Bayern Munich are the most successful side in German football history and it looks as though they are set to add yet another Bundesliga crown to the trophy room at the Allianz Arena. Pep Guardiola’s men are five points ahead of nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund with six matches to go and it will take a minor miracle for the Bavarians to let their current advantage slip.
And with the Bundesliga title all but won, Bayern must focus on winning the Champions League crown this season. At the end of the campaign, Guardiola will leave his post at the Allianz Arena to become the Manchester City manager and in a way, his time at Bayern has been a bit of a damp squib. Yes, they have won the Bundesliga title in each of the last two years but Bayern have failed to win the Champions League during Guardiola’s tenure.
Since Bayern won the competition in Jupp Heynckes’ last season at the club, Guardiola has led the Bavarian giants to back-to-back Champions League semi-finals but that isn’t enough. The Bavarians should be winning Europe’s elite club competition or at least reaching the final on a consistent basis. Ultimately, Bayern have fallen short at the vital moment in the competition and Guardiola’s legacy at the Allianz Arena will be haunted by this unless they lift the trophy this season.
In the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Benfica, Bayern earned a 1-0 victory to give themselves a great chance of advancing to the semi-finals. While the tie is still well balanced, an away goal for Guardiola’s side will more or less secure their progress to the next round. However, they cannot afford to take Benfica for granted or they will risk an embarrassing defeat in Europe once again.
For now, Bayern must remain focused on each game as it comes – starting with the trip to Stuttgart on Saturday. Stuttgart are not a bad side and Bayern will need to be at their very best to avoid a potential shock.
Guardiola is desperate to give the Bayern fans a European title and it would be foolish to dismiss the Bavarians, especially as they are on the cusp of reaching the semi-finals. But with a potential draw against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain awaiting, it won’t be easy. Bayern have the talent to win the competition but they will need some luck along the way as well.
Last season, Bayern’s European misery coincided with early celebrations in the Bundesliga. But with the German title still up for grabs mathematically, there is no excuse for the Bavarians to take their foot off the gas. And with Guardiola looking to depart on the best of terms, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Bayern go all the way to the Champions League final this season. And they might even win it…