Bayern look to future glory with 2020 treble in the past

By Nathalia Araujo, dpa

Just like seven years ago Bayern need to put their treble glory in the past in order to reach new goals. Hansi Flick claims motivation will not be a problem in a season the team may face their biggest challenge from the coronavirus rather than the opposition.

Back in 2013 Bayern Munich were at the top of the world after their treble triumph under coach Jupp Heynckes. The plan then was to kick on through superstar boss Pep Guardiola was brought in to lead the path for the Bavarians.

Guardiola indeed kept the status quo by winning the Bundesliga title three times and the German Cup twice, but failed to get close to more Champions League glory.

Now, in 2020, after once again clinching the treble Bayern find themselves in the same position they were in seven years ago. This time, however, the idea is to work with what’s already available.

Hansi Flick was definitely not the strongest bet to take over the squad when Niko Kovac left the club in November 2019. In fact Bayern were eyeing Erik ten Hag, who led Ajax to a fairytale campaign in the 2018-19 Champions League.

But ten Hag would be available only in summer 2020 and Bayern couldn’t wait that long. After a failed attempt to sign former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, the club opted for a home-made option, appointing Flick, back then Kovac’s assistant, as interim coach.

A permanent deal with the German champions was inevitable after 18 wins out of 21 games in all competitions. This was the proof Bayern trusted him for the biggest challenge of the season: finally lifting a Champions League trophy again.

It worked. In an outstanding campaign – that included a 8-2 victory against Barcelona – Bayern were crowned kings of Europe. But, only one month after the triumph, the Champions League and treble glory are already in the past.

“We have reached goals that we wanted to reach. We have also celebrated – but now it is over,” Flick said after bringing the Champions League trophy to the club museum. “Now we have to watch that we are focused on new goals.”

Bayern begin their bid for a ninth successive Bundesliga title at home to Schalke on Friday but face a hectic start to the campaign with continental and domestic Super Cup ties against Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund also scheduled this month.

The season structure is modified due to the coronavirus pandemic meaning Bayern’s players – many of whom will also have international duties – face a daunting burden with little rest.

That could potentially open the door to challengers like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig who have previously fallen short of matching the Bavarian giants over 34 games.

An active transfer window was expected in order to achieve these “new goals”. But so far the club signed only goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel from Schalke, young talent Tanguy Nianzou from Paris Saint-Germain and Germany international star Leroy Sane from Manchester City.

There are still a few weeks left before the transfer window closes, but Bayern don’t seem to be on the run.

Midfielder Thiago and veteran Javi Martinez have been linked with departures but remain with the club for now.

Former club president Uli Hoeness said during German talk show Doppelpass that Bayern will not top Sane’s transfer as they don’t have the pressure to sign new players. He believes the club will look closely at their youth academy.

Seasons immediately after a success such a treble tend to be difficult as seen in 2013-14 with Guardiola. And with seemingly little competition in the league the biggest challenge seems to be how to keep the team going forward.

However, manager, club staff and players believe motivation will not be a problem for Bayern into the new era.

“I don’t think that my team has a problem with motivation,” Flick said. “The players that play at Bayern Munich want success and they want to confirm success.”

“You can see during the training sessions that everyone is really up for it again,” Leon Goretzka said.

“Last season we conquered everything we could, which shows that we are on the right track to win titles. Defending a double is good, but a treble is even better. I don’t have the feeling that we’ve had enough. On the opposite, we see during trainings we are still hungry and that’s the key for more titles.”

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