Created on 15-12-2013 at 12:06 PM
The exterior of the Allianz Arena was glowing in its usual red, but at twenty past five on Saturday evening the floodlights were dimmed and the interior fell dark. The magnificent stadium rang to chants of “Super Bayern” as a laser show illuminated the sacred turf, the packed grandstands and the Munich night sky. The magical atmosphere was completed by the clouds of dry ice, rounding off a memorable spectacle and a fitting memento of Bayern’s 2013, already the most successful year in club history.
“We wanted to make it a good farewell to the Allianz Arena for 2013 and we succeeded,” commented club captain Philipp Lahm after a 3-1 victory over Hamburger SV. While the players completed a lap of honour and displayed a banner thanking the fans for their support, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge summed up the first half of the season for reporters. “We’ve done a great job in the Bundesliga in 2013,“ the chairman summarised, “we’ve put ourselves in a good position and we’re autumn champions [top of the league at the halfway mark]. That was our target.“
FCB’s fifth consecutive home victory over Hamburg brought to an end a genuinely magnificent year in the domestic league. Germany’s biggest club won all 17 of their home Bundesliga fixtures in 2013, equalling the feat achieved by previous Munich generations in 1972 and 2005. The Bavarians have racked up an astonishing 93 points and became the only team in the league’s 51-year history not to lose a top-flight fixture in a calendar year. Rounding off a superb record, the treble winners have lost none of their last 41 Bundesliga matches.
Lahm: We’re not done yet
“It’s been an unbelievable year for FC Bayern,” agreed Pep Guardiola, who has a Bundesliga record of his own as the first coach to avoid defeat in his first 16 matches in charge. In the meeting with Hamburg on Saturday, that record never looked in doubt once Mario Mandzukic prised open the disciplined visiting defence shortly before half-time. “It’s always hard after a Champions League match,” Guardiola noted, “but we controlled the match and restricted them to a few chances on the break.”
Munich made sure of the points shortly after the restart when Mario Götze skilfully put away his third goal in as many games. 2-0 looked a comfortable cushion, “and we were dominant until they made it 2-1 – and we were dominant again afterwards,” remarked Lahm. Hamburg’s Pierre-Michel Lasogga pulled one back with three minutes to go, but HSV never threatened to make off with a point and sub Xherdan Shaqiri rounded off the scoring in stoppage time. “I’m extremely happy with the win, our morale was good and we contained them well,” observed board director for sport Matthias Sammer, although he characteristically found some words of advice: “We have to make things easier for ourselves.”
All in all it was no stroll in the park against Hamburg, but the path to glittering success in this extraordinary year never was, Lahm insisted. “We’ve worked very hard indeed for many years. We’ve earned the reward in 2013.” With Christmas on the near horizon, the captain now leads his men to Morocco for the Club World Cup, “and we’re hungry,” declared Jerome Boateng. “We have one last job to do this week,” announced Lahm. Because despite the tremendous success so far this year, FCB intend to add the crowning glory in Marrakech next weekend.