News : Ninth title of FC Bayern in a row: The Catacomb Master – Sport
The mood in the FC Bayern team bus was not always cheerful this season. It was even a bus trip, which in the meantime highlighted the charged atmosphere that has preoccupied the German record champions more than victories and defeats on the football field in recent weeks and months. “Now shut your mouth!” This is said to have said coach Hansi Flick in a dispute with sports director Hasan Salihamidzic on the bus in the spring, at that time it was already indicated that Flick would say goodbye in the summer, which is now clear.
On this Saturday, however, on the way to the home game against Borussia Mönchengladbach, it didn’t take a lot of imagination to imagine everything a little nicer. RB Leipzig, the last remaining pursuer in the championship who was seven points distant even before the third to last match day, had a hard time in Dortmund, which the Munich probably already noticed on the bus in which they were arriving from their quarantine training camp in Chiemgau. The final phase of the game, which BVB finally won 3-2, was followed by the players as they inspected the arena on their mobile phones.
They probably saw on TV in the catacombs at the latest that they had been established as champions before kick-off, for the ninth time in a row and for the 31st time in the club’s history. And then they proved again why that is so.
“We wanted to show who the real German champions are,” said Manuel Neuer after the 6-0 (4-0) win against Gladbach, which actually looked like a demonstration. There was “a murmur through the cabin” before the game, said Thomas Müller. Everyone was very happy, said Flick. But then only Gladbach was in the “focus”, it is one of his favorite words. For at least one player, there was still a lot going on. “There’s the story with Lewy,” said Müller, “because the team is fully behind it.”
Lewandowski is only one goal missing from the record
When Bayern put on their champions T-shirts with the number “9” after the final whistle, put on their champions caps and sang “Campeones” in the empty stadium, when they were celebrating a championship without fans for the second time, one of them looked special Satisfied with this afternoon: Striker Robert Lewandowski, 32, the world footballer who scored three times against Gladbach and is now only missing one goal until his 40th goal of the season to set Gerd Müller’s record from 1972.
A little more than 100 seconds were played before he appeared freely in the Gladbach penalty area, although that is an almost too harmless phrase for the best striker in the world: appear. He has finally perfected how to move in such a way that his opponents often just look behind him in amazement: When he scored 1-0 in the second minute and even more at 3-0: He hit the short corner with a side pull. And then he scored in the second half with a penalty to make it 5-0.
It was his 39th goal of the season, even though Lewandowski missed four games in April due to a ligament stretch. There was no special plan to stage the striker, Flick had said before the game: “If we play the way we set out to do it, Robert will benefit from it.” And Lewandowski cheered with the expression of great satisfaction about his own goals. But in between he also prepared the 4-0 through Kingsley Coman, instead of looking for a finish himself on the edge of the box. “If you want too much, that doesn’t help either,” he said.
He has scored three goals in one game five times this season. Gerd Müller succeeded six times in 1971/72, who had already scored 40 times after 32 games. Lewandowski was asked what “Bomber” means in Polish in an interview with Sky after the game. Oh, he replied and laughed, you could just call him a bomber, “that fits”.
Gladbach’s coach screams anger at his naive team
The opponent on Saturday, which Lewandowski and his colleagues made look so hopeless, has at least played in the Champions League this season, as a reminder and classification. In Munich, however, the Gladbachers seemed almost pathetically overwhelmed, defended without conviction, saw Bayern running straight across the wings, commented and driven by Müller in the middle, as always. Marco Rose, Gladbach’s coach, screamed in rage at the performance of his players after twenty minutes. Shortly afterwards, Müller made it 2-0.
The dominance of the champions only diminished a little fifteen minutes before the end when substitute defender Tanguy Nianzou was thrown off the pitch because of an emergency brake, which made Flick and Salihamidzic angry as if everything was still at stake. “You are German champions and lead 5-0,” said manager Max Eberl from Gladbacher Bank, “my goodness”. A few minutes later, Sané scored 6-0.
It was a game that again exemplified the distance between FC Bayern and the rest of the league. The people of Munich may have been preoccupied with themselves, with the argument at management level, with the grueling game plan. They were eliminated in the second round of the DFB Cup against Kiel and failed at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals. They conceded an extraordinary number of goals in the league, 40 as of now. But they have such a dominant offensive that it cannot be defended with Bundesliga funds. An offensive that will soon be organized by the new coach Julian Nagelsmann, but whose focus is largely based on Flick’s plan, who has now won seven titles in 18 months.
How is it going to go on with him? Will he be the national coach, as everyone expects? Of course, Flick didn’t want to talk about that on Saturday. He praised everything and everyone again, the club, its “staff” of course, yes, even the cooperation at FC Bayern. He had toasted with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, he said at the press conference. There was champagne.