By Oliver Trust
Celebrations after Bayern Munich’s Champions League victory have come to an end, with coach Hansi Flick and his squad starting their well-deserved holidays.
While Flick promised not to think about his team’s future whilst enjoying his break, many see the Bavarian side on the cusp of a golden era.
UEFA’s newly-released club ranking list shows the 2020 treble winners as Europe’s new number one (136) ahead of Real Madrid (134) and Barcelona (128). Finalists Paris Saint-Germain find themselves eighth (113).
Can Bayern now follow the example of Spanish giants Real Madrid, who won the competition three times in a row between 2016 and 2018?
Several pundits are confident Bayern can.
2005 Champions League winner Dietmar Hamann is convinced there will be a sea change in European football.
“Real is struggling, Barcelona seems in a crisis, Ronaldo at Juve is possibly approaching the end of his career. From my perspective, only Liverpool remains a serious rival for Bayern,” the former Bayern and Liverpool performer said.
Hamann also mentioned fellow Premier League side Chelsea as “a case we need to take a look at as they are developing a promising young team.”
Two-time Champions League-winning coach Ottmar Hitzfeld is another to assume that Bayern’s victory marks the starting point for a golden decade.
Hitzfeld mentions Bayern’s successful rejuvenation of its squad after the era of dominant figures such as 2013 treble winners Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. “Their transfer policy was key, next to Hansi Flick’s influence,” the 71-year-old commented.
Most of Bayern’s emerging generation is between 19 and 25 years old.
Awaiting the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka, Niklas Sule and Benjamin Pavard appear to be successful years, with former Man City star Leroy Sane joining for the upcoming season.
Even older players such as Thomas Muller (30), Robert Lewandowski (32), Manuel Neuer (34), Jerome Boateng (31) and David Alaba (28) seemingly haven’t reached the final stages of their careers.
Apart from the likely departures of Thiago Alcantara, Philippe Coutinho and Javi Martinez, 90 percent of the current squad will stay.
Bayern needs to preserve its hunger and fill the gaps, pundits said, as reliable substitutes have been one of the team’s advantages. Flick is demanding more new faces in addition to 18-year-old PSG starlet Tanguy Nianzou, Sane and Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel.
Liverpool have kept their squad together and this year appeared more robust than in 2019 when they took the Champions League title. One year later, the Reds fulfilled their fans’ dream of winning England’s top league for the first time in 30 years.
“This squad is never satisfied. They always want more and intend to improve. This attitude makes them that successful,” Bayern’s designated chairman Oliver Kahn stated.
Bayern, he is convinced, have reached an important goal in 2020, but haven’t come to the end of their successful journey yet.