Happy days at Bayern?
This article was first published on our German Miasanrot Patreon site on March 2nd.
We at Miasanrot try our best for a critical and throgouh coverage of the club. Most often, the actual positive aspects fall short. While criticism might be justified, it is at least equally important to recognize positive developments and achievements.
While re-thinking the current season I put to paper everything that I truly liked about the team in 2018/19.
Inevitably, I first had to think of the club’s behavior when nearly everything in Munich was in flames. After the 3-3 draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf even Hoeness was clueless about what was next. But the men in charge remained calm. More calm than many journalists and fans, and more calm than we at Miasanrot.
This is a quality, which I appreciate a lot. However positive or negative you might view Bayern led by Niko Kovač, in the end he is a new coach, who does not have the experience of seasoned world class coaches like Heynckes or Ancelotti. And even these two had trouble reaching the full potential of the squad.
Not falling into the trap of short-sightedness in nowadays fast-revolving world of football, as many others do ever so often, is a nice signal from one of Europe’s soccer powerhouses. Despite my overall critical view of Kovač, I still view this as the right path. Especially as progress became evident since the start of 2019.
Admitting flaws, learning from them and improving in the future – the club is still sold on Kovač and his capabilities. While this seems naive from a tactical point of view, it still has some truth to it. The coach got rid of excessive rotation, which led to an improved stability. He shifted his focus and adapted his conduct in the dressing room. He made more out of the situation than many of us expected past fall. No matter whether he is in a crisis or successful: He seems to remain just as calm as the club. This deserves respect. No matter whether I am dissatisfied with the aesthetics and development.
Above everything else, the team deserves credit this season. While tactics have been sloppier, than one would wish for in a squad with so much potential and quality, the mindset and hunger have been second to none. Six league titles, many big games in Pokal and Champions League with lots of highlights and some setbacks – most of the players have experienced close to anything possible. And still, they give it their all in order to make their mark on history.
Especially, with players like Thiago and Lewandowski, who have not won the Champions League yet, the hunger is evident. They have taken the next step. As star players they lead by example. Both are not just top performers, but are very important for the team because of their sheer presence.
Bayern has come out of the crisis quite well. They have not crumbled or blamed someone else. On the contrary, they decided several close games with their willpower and ambition. But also with a lot of experience. And while some might criticize the age of the squad, this age structure helps in that regard.
Matthis Sammer stated on TV last Friday night, that the BVB team is too young and inexperienced. 18- or 20-year-olds just can not be champions. If stabilizing pieces like Reus or Witsel have to be replaced because of injuries or lack of form, it get’s tough for them.
At Bayern every week players are fielded, which have gone through almost any situation. Ribéry and Robben might not be the best footballers in the league anymore, but they can pass on their expertise to younger players and support them in tougher times. Maybe this is Bayern’s biggest advantage in the title hunt. There is a great mix of experience and young players at every position.
The team is clever and was not impressed by even a nine point deficit. Even in a year where their weaknesses are exposed, they are heading to a season with at least 74 points. Talking about a crisis or shortcomings seems just wrong.
Somehow the reining German champion is able to dangle from one week to the next while playing an important role in all competitions. This has to be respected. Teams, which have tactical insufficiencies, often struggle a great deal.
Because of the addressed reasons Bayern was able to conceal these. With solidarity, attitude and serenity they reach important milestones, which have drastically improved their own situation since November.
Suddenly, Bayern has it in their own hands to win the league again. In the latest cup match they have beaten a strong Hertha side in overtime and in the Champions League they achieved a scoreless draw in Liverpool, that at the end of last year no one would have expected. They are all just milestones. But they have all been passed.
And even if Bayern should not win a title this season, you still have to admit that this has been an alright ending for this era. There have been worse cliffs in the history of football, where teams have fallen off. Looking ahead, I still see a lot of open questions, but I also see interesting and exciting times ahead.
No doubt, there is a new beginning. Especially after the Hoeness quote, I expect Bayern to sign some new faces and I believe, that the team will be set for the future better than most acknowledge today.
Throughout the years the club has stashed cash away for some transfers. Furthermore, the latest talks with Oliver Kahn have shown that the future plays an important role in the minds of everyone at the club. It seems highly unlikely, that Hoeness and Rummenigge only think until their end. In their years at Bayern they have earned our trust, which they can repay this summer.
Of course the fear of losing something is the greatest, if you posses a lot. From a Bayern supporters point of view this possession is the lovely football this team has played – with few exceptions – since 2009. But it is also the status the club has reached in Europe. This both seems to be fading at the moment.
The future is unsure and for Bayern fans this is especially hard, as they cannot directly influence the situation. This lack of control over a potential loss of possessions creates a feeling of pessimism and fear of what lays ahead.
However, if you look at the current situation from a more optimistic point of view, you might also state, that this unknown future is very appealing. Who will replace Rummenigge and Hoeness? Can Kovač sway the public opinion with new players? Is the calm of the club justified? What will the future FC Bayern look like?
It cannot be ignored, that in the past months and years a lot of steps have already been taken. The squad has young players, which take on increasing roles. The FC Bayern Campus for youth development has been built, which might not have produced first team talents so far, but still has great potential. Further, plans have been made for a passing of the torch amongst the board.
And even though the changes are omnipresent, Bayern is not on the abyss. This leaves me with optimism about the things to come.