Created on 04-01-2008 at 00:00 AM
The year 2007 featured many highs and a clutch of lows at Bayern, including failure to qualify for the Champions League, a comprehensive overhaul of the first team squad, an uninterrupted run at the top of the Bundesliga in the current season, a farewell to two gifted footballers with contrasting personalities, and a string of injury concerns. fcbayern.de reviews an incident-filled 2007 at the club.
Review of 2007, part IV
20 October 2007: Bayern open the second half of the pre-Christmas programme with a 2-1 success in Bochum, accumulating a club record 26 points from the first ten league games and extending their lead at the top of the table to six points. However, the flowing ease of previous matches seems to have evaporated. "That was damned hard work today," Uli Hoeneß muses. With the benefit of hindsight, the trip to Bochum did indeed mark the beginning of a trough for the leaders, whose next two games end in goalless draws away to Dortmund and at home to Frankfurt.
25 October 2007: Bayern open their UEFA Cup group campaign away to top Serbian outfit Red Star Belgrade. Hampered by an atrocious pitch, the Reds trail 2-1 with five minutes remaining, but ultimately battle to a 3-2 victory. "That was a triumph of the will. There was no place for pretty stuff today, just sheer fighting spirit," Hitzfeld reflects. "That's the closest we've come to losing this season. I'd have settled for a point by the end.“
31 October 2007: After the first round scare in Burghausen, Bayern have a far more comfortable evening in the Cup at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach. A Luca Toni brace and a third from Miroslav Klose see the Reds through to the Round of 16, where the opponents in January 2008 will be third division Wuppertaler SV.
8 November 2007: Five days after the disappointing home display against Frankfurt, Munich again fail to shine in a 2-2 UEFA Cup draw with Bolton Wanderers at the Allianz Arena. "I'm furious, because it's a game we could easily have won," thunders chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. The match ushers in a turbulent few weeks at the club.
10 November 2007: Fewer than 48 hours after the Bolton clash, Bayern fall 3-1 to champions VfB Stuttgart, an unpleasant case of deja-vu just 203 days after a woeful display on the same ground. "It reminded me a lot of the last game here," Hitzfeld grumbles, "we weren't on the pitch mentally, and we let them walk all over us in the first quarter of an hour.“ Although the match will remain Bayern's only defeat in the first six months of the campaign, it continues the negative trend of recent weeks. "We've had problems for a while," Rummenigge admits.
16 November 2007: The Reds continue to lead the league by a point, but mounting selection concerns cast a shadow over the club. Marcell Jansen is sidelined until after Christmas with an injury sustained while on Germany duty, Bastian Schweinsteiger struggles with a knee problem, and Lucio's red card in Stuttgart earns him a four-match ban.
24 November 2007: Former boss Felix Magath leads his Wolfsburg charges to Munich hoping for an upset but Bayern grind out a 2-1 win. Willy Sagnol, returning to squad duty for the first time in eight months, makes a shock statement afterwards: "I've asked the club to let me leave during the winter break.“ However, following talks with the board, the Frenchman withdraws his request before Christmas.
28 November 2007: Bayern's 1-1 away draw with SC Braga keeps the Bavarians on top of UEFA Cup Group F. "We hold all the trump cards," Uli Hoeneß remarks, knowing victory at home in the final group fixture against Aris Saloniki would see Bayern win the group.
15 December 2007: Hitzfeld's men continue to labour until the midpoint of the league campaign but remain undefeated, with a 1-0 win in Bielefeld and scoreless draws at home to Duisburg and away to Berlin. Munich top the standings at the halfway mark, but only on goal difference from in-form Bremen. "We're winter champions, which was our target before the season. We'll work hard in mid-season training, and then come back in late January, early February with the aim of recapturing our great form from August and September," Hoeneß summarises.
19 December 2007: A double dose of fireworks as Bayern bid farewell to their home crowd for 2007. The Bundesliga leaders initially brush aside UEFA Cup opponents Aris Salonika 6-0, Luca Toni contributing an impressive four goals, and claim a comfortable first place in Group F. A thrilling night of football ends in a spectacular finale as the Allianz Arena sky is illuminated by a deafening fireworks display. Despite their autumn woes, the Bavarians are still chasing silverware on three fronts. "We've hit all the targets we set ourselves," Mark van Bommel reminds reporters. "Only losing once in 28 matches is a fine achievement.“ The Reds approach the rest of the season determined to match or better that record.