Against Arsenal, Bayern brilliantly got their ticket to the Champions League quarter finals, showing both obvious and pretty shocking lack of respect to Gunners they just trampled them for 180 minutes straight. Being a favourite to the final victory pretty much every year, Bayern now waits quietly for another team to traumatise in the Champions League. Or perhaps it's a matter of revenge this time, as Real Madrid now await them in the last 8. Here's a quick presentation of Bayern Munich's...
Their collective strength
With a maestro like Carlo Ancelotti on the bench, Bayern has a coach that matches the club's philosophy. The institution lies on great values and the squad is being built for a long time now, only getting smart additions to the team and always thinking about the club as a whole.
And it shows on the pitch: Bayern are very strong as a team, they pull very solid performances, always attacking and defending as one. Not only are they the only team in the Champions League this season to average 60%+ possession (64%), they're the very best defence in European top 5 leagues (13 goals conceded only in 24 league games), the 3rd biggest goal difference (+41, only behind Monaco and Barcelona).
Although ripped off by Barcelona a couple of years ago, Bayern's defence remains one of the strongest in world football right now.
They struggled to go past semi-finals these past few years
The past three years have seen Bayern Munich stumble over the semi-finals of the Champions League, beaten by Real Madrid in 2014, by Barcelona in 2015 and by Atlético Madrid in 2016.
Although it could seem insignificant, those kind of stuff can mean a great deal psychologically for players when the moment comes to play the big games.
When they destroyed Arsenal with back-to-back 5-1 victories to make it an aggregate 10-2 scoreline, Bayern made history twice. First, this was the worst defeat by an English club in the history of the Champions League. Second, this was the second biggest knockout win in Champions League history.
But no frustration, because the interesting thing here is that they also hold this record, with a 12-1 aggregate victory over Sporting CP in 2009 (5-0 ; 7-1).
Bayern have won their last five games in all competitions, making small work of any team that dared face them, scoring 22 goals and conceding only one. Overall, Bayern hasn't lost a single game since November 23rd, and back-to-back defeats against Dortmund (1-0) and Rostov (3-2).
Since that Rostov defeat, more than three months ago, they have played 21 games, winning 19 and drawing 2. Crazy.
With the third most all-time victories in the Champions League, Bayern are also the only team with Real Madrid and Ajax to have won three European Cups in a row. That was in 1974, 1975 and 1976, and the team was lead by the legends Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Uli Hoeness back then.
But Bayern are also one of the most "unlucky" teams in European history, with as many lost finals as won. In 1982 against Aston Villa, in 1987 against FC Porto, in 1999 against Manchester United, in 2010 against Inter Milan and in 2012 against Chelsea, Bayern ended up being the unhappy finalist.
Bought by Pep Guardiola when he arrived in Munich, Thiago Alcantara is probably one of the most underrated players in world football right now. And although many believed he would follow Pep to Manchester City, he decided to stay in Bayern and to confirm he's now a key player to the Bavarian side.
His impact on Bayern's game is not really to be seen in stats (6 goals, 5 assists so far), his influence on the pitch goes way beyond pure statistics: it's his vision, his intelligence, his sense of passing that make a difference. A true
maestro to lead that team to victory.