Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bundesliga 2020-21: What next for treble winners Bayern Munich?

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 17 Sep 2020

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Bayern Munich were transformed from pre-Christmas shambles to European football’s dominant force after Hansi Flick’s appointment midway through last season.

Niko Kovac’s successor masterminded a 30-match unbeaten run, beginning last December 11 and spanning all competitions.

That march culminated with a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final, after Bayern authoritatively outlasted Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig to win an eighth straight Bundesliga crown and swatted aside Bayer Leverkusen to lift the DFB Pokal.

They are achievements to place Flick’s side among the finest of the modern era, but is a prolonged run of success guaranteed for those who conquer all before them?

Here, with the help of Opta, we look at what some recent treble winners did next.

Manchester United (won the treble in 1998-99)

Despite the departure of Peter Schmeichel leading to some issues in the goalkeeping position, the Red Devils retained their Premier League crown the following season. They became the first English team to win the Intercontinental Cup but did not defend the FA Cup after opting to play in the inaugural Club World Championship, where they finished third in their group. Real Madrid brought an end to their hopes of becoming the first club to win the Champions League in successive seasons in the modern era with a 3-2 win at Old Trafford in the second leg of their quarter-final.

KEY STAT: United improved in terms of wins, goals scored and points – their haul of 91 remains their second-biggest in the Premier League era – and they held an 18-point advantage at the end of the campaign, a record that was only broken by Manchester City in 2017-18. 

Barcelona (2008-09)

A positive start saw Barca secure the Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup before 2009 was out but reports of a rift between Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who was signed from Inter in a player-plus-cash deal that sent Samuel Eto’o to Milan – and Pep Guardiola soon emerged. The Blaugrana were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Sevilla in the last 16 in January 2010 and a month later they suffered their one and only LaLiga defeat in another title-winning season. Jose Mourinho’s Inter ended their Champions League defence with an iconic semi-final display at Camp Nou, which enabled the Nerazzurri to complete a treble of their own.

KEY STAT: Despite scoring seven fewer goals in LaLiga compared to 2008-09, Barcelona had more points (99 to 87) as they won four more games and conceded 11 fewer goals. Only once – in 2012-13, when they reached 100 points – have Barca accrued more points in a campaign.

Inter (2009-10)

Mourinho swapped San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu and Rafael Benitez was appointed as his replacement at Inter. Despite winning the Supercoppa Italiana and the Club World Cup, a 13-point deficit to Serie A leaders Milan in December resulted in Benitez’s dismissal and Leonardo taking over. Losses to the Rossoneri and Parma in the space of a fortnight in April all-but-ended their quest to keep hold of the Scudetto and, although they won the Coppa Italia again, they suffered a humiliating exit from the Champions League quarter-finals at the hands of Schalke.

KEY STAT: Inter went from losing seven games in all competitions across 2009-10 to 14 the following season and saw their average for goals conceded per game increase from 0.8 to 1.2.

Bayern Munich (2012-13)

Despite leading Bayern to their first treble, Jupp Heynckes made way for Guardiola at the Allianz Arena. Under the Catalan they went undefeated in their first 28 Bundesliga games, including a record 19-game winning streak, and dropped just six points. Only after wrapping up the title did they suffer their first loss of the campaign – a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg ending their 53-game unbeaten streak in the top flight. They matched their 29 wins from the previous campaign, which remains a Bundesliga record, and defeated Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund after extra time to retain the DFB-Pokal, but a humbling 5-0 aggregate defeat to Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals ended their hopes of keeping hold of the European trophy.

KEY STAT: Bayern became the first team to win the Bundesliga in March and with a record seven games to spare.

Barcelona (2014-15)

Luis Enrique’s first season at the helm yielded a treble but he was unable to repeat the feat in his second campaign in the Camp Nou dugout. Midfield maestro Xavi departed but they held off Madrid in the race for LaLiga glory, topping the table by a single point. They needed extra time to overcome Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, but that came after Atletico Madrid sent them packing in the Champions League quarter-finals – Antoine Griezmann’s double sending the Vicente Calderon into raptures.

KEY STAT: Though Barcelona could not replicate their collective success in 2015-16, the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez managed to score nine more times in LaLiga to reach a combined 90. That figure remains the most of any trio for a single team in history.

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