Mon, 14/08/23, 16:52
Let the games begin
The 12th consecutive title, new stars, and new barriers to be broken. There's another exciting season in store for FC Bayern. To mark the start of the campaign, fcbayern.com takes a look at all the things we can look forward to in the coming season.
Generation Wembley 2.0
Baryssau, Lille, Valencia, London, Turin, Barcelona: this European tour looks somehow familiar, doesn't it? In the 2012/2013 season, FC Bayern passed through these cities on their way to London, where the Champions League final took place. The 2-1 in the final against Borussia Dortmund - unforgettable. Our travel itinerary in the new campaign may still be unknown, but what is known is that the goal is to get to London again. Because on 1 June, the Champions League final will once again take place at Wembley. A good omen! So let's get on the road!
Freund the talent spotter
Christoph Freund will take up his post as the new sporting director at FCB from September. "We're convinced he's the right person to further strengthen the team alongside Thomas Tuchel and technical director Marco Neppe," said CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen. As sporting director at Red Bull Salzburg for many years, Freund discovered players such as Dominik Szoboszlai and Erling Haaland. In Munich, he already knows Dayot Upamecano and Konrad Laimer. Welcome to Säbener Straße number 51.
Kicking off with a classic
Bayern vs. Werder, South vs. North, red vs. green: The season kicks off with a highlight in Bremen on 18 August. After all, Bayern vs Werder is not only a fixture with a long history - no other one has been contested more frequently since the foundation of the Bundesliga - but also one full of special stories. Kutzop's missed penalty, Ribéry's magical Panenka, our current impressive winning streak: Bayern have consistently come out on top in their last 13 league appearances at the Weserstadion. And there are plenty of them to choose from - 57 years after we first travelled to the Weser for a Bundesliga match!
We've looked back at some legendary games against Werder:
Our new defender Minjae Kim isn't nicknamed "Monster" for nothing: Standing at a height of 1.90 metres, the South Korean is immensely strong in the tackle and in the air, and ultra-fast to boot. No professional player in Europe's big five leagues played more forward passes than him in the 2022/23 season. In Serie A, he was most recently named the best defender of 2022/23. We can't wait to see which title(s) he'll win with us.
2,000 games in the Bundesliga
We will be the first club ever to reach this milestone. Out of 1,976 games so far, we've won 1,189, scoring 4,421 goals in the process. In early March 2024, Matchday 24 will mark the occasion: the away game at Freiburg will be our jubilee game. So put the champagne on ice, pull on the retro jersey and keep your fingers crossed that we do a better job than we did on our Bundesliga debut, which we unfortunately lost in 1965. But we've learned how to win since then.
After Bayern's Champions League second leg tie at home against Manchester City (1-1), Thomas Tuchel said that two things had just not been up to scratch: the referee and the pitch. Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do about the first one. But when it comes to the playing surface, the club officials took action: To ensure our players always have the best possible playing conditions, a new hybrid turf has been laid in the Allianz Arena and on the training ground at Säbener Straße. From the coming season, we will train and play on what is currently the best turf system in professional football, which bears the charming name "Mixto". And to ensure that the mixture of synthetic fibres and natural grass is always in perfect condition, Peter Sauer was brought in: one of the best groundsmen in the league.
Our home games in the Champions League are football festivals. We remain unbeaten in the group stage in 34 games, which is a record. And now we can become the second club after Real Madrid to reach a magical milestone: our 100th home win. We're currently on 99, so one more to go before it's time to strike up an old classic: just like Real Madrid once did...!
New dream duo
Our new top stars Pernille Harder and Magdalena Eriksson will greatly enhance the Women's Bundesliga: Her goalscoring instinct, finely honed technique and outstanding understanding of the game make Denmark's Harder, UEFA Women's Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020, one of the best attacking players around. Sweden's Eriksson, who most recently enjoyed great success alongside Harder at Chelsea, excels defensively with her versatility, strong tackling and intelligent positional play. And the fact that both are also outstanding ambassadors for their sport off the pitch only makes us look forward to having them here all the more.
4EVER NR. 1
Manuel Neuer iwill return to the team this season. Obviously, above all, he wants to win more silverware with the club, but he could also set some personal records. If he plays another three games without conceding in the Champions League, he'll become the second goalkeeper after Iker Casillas to record 50 clean sheets with the same side in Europe's premier club competition. If he plays one more DFB Cup game without conceding, he'll equal Oliver Kahn's record (33 clean sheets in the cup). And if he makes 12 more appearances for us, he'll be just the third goalkeeper since 1965 to reach 500 competitive appearances for Bayern - as only Sepp Maier and Kahn have previously managed.
Red ball in white snow
For a whole two and a half months last winter we didn't get to see a single Bayern game because of the World Cup. And with it all the things that make football so enjoyable in winter: sudden snow flurries that cause chaos on the pitch, a ball that finally has the right colour, namely red, and the wonderfully warming effect of an exuberant goal celebration at the Allianz Arena! This season, we'll get to experience all that again, as the only break will come between 20 December and 13 January.
On the way to No. 12
No team in Europe's major leagues has ever won 12 consecutive championships. And even in Gibraltar, where the Lincoln Red Imps had the longest championship-winning run in the top flight of any European country, it ended after 14 titles. So you have to sit back once in a while and appreciate what an unparalleled title run we've had over the last 11 years. But only very briefly, of course. Because the new goal is clear: let's make it a dozen!
A real legend
Thomas Müller is a World Cup winner, two-time Champions League winner, and a 12-time domestic champion. This coming season, he could become the third player to reach the milestone of 100 CL victories - after Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo - and become FC Bayern's record appearance maker in the Bundesliga. With 442 appearances, he's only just trailing Sepp Maier (473). Can Müller knock him off his pedestal? Perhaps. One thing is certain: Both will take it with humour, one way or another.
Our new signings Raphaël Guerreiro and Konrad Laimer will give us more stability. For years, both have played with great consistency at the highest level: Guerreiro provided the most assists in the league (12), while Laimer proved his qualities to us as an opponent in the Leipzig jersey: In the last two league games against us, he covered the most ground of any RB player (around 11.7 km respectively), was convincing as a ferocious ball retriever and proved his dynamism in transitioning. Now they'll both play in red. That's a good thing!
If anyone knows how to win silverware in basketball, it's our new coach Pablo Laso. With Real Madrid, the 55-year-old Spaniard won 22 trophies in 11 years, including the EuroLeague on two occasions. On 29 September, he'll start into the new season with the Bayern basketball team, and on 5 October, the team will take on Alba Berlin at home in a German EuroLeague clash. At the Olympic Park, SAP Garden, the future venue of our basketball players, is being completed. Laso could simultaneously become the architect of a successful team that moves there in 2024. What a wonderful story.
New look to the Arena
Summer break? Not at the Allianz Arena. Immediately following the final home game of last season, preparations began there for the new one. In the Nordkurve, the corners were converted into standing-only sections and the middle blocks into seating-only sections, the main kitchen was extensively renovated, and the FC Bayern dressing room area was doubled in size. There are also innovations in visitor services: The pick-up service, which was successfully trialled last season, is being extended to more kiosks, and exiting the multi-storey car parks is now barrier-free. So we can look forward to an Arena that is well prepared for the season and future highlights such as Euro 2024 and the Champions League final in 2025.
Illustrations: Joe Waldron
This article appears (in German) in the August edition of club members' magazine "51".
We captured FCB's newest signing Harry Kane on camera at Training on Sunday: