Bayern quintet repeat glorious treble triumph
It was a historic triumph that FC Bayern celebrated at the Estádio da Luz on Lisbon on Sunday. With victory in the Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain, the Munich side capped off an excellent season, becoming only the second club in history (after Barcelona) to achieve the treble of the league, cup and Champions League for a second time.
Five of the heroes from that treble triumph in 2013 were also part of this season's winning team: Manuel Neuer, David Alaba, Jérôme Boateng, Thomas Müller and Javi Martínez can all celebrate a 'double treble'. *fcbayern.com*takes a look at these five exceptional players and their journey between the two treble seasons.
"Manuel is unique. As a goalkeeper gets older, they by no means get worse. In actual fact, they keep getting better. Manuel can play at a very high level for many more years," said Oliver Kahn in the build-up to the final against PSG. Manuel Neuer had already established his world-class status in 2013 and played a significant role in Bayern's success with a number of top saves. The Germany goalkeeper shone once again in Sunday's final, leading the side as captain, giving them the necessary backing and frustrating PSG's star strikers Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.
David Alaba was still a whippersnapper when Bayern first won the treble but he was already playing at a top level. In 2013, he linked up with Franck Ribéry down the left flank, but this season the 28-year-old has taken on a new role under coach Hansi Flick. Playing at centre-back, he's been marshalling the defence, clearing the ball and displaying his qualities in build-up play. And it's not just his position on the pitch which has changed, but also his role within the squad. "He's not only a truly world-class player but also important off the pitch," said Flick of the Austrian, who has emerged as a real leader this term. Even as Bayern were celebrating at full time against PSG, he showed his class by taking time to console the opposition.
In the 2013 Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, it was Jérôme Boateng who started the move for the winning goal having been a consistent performer at the back throughout the entire campaign. Last year, the 31-year-old had some setbacks but never gave up, fought his way back into the starting line-up and has enjoyed a revival under Flick. "Jérôme shows the quality he has in every game. Together with David in the centre of defence, he gives us a very solid base," praised the Bayern boss. The centre-back was faced with a difficult challenge at the start of the season, but has taken it on and conquered it in peerless fashion – the mark of a true champion!
Similar to Boateng, it was not an easy start to the season for Thomas Müller, but since autumn of last year the born-and-bred Bavarian has been back to his best. Müller has proven that even seven years after the first treble, he's still a vital figure in the team. "Of course I'm pleased that I've been able to show that I don't belong on the scrapheap," Müller admitted after Sunday's final. Müller is symbolic of the whole team's development over the course of the season: "We've made it from the bottom to the top."
Javi Martínez celebrated the treble in his very first season at Bayern. He was regarded by many in 2013 as the missing piece of the jigsaw as he shored up the midfield together with Bastian Schweinsteiger. He's not been a regular starter this season, but that does not diminish his importance to the team. "When he's fit, you can count on him one thousand per cent. He gives the team a certain stability," commented Flick, who values Martínez's qualities. The Spaniard has again been an asset to the team on and off the pitch en route to the treble.
The treble winners were welcomed by Minister-President Markus Söder on their arrival back in Munich, before celebrating with Bayern staff at the Allianz Arena: