A win is a win is a win…
but is a win enough?
The Niko Kovač-led Bayern Munich squad in 2018–we’ll wait and see who the club’s coach is in the spring and fall of 2019–has received understandable pressure from the press and fans alike after a subpar beginning to the 2018/2019 campaign. Sitting at 21 points after 12 matches, which is nine-points out of first-place to heated domestic rival Borussia Dortmund, the Bavarian giants have showcased uncharacteristic weakness and lack of comprehensive identity.
It’s just not good enough.
So what better time (and competition) than the Champions League match against the visiting Portuguese side Benfica to reassert its dominance for 90 minutes?
Ladies and gentlemen, when you score off a short corner–a kiss of death for scoring 99.99% of the time–then you know the game is going your way.
A brace (2 goals) for the ageless #10 Arjen Robben and relentless #9 Robert Lewandowski led the Bavarians to an emphatic 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena. The Frenchman #7 Franck Ribéry added a laser of a goal in the 76′ for good measure.
Bayern Munich has proven that a win is, in fact, a win. However, is this one win enough to get Mr. Kovač off the hot seat?
Will the remainder of the 2018/2019 season be slowed down to analyzing this Bayern Munich squad, as managed by the enigmatic Niko Kovač, with a tirelessly critical eye on a game-by-game basis?
Welcome to FC Hollywood, Mr. Kovač.
P.S. Regardless of what the Bayern Munich business leaders are saying to the press regarding their coach’s job security, accomplished manager Carlo Ancelotti can attest that it’s the Bayern Munich locker room that will ultimately decide their manager’s fate.
Two European and global footballing giants will battle tomorrow night (2:45 p.m. ET in the U.S.) in Germany:
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
In last year’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal brace, Real Madrid toppled then Pep Guardiola’s final squad in Munich 2-1 and then 4-2. Cristiano Ronaldo & Co.—coached by former star player and current star manager Zinedine Zidane—took down the German leaders with an exclamation point on their way to their second Champions League crown in a row.
But now it’s 2018.
And the Bayern Munich treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes is on the sidelines once more. Since returning last fall, Mr. Heynckes has reinvigorated Bayern Munich into a formidable force after a disastrous spell with Carlo Ancelotti. Perhaps he can guide the Bundesliga champions to another treble? That’s what he was hired to do, after all. He didn’t leave retirement for a place in the Champions League semifinals.
This highly-anticipated matchup is set for tomorrow, which promises to be a showcase of world-class talent on both sides of the pitch.
Real Madrid is pursuing a new Champions League treble of sorts, while Bayern Munich is looking to return to their past treble-winning way.
Lionel Messi and Barcelona did not earn their way into the final four of the UEFA Champions League after a shocking 3-nil defeat against Roma that sent Roma to the semifinals based on away goals. Whoa.
“Of course that was a warning,” Robben told reporters. “It shows that everything can happen in football.”
And you thought college basketball had a monopoly on madness this time of year.
Soccer is the world’s game and one of this sport’s eternal truths is that anything can happen. The biggest clubs can dominate or stumble in spectacular fashion (see above). That’s part of soccer’s beauty. Another part of this sport’s amazing DNA is that–if approached with hard work, tact, talent, and patience–teams can set themselves up to peak at exactly the right time.
Enter the 2017/2018 Bayern Munich squad.
(Click “Watch this video on YouTube” and then return back to Jimmy’s Daily Planet to finish the article!)
Will Bayern Munich win the Champions League en route to another treble under the management of world-class coach Jupp Heynckes? We’ll see soon.
Most pundits have been critical of Bayern Munich this season outside the Bundesliga. Fair points have been made here and there, I suppose. Still, they’ve been tagged–as a result of a few less than stellar/perfect performances–with an underdog tag for the Champions League.
Well, those same “experts” may want to review the tape and “underdog” roster of Bayern Munich one more time…
because Liverpool, Roma, and Real Madrid certainly are.
The draw for the semifinal matchups is this Friday. Stay tuned to Jimmy’s Daily Planet for the must-see fixtures.
P.S. Bayern Munich has dominated the Bundesliga and has qualified for the UEFA Champions League semifinal without Manuel Neuer. Or, in other words, the world’s best goalkeeper. How many other clubs could do that? Just saying.