The ultimate MSR guide for the year 2020 – You read it here first
All names, characters, business, events and incidents in this article are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
On very short notice, Bayern has to relocate their training camp from Qatar to the Bavarian village of Kolbermoor, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s place of birth. But this is not due to the highly questionable working conditions of the migrant workers in the country hosting the 2022 World Cup, it is much rather Qatar that does not want to be associated with a club that is only third in the Bundesliga table. Nevertheless, according to all accounts the training conditions are excellent. The only loser of the preparations: Jerome Boateng’s Instagram account.
After the winter break, the Bundesliga kicks right back into top gear. In the first week of February, there is the small “plastics cup” with two matches against Hoffenheim and Leipzig. A great feast for all Bayern fans who are able to obtain one of the unclaimed return tickets. On the occasion of Nagelsmann’s great reunion with his former sporting director Hansi Flick, he decides to put on his festive clothes and gets his bright red coat and his legendary lapel out of his wardrobe. But all this fashion extravaganza comes to naught as Lewandowski trumps his Leipzig counterpart Werner to secure Bayern’s 3-2 win.
In March, Bayern manage to take revenge for the “Finale Dahoam”. After 179 minutes of play, the tie between Bayern and Chelsea is level at 2-2, but then it is Martinez, of all people, who scores the winning goal out of a situation of confusion in the penalty area after a corner. In the next round, they face upstarts RB Leipzig, who are still first in the league. In the DFB-Pokal, the draw has given them a walkover in Leverkusen, while Dortmund has got a shock draw in SV Verl.
Santa Claus has never been the Easter Bunny and that is why the championship is decided in April and not at the winter break. But after a bitter defeat in the Westfalenstadion, Flick and his team find themselves with their backs against the wall. Uli Hoeneß makes a surprising comeback from his retirement and calls in at the “Doppelpass” to recite the German constitution. With this extra degree of motivation in their bags Bayern goes on to win the following games.
Because the draw pits Leipzig against Bayern for the DFB-Pokal semi-finals, Germany’s record champions have to face the red cans for the third time within a month. But even though Red Bull gives you wings, the Red Bulls crash out of the Champions League. Before the DFB-Pokal semi-final, media reports claim that Timo Werner will join Bayern in the summer. And although Werner misses a penalty in best Bayern against Leipzig tradition, Nagelsmann’s team manages to turn the game around, and thus puts a first dent into Bayern’s treble winning hopes.
Two matchdays before the end of the season, Bayern is in second place level on points with Leipzig. While on matchday 33 substitute Zirkzee scores the winner against Freiburg, it is thanks to wonder kid Erling Haaland that Dortmund beat Leipzig, which enables Bayern to secure the title with a draw against Wolfsburg on the final matchday. As Weghorst scores with a header in the 85th minute, the faces on Bayern’s bench get longer and longer. But then Casteels picks up a back pass by Bruma. Kimmich hammers the resulting indirect free kick over the line, and Bayern are last minute champions once again.
In the Champions League, Pep Guardiola and German international Leroy Sané wait in the semis. There are media reports before the match that the winger’s move to Bayern in the summer is a done deal. As a consequence, the Catalan coach relegates him to the bench for the entirety of the game. Lewandowski, on the other hand, finally silences all his critics by scoring three goals to pick off Manchester City almost single-handed.
In the final, Bayern face title holders Liverpool and arch rival Jürgen Klopp. After three minutes, Milner brings Liverpool in front with a penalty. In the seventh minute, Lewandowski gets a penalty too, but the Polish striker’s nerves fail him. Fortunately, Bayern are awarded another penalty at the beginning of the second half, which Müller converts. In the following, both teams cancel each other out and so it comes down to a penalty shootout. And here Neuer becomes immortal. He manages to catch two penalties and parry the decisive final one by van Dijk under the crossbar without the ball crossing the line. The call from Wolff Fuß becomes legendary: “Neuer! Neueeer! BAYERN!” Kahn in the stands can’t help but shed a tear while Hoeneß misses the penalty being stuck in an elevator.
Europe is in the firm grasp of the European Football Championship. This time around, the “11Freunde” editorial staff does not even have to dispatch a team of as Portuguese fans disguised reporters to the wrong Frankfurt, because due to the countless venues scattered right across the continent, nobody knows which game is played where anyway.
