“We’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen” is a well-known chant sung by football fans throughout the world. Irrespective of the wider landscape a football club finds itself in, top-notch performances through a ninety-minute period (or even less) elicit these chants that show admiration by adoration.
Which makes it all the more poignant when sung by fans of Fussball Club Bayern Munich.
Fans of the German club have more reason than ever to scream uber alles in der Welt than other clubs throughout Europe and the rest of the world because not only are their club fussballmeister this season, they are also rekordmeister.
If winning a record 23rd Bundesliga title wasn’t enough, the Bavarian club have ensured they rewrite their names in the record books one more time. This season, the German giants have broken several records - many set by them – en route to their title triumph.
On the 20th of October, 2012, Bayern Munich became the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to win their opening eight games of the German domestic league when they dissected Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0 away from home.
On the 3rd of March this year, they faced TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on the road and won 1-0. A Mario Gomez strike ensured all three points for the Bavarians as they kept a clean-sheet of special significance. That shut-out at the Rhein-Neckar Arena meant that Bayern had gone 584 minutes without conceding a goal, overshadowing FC Koln’s record of 565 minutes which had been clocked in 2009-10.
But if there were just one goal that I would fondly remember from this season’s Bundesliga, it would have to be Bastian Schweinsteiger’s goal at Frankfurt that did ultimately give them their 23rd German championship.
In doing so, Bayern broke yet another record by winning the title with six games to spare, beating their own previous record by two matches.
It was also apt that ‘Schweini’ was the one who scored that goal. It was he who stroked home the decisive penalty away at Real Madrid last season to ensure the Germans would leave the Santiago Bernabeu with a chance to win the UEFA Champions League in their own back yard. Doing so would have ensured Bayern yet another record.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. As the midfielder’s stutter-step penalty thudded against Petr Cech’s upright and Didier Drogba made no mistake with his spot kick, Schweinsteiger tried to escape from what had just happened by pulling his shirt over his head by hoping that all that had just been a rather horrid dream.
That goal against Eintracht Frankfurt was a symbol of how much winning has meant to Bayern. Arjen Robben’s releasing of Philip Lahm down the right for the captain to drill a low cross towards goal for Schweinsteiger – who has been at Munich since he was nine – to flick home the winner was a sign of how he had purged the agony of defeat after two years of being nearly there had heralded the end of Bayern running their Bundesliga gauntlet.
But the records don’t stop there. Bayern also eclipsed their own achievements set by the class of 1972-73 by establishing a goal difference of +66. That 1970s team had a differential of +64. In addition, their 4-0 stroll over Bavarian rivals Nurnberg at home saw them score more goals this season (83) than Borussia Dortmund did last season (80): yet another record.
In addition, die Roten have conceded just thirteen goals, which could well go on to be a record at the end of the season and have won thirteen away games – the previous best being eleven – and could go on to extend that record come the end of the season.
Last season, Dortmund equalled the record set by that Bayern team of the 70s by chalking up 25 league wins. Bayern have racked up as many this season and with five games remaining, will surely remind Germany who is top dog if (mostly likely when) they win their remaining games.
And after two years of languishing in second place and being on the receiving end of a runners-up medal – never an acceptable norm at the Allianz Arena – Bayern are not quite done with their records.
Bayern are through to the semi-finals of this year’s DFB Pokal and a win against Wolfsburg at the Allianz should send them through to the final. In addition, they have swept aside all opposition in the UEFA Champions League, the most recent recipient of their assault being Italian side Juventus.
Should Bayern collect cup honours at both domestic and continental level, they would set yet another record by accomplishing a treble which contains European honours.
With Jupp Heynckes leaving in the summer, while he has done enough to warrant an entry to the annals of history at the Werner Heisenberg Alley, he has in front of him the opportunity to accomplish that which has never been done before by winning the two remaining trophies Bayern are competing for, an act that will surely leave future generations waxing lyrical about the man for years to come.
The conquest of the league means he now has a second opportunity to achieve something he came a hair’s breadth to accomplishing last year. Winning the Champions League at the Allianz Arena would have meant establishing one record.
Winning it this year would mean establishing a far greater one.