Recap: Bayern's season so far
The excitement is building! Bundesliga football returns this coming weekend following a break of over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, with FC Bayern starting on Sunday away to 1. FC Union Berlin (kick-off 18:00 CEST). After 25 matchdays, the record champions are top of the table on 55 points. Ahead of the restart, fcbayern.com recaps Bayern's season so far.
Lewy hat-trick at Schalke
This man went from one record to another! Robert Lewandowski has been in blistering form to date this term and established himself as Mr Unstoppable right from the first match. After a brace in the 2-2 draw against Hertha BSC in the opening game, the FCB hitman went one better at Schalke 04 on Matchday 2 with a hat-trick in a 3-0 victory.
Victory at Paderborn sends Reds top
Bayern got into their groove in the early weeks of the campaign, recording comfortable home wins over Mainz 05 (6-1) and Köln (4-0). They impressed on the road, too, producing an excellent first-half performance in the 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig. A hard-fought but deserved 3-2 success at Paderborn saw Bayern climb above Leipzig into top spot for the first time.
That joy was short-lived, though. Following the stunning 7-2 triumph at Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, the Munich men suffered their first defeat of the season at home to Hoffenheim (1-2). More disappointment followed after the international break as the Reds were held to a 2-2 draw at Augsburg after conceding an equaliser in stoppage time -- on top of that, Niklas Süle sustained a season-ending cruciate ligament tear. They returned to winning ways on Matchday 9 with a narrow 2-1 win at home to Union Berlin, which included a new record for Lewandowski as he became the first player in Bundesliga history to score on each of the first nine matchdays. He even extended his run until Matchday 11.
Crushing blow at Frankfurt
Matchday 10 was a bitter afternoon for Bayern as they went down to a heavy 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt. It meant that Thomas Müller's impressive feat of reaching 500 appearances in all competitions paled into the background. Bayern subsequently parted company with coach Niko Kovač, with former assistant Hansi Flick taking over.
Dream debut for Flick in Klassiker
It's a match that's watched by the whole footballing world -- and Bayern more than rose to the occasion! In Hansi Flick's first game in charge, age-old rivals Borussia Dortmund were the visitors to the Allianz Arena. From kick-off, FCB didn't give BVB a sniff and ran out 4-0 winners. After another 4-0 victory at Fortuna Düsseldorf, the Reds suffered two painful setbacks, losing 2-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen and away to Borussia Mönchengladbach despite clearly dominating both encounters. The back-to-back defeats saw FCB slip to seventh in the table, and they were seven points behind leaders Gladbach at the start of December.
Festive period brings joy
Yet Bayern fought back again before the winter break and enjoyed a perfect week, starting with a sizzling display in the home clash with Werder Bremen. Philippe Coutinho was the star of the show, scoring a hat-trick in a 6-1 win. Two more history-making matches followed. In the midweek meeting at Freiburg, it looked like Bayern would have to settle for a sobering point until Flick proved his magic touch. Joshua Zirkzee, who had only just come on, netted a winner in stoppage time with his first touch of the ball to score his first Bundesliga goal, before Serge Gnabry made it 3-1 moments later. The same duo struck late again three days later against Wolfsburg. Again Zirkzee came on shortly before the end, and again the Dutchman gave Bayern the lead before Gnabry made sure of the three points. The Reds therefore went into the winter break in third place, just four points off top spot.
Bayern storm back to the top
Since 1 February, Bayern have been back where they belong: right at the top of the table! Following convincing wins over Hertha (4-0) and Schalke (5-0), Flick's side returned to the summit of the Bundesliga with a 3-1 victory at Mainz. A captivating 0-0 draw in the top-of-the-table clash with Leipzig was followed by two important wins at Köln (4-1) and at home to Paderborn (3-2).
Dazzling display at Hoffenheim
Bayern delivered a true exhibition display at Hoffenheim on Matchday 24. The men from Munich were 6-0 up before events off the pitch took centre stage in the 78th minute. The match was delayed because of offensive banners directed towards TSG owner Dietmar Hopp in the block where the Bayern fans were housed. When they resumed, the teams just passed the ball around to each other until full time as a sign. At the end of the game, players and management from Bayern went to the Hoffenheim fans together with the home players as a gesture of solidarity.
Impressive tifo & special shirts against Augsburg
In the final game before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, Bayern managed to extend their lead at the top. On the occasion of the club's 120th birthday, a huge tifo welcomed the team for the home match against Augsburg, while the players also wore a commemorative kit. It ended in a 2-0 win for FCB, who increased their advantage over nearest challengers Dortmund to four points. Now it's about defending that in the weeks ahead.