The first ten years of the new millennium witnessed unparalleled success for the club, both on and off the pitch. Six Bundesliga titles, including five domestic doubles, helped to fill FC Bayern’s trophy cabinet to bursting point. However, success in the Champions League in 2001 was the most dramatic event of all. In 2002, the club was turned into a public limited company. The following years saw the construction of the club-owned Allianz Arena and the renovation of the club headquarters.
Following the dramatic defeat to Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final, the team, built around Oliver Kahn, Stefan Effenberg and Giovane Elber, had their sights set high in 2000. At the start of that year Real Madrid experienced that in the Champions League second round. In eight days Bayern put the ball in the Real net eight times (4-2 at the Bernabeu, 4-1 at the Olympiastadion). The two perpetual rivals met again in the semi-finals. Real gained revenge for the two previous defeats as they triumphed over the Reds. A 2-0 win in the first leg was enough to see the Madrid club progress to the final despite a 2-1 loss in Munich.
FC Bayern did succeed in winning trophies. Under coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, the team caught up with Bayer Leverkusen in the final weeks of the Bundesliga 1999/2000 campaign. The Werkself unexpectedly lost to relegated Unterhaching to hand the title to the record champions in the final minutes on the last matchday of the season. FCB also gained sweet revenge on Werder Bremen in the DFB Cup. After the defeat on penalties in the previous year’s final, Werder were well and truly beaten in a convincing 3-0 victory for the Reds. The 1999/2000 season brought the third double in the club’s history, and Oliver Kahn was also voted Player of the Year.
Kahn the ‘Titan’
The 2000/01 season will probably always be remembered by fans. The DFB Cup campaign may have ended in the second round at Magdeburg, but FC Bayern were top of the Bundesliga pile again after 34 games. Patrik Andersson scored with a free-kick in injury time against Hamburg to seal the league title. It was perhaps the most important goal of the season because pursuers Schalke had already won their match that day and were celebrating being champions. That was until Andersson scored.
With this motivational boost the team travelled to Milan for the Champions League final against Valencia on 23 May 2001. It was to be the crowning moment of the ‘year of revenge’. FCB had knocked out Manchester United in the quarter-finals and Real Madrid in the semis. Oliver Kahn became the hero on the night in the final, saving three penalties in the shootout to give Bayern their fourth European Cup/Champions League title, and their first in 25 years.
The 2001/02 season also saw FC Bayern win another trophy. FCB finished third in the Bundesliga behind Dortmund and Leverkusen, and their DFB Cup campaign ended with a 2-0 extra-time defeat to Schalke in the semi-finals. However, a strike from Sammy Kuffour secured a 1-0 win against Boca Juniors in November 2001 to bring the Intercontinental Cup back to the Bavarian capital for the second time following 1976. The Champions League campaign ended with defeat to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.