Review 08/09: A very disappointing year for the German side, having little to cheer about except for a return to the Champions League Group Stage next season. Bayern has not found European success in nearly a decade, winning only Bundesliga and domestic championships since their “Double” in 2001. This past season reflected this statistic, showing promise in winning Group F, dismantling Sporting in a UEFACL record 12-1 aggregate, only to lose to eventual winners Barcelona in the quarterfinals. Their failures were seen in other places, losing the DFB-Pokal to Bayer Leverkusen in the quarters, and receiving a beating to eventual Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg 5-1.
Key Transfers: Croatian midfielder Danijel Pranjic from Heerenveen for a fee of €7m; Dutch defender Edson Braafheid from Twente for a fee of €2m; Forward Mario Gomez from Stuttgart for a fee of €30m; Midfielder Alexander Baumjohann from Borussia Monchengladbach; Russian midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk from Zenit St. Petersburg for a fee of €14m; Croatian forward Ivica Olic from Hamburger.
Preview 09/10: Bayern find themselves in an unusual position; they are no longer the crème-de-la-crème of German football, their management is in transition, and their perhaps most promising talent in Franck Ribery is shopping several clubs, including the transfer juggernaughts Real Madrid. Their captain, Mark van Bommel, now requires toe surgery and will miss at least four domestic fixtures before returning to the pitch. However, Bayern hope under their new management to sign Jose Bosingwa in attempts to strengthen a defense that allowed the fifth fewest goal total in the league. Also, with Real replacing quality players with the best players that their money can buy, Rafael van der Vaart may be shopping clubs in the proximity of his former club Hamburg. Prediction? If van Bommel can come back healthy within a few months, Ribery has an attitude that his future is in Munich, Beckenbauer and the rest of the management can actually sign quality players, and Luca Toni plays to the form that was good enough to be top scorer on Bayern last season, then the club should be looking at a Bundesliga title. It is an uphill climb to get back to European champions; a climb that will hinge on Bayern’s ability to maintain its talent, instead of shop it away to hungrier, richer clubs. Don’t let Ribery fall through the cracks, reinforce the midfield that has left gaps due to injuries, and hire pray that Louis van Gaal can mold a fractured team into his “dream club.”