After dominating some of the best clubs from all across Europe for nearly an entire year, German super giant Bayern Munich successfully outlasted a flashy Paris Saint-Germain side to win their 6th Champions League final in their illustrious history. Thanks in large part to a wonderful header from Kingsley Coman in the 60th minute as well as an excellent performance from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the reigning Bundesliga champs added yet another trophy to their ever expanding cabinet.
With this victory, the Bavarians pass Barcelona and tie Liverpool for 3rd most UCL titles. The only clubs with more trophies in this legendary competition are AC Milan, who have seven, and Real Madrid, who have 13. At the same time, they also now match Barcelona as one of only two clubs to ever complete multiple trebles in their history, meaning they won their domestic league, nation’s top cup tournament, and the continental competition over one season.
The idea that Bayern would’ve been in this situation to begin with would’ve been absolutely foreign 9-10 months ago. Back in November, the club was sitting in a less than stellar fourth place in their league, and were destined to crash out of the UCL in the early knockout rounds. They had fired their highly touted manager, Nico Kovac, and had replaced him with longtime German National Team assistant coach and former Bayern midfielder Hansi Flick. There was little fanfare with this move, particularly after it was reported that he was only there on an interim basis. Rumors started to swirl around some of the best out-of-work gaffers at the time to determine who would actually take charge in Bavaria.
But to the surprise of many inside the Allianz Arena, Flick ended up being the perfect man for one of the hardest jobs in world sports. He quickly righted the ship by incorporating many of the tactics that had worked for Bayern in past years. He brought Thomas Müller back into a more important role, and showed his trust in some other guys who would end up being key contributors, including Canadian left back Alphonso Davies, Arsenal reject Serge Gnabry, and former Liverpool standout Phil Coutinho.
Thanks to these and many more changes, Bayern not only retook their appropriate place back at the top of the Bundesliga, but they also started to ravage teams in the Champions League. They finished the group stage with a maximum 18 points over six matches which included a 7-2 goal fest over defending UCL finalists Tottenham and a 6-0 dredging over a scrappy Red Star in Belgrade.
Their domination continued in the knockout rounds as they first made mince meat of Chelsea in the Round of 16 in which they only allowed one goal over two contests, then they erupted for EIGHT goals against a lowly Barcelona team in the quarters, and then easily dispatched a fiery Lyon club 3-0.
And with this dominating 1-0 victory over French giant Paris Saint-Germain, this year’s Bayern Munich side take their deserved place beside some of the great European clubs of the past decade.
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Featured Image Credit – Matthew Childs/Pool via AP