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With Friday's Champions League quarter final almost upon us, we take a closer look at the team that stands between FC Barcelona and a place in the Champions League semi-finals.
Where they are from
Munich is the capital of Bavaria in Southern Germany, and the third largest city in the country (after Berlin and Hamburg). Regularly ranked among the best cities in the world to live in, the venue for the 1972 Olympic Games enjoys a stunning setting on the northern reaches of the Alps and is one of the world’s most important hubs for science, technology and research, as well its annual Oktoberfest, where large quantities of another famous Bavarian product, beer, get consumed.
Bayern have played at the Allianz Arena since 2005, when it replaced the Olympic Stadium. This was originally as a groundshare with neighbours 1860 Munich, but Bayern are now the sole tenants of the stadium.
Bayern Munich was founded in 1900, just one year after FC Barcelona, and also like the Catalans does not only have a football team, but also other sports including basketball, handball and even chess.
The club was not included in the original Bundesliga in 1963, but soon rose to become by far Germany’s biggest and most successful team, winning far more titles (30) than anyone else, and five European Cup/Champions Leagues, including three in a row in the seventies captained by the legendary Franz Beckenbauer.
Bayern get better and better. They have just won an incredible eighth consecutive Bundesliga trophy.
The club’s local rival is 1860 Munich, although the bigger rivalry in Bavaria is arguably with FC Nürnberg, and nationally with Borussia Dortmund. Bayern has 291,000 official members, which is even more than FC Barcelona, and 4,433 official supporters’ clubs. The 75,000 seats at the Allianz Arena have been selling out for every game for years and with 10 million fans spread all around the country, their away games are invariably sell-outs too.
By their own high standards, Bayern got off to a shaky start in the Bundesliga. After ten games, they were fourth in the table and a heavy 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt cost manager Niko Kovač his job. His replacement Hans-Dieter Flick took a few games to set things straight, but they ended up winning 19 of the remaining 20 games to be crowned champions, 13 points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
They also won the German Cup, beating Bayer Leverkusen in the final to complete a 13th league and cup double.
In the Champions League, Bayern have been in emphatic form, becoming only the fifth team to won all six group stage ties and coming within one goal of PSG’s record of 25 goals in the group stage. Robert Lewandowski has been in amazing form, with 13 goals, including the fastest four-goal spree in competition history, just 15 minutes, against Red Star Belgrade.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade
Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich
Olympiacos 2-3 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 2-0 Olympiacos
Red Star Belgrade 0-6 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur
ROUND OF 16
Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 4-1 Chelsea
Most international caps: Robert Lewandowski (Poland, 112), Thomas Müller (Germany, 100), Manuel Neuer (Germany, 92), Ivan Perišić (Croatia, 88), Jérôme Boateng (Germany, 76), David Alaba (Austria, 72), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil, 61), Joshua Kimmich (Germany, 48), Thiago Alcântara (Spain, 37), Benjamin Pavard (France, 27), Leon Goretzka (Germany, 25), Niklas Süle (Germany, 24), Kingsley Coman (France, 22), Corentin Tolisso (France, 21)
Top goalscorers 2020/21 (all competitions): Robert Lewandowski 53, Serge Gnabry 20, Thomas Müller 12
Barça connections: Brazilian Philippe Coutinho (pictured above) departed Barça on a one-season loan to Bayern last summer. He has been a regular starter in midfield and is the fourth highest scorer with 9 goals including a hat-trick against Werder Bremen.
Born in Italy to Brazilian parents and an international for Spain, Thiago Alcântara was a product of Barça’s La Masia. He made 68 senior apperances at Barça before being sold to Bayern in 2013 where he has been a regular starter ever since.
Hans-Dieter Flick played for Bayern in the late eighties but was never a huge star and his only previous managerial positions had been in the lower leagues and as an assistant at Red Bull Salzburg and for the German national team.
He returned to Bayern as an assistant to Niko Kovač, and when the Croatian was sacked earlier this season, he was appointed caretaker manager. However, following the massive improvement in performances under Flick, the club opted to keep him on in the position.
Did you know?
‘Bayern’ is Bavaria in German.
Bayern have four stars on their crest, because according to Bundesliga rules, stars are awarded for winning one, three, ten and twenty titles. They have just won their 30th title and although many claim this entitles them to a fifth star, the Bundesliga has no ruling on the matter.
After winning their first eight games in the Champions League, Bayern are just one win short of equalling Barça’s record opening run of nine wins in 2002/03.
FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich’s women’s teams met in the semi-final of last season’s Champions League. Barça won both legs 1-0 to progress to the final for the first time ever.
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