Bayern Munich: More than just another title required | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.08.2016
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Bayern Munich: More than just another title required

A new man is in charge but the same expectations apply. Bayern Munich won a historic fourth-consecutive Bundesliga title last season but the lure of Champions League success has the potential to prevent a fifth.

Bayern Munich's run of four consecutive Bundesliga wins is not just another statistic in the club's bulging record book, it is the maifestation of a collection of players that have been the most dominant force in German footballing history.

For evidence of their recent superiority, it's not neccessary to look more than a place below them in last season's table. Borussia Dortmund finished with the most points of any second place Bundesliga team in history but still lagged ten points behind Bayern. That was the smallest points gap any club has been able to manufacture in the last four campaigns.

However, the relentlessness of the Bavarians in the league appears to have impacted success in Europe. Bayern haven't reached a Champions League final since winning the competition in 2013. They've now hired a coach who seems well-qualififed to change that but Carlo Ancelotti will have to find a way of matching expectations both domestically and in Europe, something his predecessor Pep Guardiola was unable to do.

Transfers: More goodbyes than hellos

Compared to the enormous expenditure of a year ago, this summer has been quiet for the defending Bundesliga champions. However, the two big plunges they made into the transfer pool both made pretty sizable splashes.

Mats Hummels Vorstellung bei Bayern München

Bayern Munich made just two signings this summer, but it might be the two biggest additions a Bundesliga team has made this summer.

Mats Hummels' return to Munich caused the most uproar of all the Bundesliga transfers this summer. The defender rejoined Bayern after eight years in Dortmund, a move that has infuriated BVB fans, who booed him the Super Cup game between the two sides earlier this month. Despite the controversy surrounding his switch, the former Bayern academy product's ready-made partnership with his national team defensive colleague Jerome Boateng looks sure to improve an already solid backline.

Bayern may have made an even bigger statement when they acquired midfielder Renato Sanches. The Bundesliga champions reeled in the teenager from Benfica before he made a name for himself with Portugal, as the country won Euro 2016.

However, Bayern may also have gained something through loss. Cutting ties with four prominent players to trim down the squad may mean a happier, tighter knit group. The relationship between the club and Mario Götze was clearly strained at times last year and the German international has been allowed to return to Dortmund after three frustrating years for both parties. Bayern also parted ways with Sebastian Rode and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, two central midfielders who were destined to be trapped on the bench as squad players thanks to the club's excess of talent in the middle of the pitch.

Head coach: Carlo Ancelotti

He won in Italy. He won in England. He won in France. He won in Spain. Ancelotti has now taken the helm at Germany's most successful club to add more stamps to his managerial passport. He will be tasked with the same expectations as his predecessor: win everything or run the risk of being labelled a failure.

Carlo Ancelotti Trainer FC Bayern München

Carlo Ancelotti has a not had as much league success as one would expect

Ancelotti is known for being a player-friendly coach, Bayern winger Franck Ribery said earlier in the summer that he "finally feels trusted again". What he is not known for is domestic league success - he has won only as many league titles as he has Champions Leagues. His European success is encouraging for Bayern fans sick off semifinal eliminations from the Champions League but fans from other top Bundesliga clubs may hold out hope at a long-awaited title chance.

Key man: Franck Ribery

Ribery has fallen from his peak form and fitness but the 33-year-old Frenchman showed this preseason that he still has life left in his legs. Bayern will definitely need everything they can squeeze from him in the early stages with injuries to the likes of Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben leaving them short on the flanks.

Deutschland - Franck Ribery FC Bayern München

He is not the player he once was, but Franck Ribery could be the key man for Bayern Munich

Still blessed with majesterial poise and pace on the ball, Ribery's tendency to play naturally wide brings a balance to Bayern that no other player can replicate. Ancelotti has already given him the freedom to operate the way he wants on the left wing, allowing him to run at opposing defenders the way he used to. Unfortunately for him, he is unlikely to stumble upon the fountain of youth in what is possibly his final season with Bayern - his contract expires at the end of the campaign - but he can still be a real difference maker.

What to expect: A testing Bundesliga campaign

Under Guardiola, Bayern were ruthless in the Bundesliga, rarely dropping points and forcing an early conclusion to a series of title races. The champions may not have that kind of edge under Ancelotti, especially if the focus is on other competitions.

Bayern will always be the first club mentioned when it comes to Bundesliga title contenders, but if they do manage to win a fifth consecutive league title, this collection of players will prove how truly great they are, regardless who is leading them on the touchline.

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