Leroy Sane isn’t kidding, Champions League glory is very much a possibility for Bayern Munich both this season and in the future.
Bayern Munich’s year-long pursuit of Leroy Sane has finally ended. The German has signed a five-year contract in a reported €49m transfer from Manchester City. He will begin training next week.
The two-time Premier League winner is accustomed to success and has every reason to expect more at Bayern, who have won the Bundesliga for the last eight seasons in a row. They’ve also collected five DFB-Pokal and German Supercups in the last decade alone. Thus, domestic glory is pretty much guaranteed.
But Sane, who is still just 24 years of age, hasn’t joined the Bavarians for local bragging rights. He already had that at City. No, he’s gunning for the biggest prize available in club football.
“I want to win as many trophies as possible with FC Bayern, and the Champions League is the top priority,” the winger declared on the club’s website.
And why not? The team’s new generation of stars, like Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, and Serge Gnabry, have helped them move clear of Borussia Dortmund again.
BVB may have promising youngsters in Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, but Bayern are the ruling forces in Germany. The outlook looks rosy indeed.
Just when everybody felt Dortmund had finally gained ground on their rivals earlier this season, Bayern responded in emphatic fashion to leave Lucien Favre’s side licking their wounds.
The 30-time German champions could even wrap up the season with a first treble in seven seasons, pending the outcome of their DFB-Pokal and Champions League campaigns.
The Flick effect
Passing on the opportunity to recruit Arsene Wenger or Jose Mourinho as Niko Kovac’s replacement was a bold move on Bayern’s behalf. Electing the Croatian’s assistant, Hansi Flick, instead even more so.
But to his credit, the German has exceeded expectations.
His record this season speaks for itself, with 28 wins and just two defeats in his opening 31 games. Incidentally, the last time Bayern didn’t win under Flick came on February 9 in a goalless draw against RB Leipzig.
Of course, we must point out part of the reason for this was down to the season suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. But 16 wins in a row is still definitely worth bragging about.
It wasn’t a change of personnel that brought back Bayern’s success either; it was Flick and his cunning methods.
The 55-year-old has restored balance into the squad since replacing Kovac in November. The defence, in particular, is far more robust compared to earlier this season. Bayern often conceded too many shots and goals back then. It ultimately led to a 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last October.
But 17 clean sheets have since come Bayern’s way in all competitions, including an average of 0.68 goals conceded-per-game. That far surpasses Kovac’s 1.12 goals conceded during his one-and-a-half-year spell.
A stable central defensive partnership of Jerome Boateng and David Alaba has paid dividends. While Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies look a class act as full-backs.
FC Hollywood are also not so reliant on Robert Lewandowski for goals anymore either. Their midfield is the strongest it’s been for a good few seasons; partly thanks to Joshua Kimmich sticking to a No.6 role.
While the Bundesliga assist king, Thomas Muller, has created an ample amount of opportunities since Flick restored him into the line-up.
Young wingers Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, meanwhile, will likely give Sane some healthy competition for next season.
So all in all, the Reds have every reason to dream of a first Champions League title since 2013. Whether it’s in Lisbon this August or next season doesn’t matter, Bayern Munich are on the right track.
They currently hold a 3-0 aggregate lead over Chelsea in their last-16 tie, with the return leg set for either August 7 or 8.