After a season without a domestic or European title, FC Bayern once again ended the 2002/03 campaign top of the Bundesliga table. FCB finished an incredible 16 points ahead of second-placed VfB Stuttgart, dominating the Bundesliga almost at will. They also gave Kaiserslautern no chance in a 3-1 DFB Cup final victory where Michael Ballack netted two goals. He successfully took over the mantle of Stefan Effenberg in midfield and FCB went on to secure a fourth double, with Ballack voted Player of the Year. The only black spot was the season’s Champions League adventure ending at the group stage. However, there was a silver lining. It was a certain Roy Makaay who scored the goal for Deportivo La Coruña that eliminated Bayern. A year later and the very same Makaay was playing up front for the Reds.
The Dutchman moved to Munich in the summer of 2003 for what was at the time the biggest transfer fee in the club’s history. 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 disappointing results in the various competitions meant Ottmar Hitzfeld’s time in charge came to an end after six incredibly successful years with Bayern. Four Bundesliga titles, two DFB Cups, as well as a Champions League and Intercontinental Cup, made Hitzfeld one of FC Bayern’s most successful coaches. Only Udo Lattek has won more trophies with FCB. In the final game of the 2003/04 season at the Olympiastadion, Hitzfeld, together with his assistant Michael Henke, received an emotional farewell from the Bayern fans. It marked the end of an era at the club.
New Arena, new transfers
Felix Magath took over as FC Bayern coach in summer 2004. He was a strong advocate of the values of discipline, order and fitness, and in his day-to-day work he liked to make use of medicine balls and lead-weighted vests at times. He did, though, 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 the club’s history.
The new stadium was certainly a key element in this success. The Olympiastadion era came to an end in May 2005. After 33 extremely successful seasons, FC Bayern moved to its new footballing temple at the Allianz Arena.
After two and a half successful years, the club parted company with Magath on 31 January 2007 following elimination to Aachen in the DFB Cup and a poor start to the second half of the Bundesliga season. Hitzfeld was brought back but he couldn’t achieve more than fourth place in the league. It was the first time in a decade that Bayern had failed to qualify for the Champions League. It was also time to say goodbye to Mehmet Scholl, who retired after a 15-year spell in a Bayern shirt that brought 15 trophies.
In 2007/08 FC Bayern changed their transfer strategy and opted to attract top international stars to Munich. FCB completed two transfer coups with the signing of Franck Ribery and Luca Toni. Success returned with them. Hitzfeld again won the double in his last year as Bayern coach. In the DFB Cup, the Reds beat Dortmund 2-1 and won the Bundesliga ten points clear of their nearest rivals Bremen. Bayern were eliminated at the semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup by eventual winners Zenit St. Petersburg. Three-time World’s Best Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn retired while Hitzfeld went on to coach the Switzerland national team.
Building the 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 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 DFB Cup quarter-finals), eventual league champions Wolfsburg (5-1) and Barcelona (4-0) in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Jupp Heynckes came in for the remaining five games and took Bayern to within two points of champions Wolfsburg, securing Champions League qualification and saving the season.