Pre-Season Preview: Bayern Munich
The Bundesliga’s reigning champions and last year’s Champions League finalists will be raring to go this season after experiencing so much success under Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal last term. The Dutch tactician has made clear that he will not be at the Allianz Arena for much longer as he feels he is ready to take charge of a national side and try his hand at World Cup glory, so this season or next may be the end of a great vein of success for Die Roten.
Down the wings, Bayern Munich are absolutely deadly. With the pace and skill of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, who have been nicknamed ‘Robbery’ in Germany by Die Roten fans, Bayern Munich have the ability to unlock any defense in the Bundesliga and all of Europe as well. But now, maybe more than ever, Bayern Munich possess a fantastic threat down the middle of the park as well. German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger seemed to fully blossom into the player we all knew he could be in 2006. His dynamism, his endless energy, his ability to both win the ball and orchestrate attacks, and his fierce leadership will prove vital for Bayern Munich this season. Schweinsteiger, though, isn’t the only young player who will attack the center of the opposition defense this season.
Another young German player who excelled at the World Cup and also walked away with the Young Player of the Tournament award and the Golden Boot award at the World Cup will be looking to continue his success with Bayern Munich this season. Thomas Mueller’s ability to finish chances and create so many as well is a huge feat for a player who is only 19 years old. The boy looked absolutely unplayable in the World Cup, especially against England, and he looks set to explode this season with his club. He will tear teams apart if he gets his chance under Van Gaal at Munich this year.
Young attacking midfielder Toni Kroos has also returned from a very successful loan-spell at Bayer Leverkusen, where he scored 10 goals in 43 appearances, as well as being pivotal in any and all attacking moves. His return will bolster Bayern Munich’s attacking potential, and he will add the skill and thrill of a trequartista to the side, should he get the chance to play.
Bayern Munich, season through season, expect to be number 1. This season will be no different for the current Bundesliga champions. Their team, at least on paper, is by far superior to any other Bundesliga side. They easily have one of the best sides in Europe, if last year’s Champions League run is anything to go by. Louis Van Gaal will be expected to dominate once more on a domestic level, and again push for European glory. Anything short of that will certainly be a disappointment to Die Roten fans and to the heavy-handed Bayern Munich board of directors.