Since Bayern Munich returned to the top of the Bundesliga on 1 February, debate has raged about who can dethrone the kings of Germany. We seemed to have the most open title race in years, with Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach all joining the battle for the Meisterschaft.
Yet since Bayern went top for the first time in five months, nobody has pushed them off their perch.
RB Leipzig came closest, holding them to a goalless draw after the win over Mainz which saw them go top. Eight teams have since tried to defeat Bayern, with no success whatsoever. Eight challengers, eight straight wins for Die Roten – even Lucien Favre’s Dortmund couldn’t capitalise in last month’s Klassiker.
Bayern travelled to Bayer Leverkusen looking for their ninth win in a row, and their 16th Bundesliga game without defeat. If anyone could derail the Bayern train, it would be Leverkusen, the last team to come to the Allianz Arena and leave with three points. Their momentous 2-1 win in November was the first of FCB’s back to back defeats, and the trigger for their ruthless unbeaten run since.
Bayer looked on track to repeat their feat inside the opening 10 minutes, when Lucas Alario put Die Werkself ahead. Bayern were behind for the first time in six months, Manuel Neuer had conceded his first goal in four hours and the league leaders had work to do.
The hosts seemed to have cracked the code, by pressing Bayern the same way they press others. The early pressure paid off, a huge goal for Bayer and a chance to move into third in the table.
Bayern didn’t get scared. They got mad. Nobody scores against Bayern without regretting it, and they were out to make sure that that would remain the case.
Kingsley Coman was first, picking up Leon Goretzka’s stunning pass to slot the ball past Lucas Hrádecký in style. Goretzka popped up to put Die Roten ahead, with a lovey finish hard into the bottom corner. Serge Gnabry completed the first-half onslaught, lobbing Bayer’s hapless Finnish goalkeeper and giving the visitors a 3-1 lead going into the break.
In the space of 20 minutes, Bayern had gone from facing their first defeat of the year to cruising into a comfortable two-goal lead. They moved into first gear, pushed down on the pedal and punished Bayer for even thinking they could be ahead.
Rampant. Ruthless. Bayern.
Just to add insult to injury, Robert Lewandowski made sure that he wasn’t missing out on the goalscoring action. His header was his 30th goal in the league, and his 44th strike in all competitions this season. This is the fifth straight campaign the Polishman has surpassed 40 goals, a quite stunning achievement.
Bayer’s late consolation meant nothing, but it was a momentous occasion for 17 year old Florian Wirtz, who became the Bundesliga’s youngest goalscorer of all time. It wasn’t to spoil Bayern’s party though, who saw out a 4-2 win.
The story is the same every time Bayern take to the pitch, not to mention the headlines. All the media can do is praise Die Roten, laud their greatness and recognise their place and status in German football, and the world. Bayern have always been a force to be reckoned with, but this squad is one of their best of the century.
Flick’s side have 90 goals for the season, an average of three a game. They haven’t lost in 2020 – a remember that it is now June – and are just two wins away from an eighth straight league title. Whatever your allegiances and views are, you have to admire what Flick has built over the last few months.
16 out of 17 of Bundesliga teams have now fallen victim to Bayern – all but one. Borussia Mönchengladbach could complete an unprecedented double over Die Roten when they meet next Saturday, otherwise granting Bayern the achievement of beating every single team in the league.
Bayern have been unstoppable since the restart, unbeatable since the winter break and undeniably the best in the country all season – and decade, for that matter. What might happen once European football returns in the form of the Champions League is unknown for now, but their killer instinct is being finely honed.
From Dortmund to Düsseldorf, Berlin to Bremen, Leipzig to Leverkusen: nobody in Germany can stop Bayern.