Rather Confused is also quite apt a summary of Germany’s performances in the first two matches against France and Portugal. Only their outstanding offensive consisting of Havertz, Gnabry, Reus, and Werner saves them from an embarrassing early K.O. in the group stage. Having finished the group in second place, they meet their favorite opponent England in the round of sixteen, whom they eliminate on penalties the same as always. The opponent in the quarter-finals is Spain, Jogi Löw’s personal nightmare opponent. And just as has happened so often before, Germany are once more kicked out of the tournament by the team from the Iberian peninsula. Led by an exceptional Thiago, Spain get a deserved 2-0 victory. The “Kicker” reluctantly gives the Spanish midfield maestro a C+ grade.
European Champions surprisingly become Italy in a closely fought match against the Netherlands, who defeated Spain in the semi-finals. Player of the match for Italy is the competition’s top goal scorer Ciro Immobile. Who would have thought how important an occasional invitation to dinner can become.
After the alternative double, Hansi Flick is confirmed as head coach for the new season. Everyone is happy about the coach’s decision to stay, who “has been the first choice since last summer anyway” (Karl-Heinz Rummenigge). Flick adds Bayern’s youth coach and national team top scorer Miroslav Klose to his team as a new assistant coach. Of course, Hermann Gerland is also allowed to stay on the coaching staff on an honorary basis.
As Champions League winners, FC Bayern implement Jörg Wacker’s new internationalisation strategy and replace the traditional training camp with a second marketing trip. Instead of Asia or America, this year it is Asia and America. In Singapore, they win the famous Emirates Cup against Real Madrid, whereas in Los Angeles they fail to qualify from the group stage at the Qatar Airways Trophy. Winner of pre-season preparations: The Instagram account of Jérôme Boateng.
Just in time for the Bundesliga’s opening matchday – and thus exactly as announced by still board member Uli Hoeneß – FC Bayern’s squad for the new season is completed. As has been already clear, the two top-class players Sané and Werner strengthen the Munich starting eleven, which also includes European Championship winner and all-rounder Lukas Klostermann as a new right-back. Sven Ulreich (VfB Stuttgart), Philippe Coutinho (FC Liverpool) and Jérôme Boateng (LA Galaxy), on the other hand, have to leave the club.
As usually, reigning champions Bayern contest the traditional season opener against a team from the middle of the table. This time, the honor of coming to the Allianz Arena falls to Borussia Dortmund. Both Werner and Lewandowski score a hat-trick in the customary target shooting practice against the team from the Ruhr area. What a terrific start!
Meanwhile, the start to the Champions League season proves to be a bumpy one. When Alexander Nübel, who plays in the group matches in the Champions League based on Brazzo’s master plan, lets a free kick from thirty metres slip through his legs in the third group stage game, Manuel Neuer’s temper flares. The captain publicly reclaims his regular first team place for all matches – in central defense if necessary. Meanwhile, CEO Oliver Kahn tries to calm things down: “This can happen even to the best of us.”
The title fight in the Bundesliga is stupefyingly boring. Bayern show no mercy and annihilate one opponent after another. Three mathematicians from the Max-Planck-Institute in Fulda calculate that if they were to continue at their current points average, Bayern could already secure the title by the winter break. While half of Germany is wondering whether Santa Claus is the Easter Bunny after all, Rummenigge warns that “football is no exercise in mathematics.”
The only thing that is still keeping football Germany from falling asleep is the crazy race for the season’s top goal scorer cannon between Werner and Lewandowski. After 13 games, the Pole with ten goals is just ahead of the German national striker with nine. And this despite the fact that both only play in half of their team’s games, as Flick’s system provides for only one center-forward on the pitch at the same time.
Emboldened by his team’s tremendous run, coach Flick regularly gives different youth players a chance in the first team. But when he sends out the youngest Bayern team of the last twenty years in an away game against Waldhof Mannheim in the DFB-Pokal, and his team just manages to survive on penalties by a hair’s breadth, he dials down his experiments. The “Südkurve” protests with creative banners: “More Mai in November” and “Singh again for me”.
Everyone is looking forward to Christmas. But what do you give someone who already has everything? At the annual fan club visit there is something for everyone. Brazzo gets a premium YouTube subscription. Serge Gnabry gets a real pot complete with a mixing spoon. Timo Werner and Robert Lewandowski each receive half a goal scoring cannon. David Alaba receives a life-size painting of himself next to Pope Francis. And Joshua Kimmich gets a year’s supply of children’s fruit yoghurt. Happy holidays!