Champions League 2015/16 profiles: Bayern Munich
Pep Guardiola remained in charge of Bayern Munich this summer despite heated speculation surrounding his managerial future, and the Spaniard will look to overturn previous blips in Europe, with his Bavarians 9/2 with Coral to lift the Champions League this term.
Munich have been eliminated in the semi-final for two consecutive campaigns in Europe’s elite club competition, first being humiliated by Real Madrid, then being outgunned by Guardiola’s former side Barcelona last season. Though they face a tough test against Arsenal, Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb in Group F.
Domestic league: Bundesliga
How they qualified: The dominant Germans rallied to their record 25th domestic league crown last season, a third successive Bundesliga title, seeing off a late charge from closest challengers Wolfsburg to emerge victorious once again with a 10-point gap.
Best Champions League era performance: Before Guardiola took charge of the country’s most successful team, Munich were led to an incredible treble-triumphing term under former boss Jupp Heynckes.
The veteran coach bowed out of the sport on a massive high, retiring after securing the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal titles in a historic 2012/13 campaign.
Coach: Guardiola has guided his men to dominant league title victories in both of his seasons in charge, since arriving from the Nou Camp, but his early European mishaps will have hurt the driven Spanish boss.
Having guided Barcelona to Champions League victory in 2009 and 2011, arguably the greatest club side ever, as well as winning the competition as a player with his former club, Guardiola will be determined to make amends this season with Bayern.
Ins and outs: In a bid to finally conquer Europe, Guardiola saw plenty of new arrivals this summer, with Chile’s Copa America winner Arturo Vidal coming in from Serie A champions Juventus, along with Douglas Costa sealing a switch from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Promising wideman Kingsley Coman was another transfer coup, with the Juventus-owned attacker agreeing a surprising two-year loan deal, with an option to make his move permanent in 2017.
Familiar faces: Former Liverpool playmaker Xabi Alonso continues to take his place in the heart of Bayern’s midfield ranks, while Arjen Robben aims to add another European crown to his list of silverware success which has grown endlessly since his days with Chelsea.
Key player: Poland international hitman Robert Lewandowski was linked with a big-money switch away from the Allianz Arena this summer, but the Bundesliga poacher remained in Germany and has begun brightly this term.
The prolific Pole has already been in fine goalscoring form domestically and will undoubtedly need to play a starring role this term if Bayern are to challenge in Europe once again.
Ones to watch: Coman was a surprising capture from Italy and the teenage sensation should offer Guardiola an alternative to fellow wingers Frank Ribery and Robben, while Brazilian forward Costa could prove to one of the club’s most impressive signings.
Emerging talent: After being involved in the Bundesliga squad from the beginning of the current campaign, after signing from Stuttgart this summer, Germany Under-21 international starlet Joshua Kimmich is a talented midfielder to look out for.
CL group and fixtures:
v Olympiacos (Away), September 16th
v Dinamo (Home), September 29th
v Arsenal (Away), October 20th
v Arsenal (Away), November 4th
v Olympiacos (Home), November 24th
v Dinamo (Away), December 9th