Football

'Six-pack' Bayern return for show of muscle in Bundesliga

Bayern Munich won their sixth trophy in eight months when they claimed the Club World Cup.
Bayern Munich won their sixth trophy in eight months when they claimed the Club World Cup. Reuters

Bayern Munich return to domestic action on Monday night three days after beating Tigres UANL to lift the Club World Cup and their sixth trophy in eight months.

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Bayern entertain Arminia Bielefeld at the Allianz Arena knowing victory will take them seven points clear of RB Leipzig in the hunt for a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title.

"The Bundesliga is the foundation for all that we do,” said Bayern boss Hansi Flick on the eve of the match. “It’s the basis for winning the Champions League and then from that we can play in the Club World Cup. The Bundesliga is extremely important for us. We want to win all of our games."

Bayern emulated Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side of 2009 with their triumph at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan on 11 February. 

The Catalans, boasting Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Carlos Puyol and Andres Iniesta won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and the Club World Cup.

Bayern’s trophy haul started in June 2020 soon after the Bundesliga returned from the government imposed lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

They sealed the title and then completed a domestic double with a 4-2 rout of Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal final.

In August they travelled to Portugal for the reconfigured Champions League. They mashed up Barcelona 8-2 in the last eight, swept past Lyon 3-0 in the semis and edged out Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final.

The European Super Cup and the German Super Cup followed in the autumn before the success in Qatar at the Club World Cup.

Work

“Of course the effort has taken it out of us in the last days and weeks,” added Flick.

“But this is what we’ve worked for. We wanted to win six trophies and we’ve done that so I would like to praise everyone … the players and the coaching staff … everybody. It has been outstanding but we must go on. The team doesn’t have the time to sit down to relax and contemplate.”

After Bielefeld on Monday night, Bayern travel to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday for the 22nd game of the Bundesliga season.

On 23 February, Flick’s men play at Lazio in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

“We have to show the right mentality against Bielefeld,” said Flick. “We have to show we want to win this game."

Bayern will be without star forward Thomas Mueller. The 31-year-old was diagnosed with the coronavirus while in Qatar.

Serge Gnabry and Jérôme Boateng are also doubtful for the game. “We’ll have to make some changes,” said Flick. “But the team has the quality to overcome Bielefeld in the Bundesliga,” 

Uwe Neuhaus, Flick’s Bielefeld counterpart, will parade new signings Masaya Okugawa and Michel Vlap who were drafted in from RB Salzburg and Anderlecht respectively.

“It’s clear who the favourites are,” said Neuhaus, whose side lie …in the Bundesliga. “Everyone knows that you can beat Bayern or get a point. It comes down to believing that every second. “

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