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Review of 2014, part 1

World’s best keeper Neuer, title triumph in Berlin

2013 was a truly remarkable year with its historic treble – and no-one can say with absolute certainty whether FC Bayern will ever achieve that amazing feat again. But critics who said FCB would rest on their laurels were proved wrong, because the men from Munich set a string of new records and posted significant successes in the course of the following year. In the first instalment of our three-part review of 2014, looks back on the 2013/14 double-winning campaign.


Lewandowski transfer announced: 2014 opens with headline news. On 4 January Bayern announce the signing of Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund for the new season. “He’s one of the best strikers in the world and he’ll give us another boost,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says after the Poland hitman inks his new contract in Munich.

Neuer named world’s best keeper: Manuel Neuer is declared the best goalkeeper in the world for the first time in his career. In the annual poll conducted by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), the Bayern number one finishes ahead of Gianluigi Buffon and Petr Cech. “That’s a really huge achievement,” comments Neuer, who follows in the footsteps of three-time winner Oliver Kahn, the world’s best keeper in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

Ribéry takes third in Ballon d’Or: FC Bayern won five trophies in 2013, so it is no surprise that Germany’s finest are comfortably the most successful club at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala at Zürich Kongresshaus. Franck Ribéry comes third in the poll for the world’s best player, treble-winning supremo Jupp Heynckes is named Coach of the Year 2013, and Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer and Franck Ribéry are selected for the FIFA World XI.


Champions League record: A 2-0 success in the Round of 16 first leg away to Arsenal is Bayern’s seventh away win on the bounce in Europe’s elite club competition, equalling the record set by Amsterdam giants Ajax between 1995 and 1997. FCB’s next away game, the quarter-final first leg against Manchester United, finishes 1-1.

Domestic dominance: Bayern sweep all before them in a string of outstanding performances, winning 5-0 against Frankfurt, 2-0 in Nuremberg and 4-0 against both Freiburg and Hannover, with a 5-0 DFB Cup quarter-final triumph at Hamburg thrown in for good measure. It is nothing short of a fabulous February for FCB!


Championship in the bag: As a result, Bayern’s 3-1 victory in Berlin on 25 March is enough to seal the domestic championship with seven games to spare, the earliest title triumph in Bundesliga history. However, the celebratory party with the fans is postponed until the end of the season in May.


Stunning run ends: After an exceptional streak of 53 Bundesliga matches without defeat, the Reds’ run comes to an end with a 1-0 reverse at Augsburg – partly due to Pep Guardiola resting a host of key players in the build-up to the Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Manchester United.

Champions League exit: FCB overcome United 4-2 on aggregate in the last eight, setting up a semi-final showdown with Real Madrid. But just as FCB are going slightly off the boil, the Spaniards hit a rich vein of form in April and win the first leg 1-0 in Madrid, before handing down a painful 4-0 defeat in Munich. Real will go on to claim the Champions League crown.


Cup triumph against Dortmund: FCB bounce back from the demoralising defeat to Real and summon up their last remaining reserves of energy for the DFB Cup final against Borussia Dortmund, Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller scoring in extra-time to seal the domestic double. Guardiola takes Jürgen Klopp and his team by surprise with a three-man rearguard marshalled by the superb Javi Martínez, providing the platform for FCB’s thrilling win.

Party on Marienplatz: Naturally, the tenth double in club history calls for the usual wild celebration at Marienplatz in central Munich. The Bundesliga title party had taken place eight days earlier in the same location, drawing thousands of fans to hail their heroes.