Starting streak Champions League FC Bayern

'Lay down a marker' – Bayern's record UCL starting streak

Read article contents
Increase size

When the Champions League anthem rings out around the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, another European journey will begin for FC Bayern. There's great significance attached to this opening match, as Leon Goretzka knows: "It's always extremely important to start well in the Champions League. There aren't that many games in the group stage," urged the 28-year-old. "I think we have a very good group and we want to lay down a marker there, particularly at home with our fans behind us."

You can scroll through Bayern's winning run in Champions League openers here:

19 opening wins in a row in the Champions League

Bayern don't face any old opponents in the first match of this year's competition, though, but rather the English record champions in Manchester United. They say every beginning is difficult, but FCB have made remarkably light work of such assignments in recent years. The German record champions have won each of their last 19 opening games in Europe's premier club competition – a record – and with a phenomenal goal difference of 47-2. They haven't even conceded a single goal in the last 10 games on Matchday 1, scoring 29 themselves.

Roy Makaay
Roy Makaay kickstarted Bayern's starting streak in the Champions League with both goals in a 2-1 win over Celtic.

"Now we're starting and we'll make sure we establish a good position in the group stage in the coming weeks," said Christoph Freund, being slightly more conservative in his expectations for the start of the campaign. The new sporting director will certainly be keen on a continuation of the starting streak, as since it started Bayern have also reached the knockout stage every time. When the Bavarians last lost on Matchday 1 at home to Deportivo La Coruña in 2002, they went on to be knocked out at the group stage for the only time in the club's history – both of those things should be avoided. 

It all started against Celtic

"When you start against probably the toughest opponent in the group, a win is even more important," believes Owen Hargreaves too. The Englishman, who played for both FCB and Man Utd during his career, was also there for the start of Bayern's run in 2003, when the German record champions laboured to a 2-1 win against Celtic thanks to two late goals from Roy Makaay.

Celebration Leroy Sané FC Bayern
As the 'Man of the Match' in the away encounter at Inter Milan last season, Leroy Sané played a key role in extending Bayern's run.

They haven't always been that close, though. Last year, an impressive display by Leroy Sané helped the Reds to a 2-0 opening win at Inter Milan, and in the year before there was a 3-0 victory at FC Barcelona. Other big-name opponents who have felt the force of Bayern's starting qualities include Roma (2010), Manchester City (2014), Benfica (2018) and Atlético Madrid (2020). And although such a run can't go on forever, it certainly whets the appetite for FCB's next Champions League appearance. "It's an evening game, the place will be full. I'm looking forward to it," added Freund.

The interview with Owen Hargreaves:

Related news