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Bundesliga: Reviewing Bayern Munich’s 2017 Autumn Campaign

Bayern Munich
MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 20: Players of Bayern Munich celebrate after winning the German Cup (DFB Pokal) soccer match against Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena on December 20, 2017, in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kolbert/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

For the most part, the best team in German club football decades on in Fussball-Club Bayern Munich of Munich, Bavaria acquitted itself in terms of results. But a managerial sacking as a result of a rare dry spell meant that despite finishing the first half of the 2017-18 Bundesliga season in first, it struggled to be convincing in delivering the right results to please the fans who believe in the unique mystique of #MiaSanMia.

Through 17 of 34 matches in the Federal Republic’s top flight, Bayern record 13 victories, two draws and two defeats. Despite having the second best attack in the competition (their rebounding rivals, third place Borussia Dortmund—who also replaced their manager with Peter Stoger—have 39 goals forwarded), their defense remains the gold standard with 11 goals conceded for the best goal differential in +26, 11 better than the next best GD in—you guessed it—Dortmund.

Jupp Heynckes is to Bayern Munich as Bill Snyder is to Kansas State college gridiron. Without its master tactician blessed with the time-honored magic touch that puts the Mia in #MiaSanMea, Bayern are a fleet without an Admiral, a tribe without a chief, an army without a warlord.

Ever since Heynckes began his second stint with the Bavarians, Bayern Munich only lost one game, a 2-1 shock loss away to Borussia Monchengladbach which was followed by a current win streak of six across all competitions, including a 3-1 win at home over Paris Saint-Germain, who 3-0 away defeat marked the end of the Carlo Ancelotti era. The main finisher for Bayern, Robert Lewandowski, has 15 goals this season in the Bundesliga and oversaw Poland qualifying for the FIFA World Cup next year. Sven Ulreich has risen to be one of the best goalkeepers in Germany after filling in for the injured Manuel Neuer. And James Rodriguez’s loan from Real Madrid is paying dividends in spades. Thomas Mueller has done his part, too, as has Mats Hummels.

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But the straw that stirs the drink for Die Bayern, however, is its young French tandem of Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso. Tolisso in particular will be an important player for Bayern moving forward as the form of the former Olympique Lyonnais man against Paris could translate into a big-time payout when they face Turkey’s champions, Besiktas Jimnastik Kulübü of Istanbul, in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

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On the transfer side of matters for the best team in German club football, Yannick Carrasco has been rumoured to fall in with the club after Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has signalled the brains trust to give Carrasco the Freo Heave Ho. At 31 years of age, Bayern’s Arturo Vidal is not the player Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is looking for, but as they are losing ground in the farcicaL one-team Premier League race to Manchester City, Conte could be enticed to give this Chilean a shot.

The form of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim forward Sandro Wagner could result in a big career break in 2018. A €12 million contract being tabled for the upcoming window will add more power and muscle to its reloading attack force. As for James, his own form has meant that Bayern could be buying him away from the Bernabeu in a big-time bagging, if the player’s bullish thought is to be believed. Finally, Franck Ribery, a longtime servant with the club, has some financial litigation to sort off after a dispute with former agent Bruno Heiderscheild went sour like poorly made creme fraiche.

Thus, heading into January, Bayern Munich are primed to go on a deep run domestically and internationally. Their win over Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal, as well as their DFL-Supercup win at the start of the year is a sign that more of the same will be maintained under Heynckes. But if it is to challenge Real and Barcelona and Man City (and yes, even PSG), its attack must get good, or Die Bayern, tragically, will get wrecked.

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