presented by
Review of 2007, part III

New-look Bayern make blistering start

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. reviews an incident-filled 2007 at the club.

Review of 2007, part III

29 June 2007: Extended vacations, injuries and international duty mean Ottmar Hitzfeld supervises just 14 first-teamers as the squad reports for pre-season training, although the group includes Miroslav Klose, Hamit Altintop and José Ernesto Sosa, three of the eight summer signings. “We want to be top of the pile in Germany, and also regain our place at the top table in Europe,” Hitzfeld declares ahead of “one of the most interesting seasons of my career.”

28 July 2007: Two weeks ahead of the resumption of Bundesliga hostilities, Bayern hit scintillating early form with victories over Bremen (4-1), Stuttgart (2-0) and Schalke 04 (1-0) to ease their way to a sixth pre-season League Cup triumph. General manager Uli Hoeneß regards the success as a good omen for the forthcoming campaign. “We know we’re well-equipped.“

6 August 2007: The fine line between triumph and disaster becomes all too apparent a week later against third division Wacker Burghausen in the Cup. Hitzfeld’s men dominate, but the score is 1-1 after 120 minutes and the game goes to penalties, where Bayern are a spot-kick away from an embarrassing exit until Oliver Kahn rides to the rescue with two daring saves. “The match has shown us we need to keep working very hard indeed,” Hitzfeld muses, “even the last doubters now know we can take nothing for granted.“

11 August 2007: The Bundesliga opener is a much less dramatic affair as new strike duo Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose claim the goals in a 3-0 home win over Hansa Rostock. “It was a decent start, but nothing more. It’s already working very well with Luca Toni, and I hope that continues,” two-goal Klose comments.

15 August 2007: Farewell to a living legend: after 21 winners’ medals in 15 years at the club, Mehmet Scholl officially retires with a final appearance in a 1-0 defeat to Spanish giants Barcelona in the inaugural contest for the Franz Beckenbauer Cup. The result is secondary as Scholl follows Giovane Elber in becoming the second Player Emeritus at the club. “It was the farewell he deserved,” Kaiser Franz declares. The Allianz Arena crowd also bids an official farewell to prolific striker Roy Makaay, who is on his way to Feyenoord of Rotterdam.

18 August 2007: The league sits up and takes notice as Bayern thump Werder Bremen 4-0 away from home in their second Bundesliga fixture. Star signing Franck Ribéry sparkles as the men in red emphatically underline their championship ambitions. “Watching him play is a real pleasure,” smiles Oliver Kahn. However, Miroslav Klose is forced out of the action at half-time after a crude early challenge and will spend 14 days on the sidelines.

20 September 2007: Following a 3-0 victory over Hanover and 1-1 draws with Hamburger SV and last term’s runners-up Schalke 04, Bayern turn their focus to the UEFA Cup and a preliminary round meeting with Portuguese top flight outfit Belenenses. FCB win 1-0 in Munich, and take the second leg in Lisbon 2-0. “We’ve done what we had to do and qualified for the group phase,” Hitzfeld summarises after two dour but routine victories.

7 October 2007: Munich continue to set a scorching pace at the top of the standings with wins over promoted Karlsruher SC (4-1), Energie Cottbus (5-0), Bayer Leverkusen (1-0) and 1. FC Nürnberg (4-0). After nine games, the undefeated Reds lead the table by five points from surprise package KSC, and also boast a superb goalscoring record of 25 for and just three against. But chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sounds a note of caution: “Let no-one start thinking we’re already there. The league has never been won after just nine games.“