Tanker Bayern Munich: “It doesn’t come any better”

Only seconds after the club’s final win of the year, the thoughts of Bayern Munich’s two goal-scorers were firmly fixed on the Christmas festivities. “Now we can get down to celebrating with no worries,” said Toni Kroos. “It was an excellent first half of the season and we’re still nicely placed in every competition.” The referee had just blown the final whistle on their third round match in the DFB Cup which saw Bayern progress to the quarterfinals after scoring in the dying minutes to win 2-1 (0-1) away at second division VfL Bochum. A Franck Ribery assist led to Arjen Robben becoming the scorer of the last goal in 2011. “I thought the game was going into extra time and that we’d have to play another 30 minutes. It’s great we’re now on holiday,” said World Cup runner-up Robben. After the match, which was played in front of a sell-out 30,000 crowd in Bochum, the Dutchman drove off over the nearby border to his home country. Munich’s players will return on 2 January after which they will fly to Qatar for a training camp.

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Bayern’s last goal in 2011. Arjen Robben (right) scores past Björn Kopplin and goalkeeper Andreas Luthe to seal the 2-1 win against Bochum. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


“We’re top of the table going into the winter break, still in the cup and we came top of our Champions League group. What more can you want?” commented Robben. Three days before Bayern had wrapped the first half of the Bundesliga season as league leaders after beating 1. FC Cologne 3-0. They go into the short winter break with a three-point lead over title holders Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. In the Champions League, Munich are due to face FC Basel, the Swiss champions. There’s a good chance they will, like in the DFB Cup, reach the quarterfinals. Munich go into the match against Basel, who are coached by the former Bayern youth team coach HeikoVogel, as clear favourites. “The team has worked excellently both in practice and in the games,” said coach Jupp Heynckes when looking back on the 28 competitive games they played in the Bundesliga, the Champions League and in the DFB Cup since August. “We can be very pleased with our performances and everything we’ve achieved.”

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Chong Tese (left), Bochum’s North Korean striker seen here battling for the ball with Bayern’s Gustavo (centre). Holger Badstuber is looking on. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


“Coach Heynckes is just right for Munich”

After only placing third in the league last season, Munich’s record in all competitions this time around is 21wins, two draws and five defeats. After the 1-0 home loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the opening game of the season, Bayern were so dominant that it seemed as if they would walk the league. But then Bayern lost their way losing 1-0 in Hanover, 1-0 at home to Dortmund and then 3-2 in Mainz. In the end they had done enough to remain league leaders. “It was obvious we weren’t going to be able to play at our best the whole time,” said Heynckes. “We also had a few injuries to cope with.” Bastian Schweinsteiger went off with a fractured collarbone against SSC Naples in the Champions League. “He’s the heart and soul of our game,” said Heynckes. The German international will return to the fray in the New Year.

As for the Champions League, Munich, who were already qualified for the knockout stage, could afford to leave out a few regulars for their final group match at Manchester City. The game ended in a 2-0 defeat. They had previously notched up two wins against Villarreal, a draw and a win against Naples and a victory over Manchester City. There had also been two wins in the qualifying round against FC Zürich. In the DFB Cup, they faced and overcame three second division teams – Braunschweig, Ingolstadt and Bochum.

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Uli Hoeness, formerly the manager now the President of Bayern Munich, is pleased with the first part of the 2011/12 season. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Important for President Uli Hoeness at the end of 2011 is the fact that the club is no longer producing negative headlines in the media. “Jupp Heynckes was exactly the right coach to rectify the poor spirit that had prevailed at the club. Ever since he came to us in July, everything has calmed down again at Bayern,” said Hoeness. The second year with Louis van Gaal in charge had been marked by unrest. In Hoeness’ opinion Munich are now playing to their full potential again. “In a year in which the whole world has been going crazy, and not only in the world of football, the tanker Bayern Munich is now sailing calmly full speed ahead.” Hoeness’ summary “peaked” in the sentence: “It doesn’t come any better.” But there is still the second half of the season to come. 2012 has to see a return to title-winning ways. “Prize-giving is six months time and we have to be a part of it,” said Robben. The German league championship will be decided on 5 May by the latest, the cup final is on 12 May. And the Champions League final is being staged on 19 May – in Munich.