The first ten years of the new millennium witnessed unparalleled success for the club, both on and off the pitch. Six national championships, 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 joint stock company. The following years saw the construction of the club-owned Allianz Arena and the exemplary 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 et high in 2000. At the start of that year ‘favourite opponents’ 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 Olympic Stadium). The two constant rivals met again in the semi-finals. Real gained revenge for the two previous defeats as they succeeded in stopping the Reds. A 2-0 win the first leg was enough to see Real Madrid progress to the final despite a 2-1 reverse in Munich.
FC Bayern did succeed in winning trophies. The team coached by Hitzfeld caught up with Bayer Leverkusen in the final straights of the league 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 gained sweet revenge on Werder Bremen in the German 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.
Redemption: the 2001 Champions League triumph
The 2000/01 season will probably always be remembered by fans and the people immediately involved. The German Cup ended in Round Two at FC Magdeburg but FC Bayern were top of the Bundesliga pile again on Matchday 34. Patrik Andersson scored with a free kick in added time at Hamburg SV to seal the league title. One unusual footnote: The game was over for second-placed Schalke 04 and they were already celebrating winning the league... 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’. Manchester United were knocked out in the quarter-finals and Real Madrid were beaten in the semis: FC Bayern won the first leg away 1-0 and a 2-1 victory at home settled the tie. Oliver Kahn became the hero on the night in the final. The keeper saved three penalties in the shoot-out that ended 5-4 to Bayern to give the club a fourth European Cup/Champions League title in 25 years.
The 2001/02 season also saw FC Bayern win another trophy. FCB ‘only’ finished third in the Bundesliga behind Dortmund and Leverkusen and the last four of the German Cup ended in a 2-0 defeat to Schalke in extra time but a strike from Sammy Kuffour secured a 1-0 win against Boca Juniors in November 2001 to bring the Intercontinental Cup title back to the Bavarian capital for a second time since 1976. The Champions League campaign ended with defeat to Real Madrid in the last eight.
Farewell to Hitzfeld
After a season without a domestic or European title FC Bayern once again ended the 2002/03 campaign top of the Bundesliga. FCB finished an incredible 16 points ahead of second-placed Stuttgart, dominating the Bundesliga almost at will. The German Cup final produced a 3-1 win that gave FC Kaiserslautern no chance. Michael Ballack netted two goals in the final. He successfully took over the mantle of Effenberg and FCB went on to secure a fourth double, with Ballack voted Player of the Year. The only black spot: the Champions League adventure ended at the group stage. But out of a negative comes a positive. A goal for Deportivo La Coruna by a certain Roy Makaay knocked Bayern out. A year later and the very same Makaay was playing up front for the Reds.
The Dutchman moved to the Säbener Strasse in the summer of 2003 for the biggest transfer fee in the club’s history at that point. The striker soon showed he was worth every penny. In his first year the ‘Phantom’ scored goal after goal, although even the deadly Dutchman was unable to prevent the 2003/04 season ending without a trophy for Germany’s record champions. The league title race ended with Werder Bremen ahead of FC Bayern, with a quarter-final exit from the German Cup against Alemannia Aachen and defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16.
The disappointing results in the various competitions meant Ottmar Hitzfeld was released after six very successful years in Munich. Four German league title, two German cups, winning the Champions League once as well as the Intercontinental Cup made Hitzfeld one of FC Bayern’s most successful coaches. Only Udo Lattek won more trophies with FCB. In the final game of the 2003/04 season at the Olympic Stadium Hitzfeld, together with his assistant Michael Henke, received an emotional farewell from the Bayern fans. The popular coach received a standing ovation as he departed. That marked the end of an era at the club. Hitzfeld’s successor was Felix Magath who was to carry on where his predecessor left off in the following seasons.
With Magath to the new Arena
The next change in coaches at FC Bayern happened in the summer of 2004. Felix Magath replaced the eminently successful Ottmar Hitzfeld - and the following seasons saw him carry on in the same successful vein as his predecessor. Magath, a convinced advocate of the values of discipline, order and fitness - in his day-to-day work he likes to make use of medicine balls and lead-weighted vests at times - set a historic first in the following two years, winning the league and cup double in both 2004/05 and 2005/06, the first back-to-back double in league and club history.
The new stadium was certainly a key element in this success. The period at the Olympic Stadium ended in May 2005. After 33 extremely successful seasons FC Bayern moved to the new football temple of the Allianz Arena.
After two and a half successful years the club parted company with Magath on 31 January 2007 after a poor start to the second half of the season. Hitzfeld was brought back, but FCB again went out of the German Cup at the quarter-final stage in Aachen. Hitzfeld was unable to rescue much from the rest of the season as FCB finished fourth in 2006/07 and failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in a decade. Mehmet Scholl ended his playing career after 15 years in a Bayern shirt that brought 15 trophies.
In 2007/08 FC Bayern changed their transfer strategy and opted to attract top stars to Munich. FCB completed two transfer coups with the signing of Franck Ribéry and Luca Toni. Success returned with them. Hitzfeld again won the double in his last year as Bayern coach. The German Cup saw the Reds beat Dortmund 2-1 and the Bundesliga title race ended with a ten-point lead over the nearest rivals. At the semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup the Reds went out against Zenit St. Petersburg, the eventual winners of the competition. Three-time World Goalkeeper of the Year Oliver Kahn ended his professional career, and Hitzfeld went on to coach Switzerland.
Building of a gigantic performance centre
Jürgen Klinsmann was his successor for the 2008/09 season. Under the former Germany coach a unique performance centre with fitness rooms and quiet zones was set up at the Säbener Strasse. However, when FC Bayern lost 1-0 at home to Schalke on Matchday 28 the club parted company with Klinsmann. That was preceded by heavy defeats against Leverkusen (4-2 in the German Cup quarter finals), the eventual Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg (5-1) and the CL quarter finals in Barcelona (4-0).
The successor for five games was Jupp Heynckes, who took Bayern to two points behind champions Wolfsburg, securing Champions League qualification and saving the season.