11 things we can look forward to in the 2022/23 season
© Illustrations: Joe Waldron
Exciting new players, more records to be broken and an event being staged at the Allianz Arena for the first time. Here are 11 things we can look forward to in the 2022/23 season.
1. More high speed
In Sadio Mané, Bayern now have one of the most complete modern attackers playing for them. Dribbling, strength, skill - he's got it all. His pace tops the lot, though. His official highest speed was measured at 34.84 km/h. Seeing him together with Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sané will be a spectacle that's the envy of football fans all over Europe.
2. DFB Cup
After two consecutive second-round exits in the cup, it's time to have a proper crack at this competition again. After all, defeats just make us hungrier for success. Viktoria Köln, our opponents in the first round, better be ready! If we do make it all the way to Berlin, it would be a ninth cup final for Thomas Müller, which would see him move above Franck Ribéry as the outright record holder. Although of course, that's a long way off.
3. Warm-weather football
This is the earliest start to the campaign since 2011, and then because of the World Cup in Qatar, there's a two-month winter break starting in November. For fans, that means more home matches in shorts and t-shirts and fewer in woolly socks and raincoats.
4. Elite basketball
The FC Bayern basketball team have been narrowly beaten in the quarter-finals of the EuroLeague in each of the last two years, most recently by a score of 72-81 in a dramatic 'best of five' decider against FC Barcelona, two-time winners of Europe's biggest club competition. The next step this season would be the Final Four. Coach Andrea Trinchieri's team certainly deserve to play on the big stage, and if we look across the club's sports, there are good omens: when the Bayern footballers were knocked out by Barca in the 2008/09 Champions League, they reached the final the following season. So, let's cheer on our basketball boys!
5. Return of Oktoberfest football
After a two-year hiatus due to coronavirus, Oktoberfest is taking place again this year. Finally back to lifting beer mugs, swaying and hugging each other! Finally back in the Wiesn jersey in the stadium and marquee! And finally players in lederhosen again!
6. Traditional fixtures
FC Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen are back in the top flight after one year in Bundesliga 2. They bounced back from their tearful relegations, learned the right lessons and are now back where they belong in the Bundesliga. That's something to celebrate, as there's nothing better than going up against the old rivals. Aside from Hamburger SV, every club in the top 10 in the all-time Bundesliga table is represented this season. You could hardly ask for more tradition. On the subject of the all-time table, if Bayern manage to collect 76 points this term - as they have done for the last 10 years - we would reach a total of 4,000 points. Put the champagne on ice already!
7. First Brazilian woman
Giovane Élber, Paulo Sérgio, Lúcio - FCB's footballing history features some great Brazilian players (and a legendary shirt from the 1980s). In total, 13 Brazilians have worn the FCB jersey. For the men's team, that is. But from this season, Tainara de Souza da Silva is with us after joining from Bordeaux. And the 23-year-old defender is not the only exciting new face who'll be adding more international shine to FC Bayern Women. Coach Alexander Straus (Norway) as well as players Emelyne Laurent (France), Georgia Stanway (England) and Emilie Bragstad (Norway) have also arrived.
8. Total football
With Matthijs de Ligt, Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui, the Bavarians have recruited no fewer than three players who came through the illustrious Ajax academy. Under Erik ten Hag, they played a brand of football that Johan Cruyff would've been proud of, characterised by possession, short passing, rotating positions and switching of play. These are all elements that will help us to be even more dominant and controlled in our play.
9. The NFL in Munich
On 13 November, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Seattle Seahawks at the Allianz Arena in the first ever regular National Football League game at a German stadium. Preparations for the event at our home ground are already well under way. There will have to be some temporary modifications due to the differences between American football and football - not least the fact that an NFL squad can contain up to 46 players. And the goal looks a little different, too.
10. Müller's next record
Thomas Müller will in all likelihood become the player with the second most competitive appearances for FC Bayern Munich this season. He's seven games away from 633 and overtaking Oliver Kahn. If the 'Müller always plays' principle continues to apply - and there's no reason it shouldn't - the 32-year-old could reach that milestone on 3 September against Union Berlin. An achievement that can't be praised enough, and a reason to celebrate!
11. The 11th league title
There's no denying that some of our rivals have strengthened significantly in the summer and will be doing everything they can to stop us finishing the season in first place once again, which of course is precisely our target. And we'll be giving our all week in, week out to do that - on the pitch, in the dugout and in the stands (the same obviously applies to the Champions League too!). Always keep going, as Kahn famously said. We already claimed the record for the most domestic championships in a row in Europe's top five leagues with the 10th consecutive title last season, although the record holders among all European champions are currently Skonto Riga from Latvia and Lincoln Red Imps FC from Gibraltar, who've both won their national leagues 14 times on the trot. That's the target for summer 2026 - we can do it!
In an interview, Sadio Mané explains why he doesn't feel like a global star, what his values are and why he already has a pair of lederhosen: