Okay...I am still here...a couple of months without any blog must have been one of my longest periods of absence. Needless to say there were reasons - work, personal things to take care and all...but anyways I am back to one of my passions and I want to dedicate this post to another of my passion - football and specifically Bayern.
Louis Van Gaal has transformed Bayern this year. The team which was till November last year coming to terms with a new style of football finally has started delivering and on the verge of a historic treble. The league is in the bag with the dutch coach and captain lifting the championship trophy ( also known as the salad plate) to the evening sky at Berlin yesterday. Who would have thought about this last November. Not even me one of their most passionate supporters. Bayern were on the verge of being knocked out of the Champions League after 2 back to back defeats to Bordeaux and were languishing mid table in the Bundesliga 9 points of the leaders.
It all happened that magical night in Turin. Just like the sweet click when the lock is opened by its key, the team clicked into place when in the corner and with a true German legacy delivered a sucker punch to steamroll Juventus in front of their crying fans 4-1, sneaking into the last 16 at their expense. The team had come round the corner. In the next 4 months, the world witnessed the will, determination and improvement of one of the powerhouses of club football. Fiorentina pushed Bayern to the brink but Arjen Robben's wonder goal ensure a place in the quarters against mighty United. Not many gave them a chance against United though, one of the best teams on form after Barcelona this year. And it again came to the second turning point of the season.
Trailing 0-1 at home in Munich, Bayern somehow managed to draw level against United. The prospect of the seemingly impossible task away to United loomed large. And with virtually the last kick of the match, Ivica Olic beats Van de Saar to squeeze out a home win. The ghosts of the 1999 champions league final was finally vanquished and a week later, Bayern completed the task losing to United 3-2 but progressing to semis on away goals. Even Sir Alex Feguson could not keep his calm - Typical Germans he said...what a compliment.
Bayern, in the interim had not lost a single league game, were on top of the Bundesliga standings and went on to annihilate Olympique Lyon in the semis. To be honest to the French champions, they clearly looked a deer in front of the headlights. Playing their first semifinal in the champions league, they clearly looked overawed and below par. And to add insult to injury, Bayern started operating like a well oiled machine, with the territorial dominance theory of Van Gaal reaping rich dividends. Schweinsteiger and Van Bommel revelled in the defensive midfield role to screen the defence and start most of the attacks and Ribery and Robben teased opposition defences at will. However, 3 youngsters deserve special mention -Muller who surprised europe this season with his knack of scoring and his physical superiority. At 20, he is a veteran german international in the making. The other youth products, Holger Badstuber and Diego Contento too showed their prodigious talent in defensive roles they were handed out included important games like champions league semis. So it is, Bayern stand poised in front of history making couple of weeks. Whether the dream treble will be achieved is only a guess, but no doubt this season has made all fans proud. Mia san Mia! Und: Mia san Meister!