayern therefore elected to let his contract run out and pay for an upgrade, and Weiser had to find a different place to continue his career.
Germany's capital came calling, and Weiser penned a three-year deal with Hertha BSC. He cannot seem to break through to Berlin's team either though, only making two appearances so far. The competition is several tiers left though, so he may be able jump start his career sooner rather than later.
Bayern may have had an opportunity to get Kevin De Bruyne, but Manchester City's financial might snatched that opportunity away from them. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn revealed the Citizens paid way out of the price range Bayern were willing to go to get the Belgian international to move back to England. The issue reintroduced the the growing concern of the financial might English clubs now have, but Bayern may not ultimately need De Bruyne anyways.
The glaring area Bayern could not address was the fullback position. Part of the reason is Danilo and Matteo Darmian, two players Bayern were supposedly targeting, found new clubs early in the transfer window. Real Madrid moved on Danilo before the transfer window even opened, and Darmian's move to Manchester United went down shortly after that. Guardiola has moved Philipp Lahm back to fullback at times to handle the defensive duty on the right flank, but it could be a position they still need to address.
Bayern Munich II
The first team saw some cosmetic work, but the reserves got a complete makeover. New coach Heiko Vogel took a lot of young talent with him, returning Bayern II to the developmental team it had to stray from last season. Bayern also sent professionals Gianluca Gaudino, Sinan Kurt, and Julian Green to get regular playing time with the reserve team, giving the kleine Bayern more talent than it has had in here. Outside of those three, here are the top acquisitions and departures from Bayern's fourth division affiliate.
- Fabian Benko (promotion, Bayern Munich U17): He is the latest teenager to break into first-team training, and right now he and Niklas Tarnat are the only youth players who still do. Vogel has tried to include the 17-year-old in as many matches as he can, even if it means playing three defenders. The creative acumen he showed in the preseason has helped him zip through the Bayern academy system, and it may not be long before talk of a professional contract comes.
- Karl-Heinz Lappe (free transfer, FC Ingolstadt 04): Now with Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga, he was probably destined for the reserve team once again. He chose instead to fill the leadership shoes Tobias Schweinsteiger left behind. He has already scored three goals in six matches, including getting a brace against TSV Rain am Lech.
- Nicolas Feldhahn (free transfer, VfL Osnabrück): It seemed like Bayern II's midfield was already pretty packed, but the club was able to recruit Feldhahn, who scored five goals and recorded three assists with Osnabrück last season. He no longer has a place with Osnabrück though, only getting two starts in six matches in all competitions. He may play as a midfielder next to Gaudino, but he played in defense in Bayern's friendly against FanClub Red Power.
- Lukas Görtler (€50,000, 1. FC Kaiserslautern): Görtler was the second leading goalscorer for Bayern Munich II last season, but he was not going to get the same time with the youth players moving up in the ranks. Uli Hoeneß, as part of his daytime duties with Bayern's youth system, arranged for him to go to Kaiserslautern. He has made two appearances, one with the first team and one with the reserves, and Bayern II has found a way to replicate his production.
- Leopold Zingerle (undisclosed fee, SpVgg Greuther Fürth): Once the emergency goalkeeper for Bayern, Zingerle became the odd man out with the reserves. He may have been a placeholder as it is, with Bayern really trying to develop Ivan Lucic behind him. Now clearly out of the picture, he becomes an emergency option for Greuther Fürth, who lost one of their third goalkeeper.
- Stefan Buck (out of contract): He was not a prospect for the reserves, but he was a big veteran presence that kept the defense in line. Bayern II has already allowed seven goals in six matches as they try to reshape their defense over Vogel, and not having Buck there to help with the transition is coming out.