Having successfully defended their Bundesliga and DFB Cup titles, Bayern Munich could yet add the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League to their haul.
bundesliga.com presents five reasons why the record champions can emulate the class of 2012/13 and make it a treble...
1) Title-winning form
Bayern's 4-2 victory over Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Cup final meant they ended the domestic season on a 26-game unbeaten run in all competitions – including a German record of 17 wins in a row. Those totals went up by one more as the German champions returned to action with a convincing 4-1 victory over Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
During that run, they have accounted for another English Premier League side, Tottenham Hotspur (3-1), and closest Bundesliga pursuers Borussia Dortmund, scoring 86 of their 147 goals across the 2019/20 campaign and conceding just 20 along the way. Only Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig - who led the league standings halfway into the season - have managed to stop Robert Lewandowski and Co. from finding the net, while their record in Europe is of the 100-per-cent-winning variety. In fact, they are the first team ever to win their opening eight games of a Champions League campaign under the current format (since 2003/04), while their 31 goals from the first eight matches is also a new record.
2) Flick the conductor
Bayern's unbowed run owes much to Hansi Flick. Appointed as Niko Kovac's successor on 3 November 2019 - initially in an interim capacity - the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning assistant coach with Germany has taken a team that thrashed Spurs 7-2 in London under his predecessor to altogether new heights. He has overseen 30 wins from a possible 33, 104 goals for and 24 against. Statistically, the 55-year-old is a better coach then treble winner Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola. "Hansi has brought togetherness to the team, and has us playing the Bayern way again," commented CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the cup triumph in Berlin. "Now we want a third trophy."
Lewandowski is integral to those lofty continental ambitions. The 31-year-old stuck away his 50th and 51st goals of the season in the cup final, then notched up numbers 52 and 53 (from just 44 matches!) in the second leg against Chelsea, putting him way out in front as the most free-scoring player for a team in one of Europe's top five leagues. He claimed his third successive Bundesliga Torjägerkanone and fifth overall on the back of a 34-goal plunder, and leads the year's Champions League standings with 13 goals in seven games (scoring in all of them) to move into outright fourth on the competition's all-time scoring chart with 66 career strikes. Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and former Schalke man Raul have ever netted more in the competition.
Yet it isn't just scoring where the Poland international has excelled this term. He had a hand in all seven goals against Chelsea, putting away three himself but also providing four assists, which is a personal best for him in a Champions League season and puts him joint second in the campaign's standings. All told, Lewandowski has been directly involved in 16 goals in just seven European appearances this season. If it weren't for France Football's decision to cancel this year's Ballon d'Or, it would've been a mere formality that LewanGOALski would break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly on the award.
Watch: How Robert Lewandowski has become the world's best No.9
4) Neuer & Co.
Manuel Neuer finished third behind Ronaldo and Messi in the 2014 Ballon d'Or. Twelve months earlier, he had provided the super-human foundation for Bayern's unprecedented Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League treble. Even at 34, Bayern's captain continues to show why he is the finest gloved crusader the world has ever seen, aided and abetted by one of the most dynamic four-man defences in the game. World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard and incendiary Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies have been ever-presents in the full-back positions under Flick, with Jerome Boateng brought in from the cold and Alaba from the left-hand side of defence. Paris Saint-Germain are the only team left in the Champions League with a better defensive record (four goals conceded) than the Bundesliga's most water-tight back line (six against), but they don't have reinforcements of the calibre of fit-again duo Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez to call on in the knockout rounds, as well as the world-class versatility of Joshua Kimmich.
Watch: Bayern's much-improved defence under Hansi Flick
5) The Kimmich-Goretzka pivot
No team boasts a midfield pivot quite like Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, either. The former completed 92 per cent of his attempted passes in the Bundesliga this season, whilst enjoying 2,716 touches and covering 7.4 miles - both league highs. That he has reconverted from budding midfielder to oust Thiago in the No.6 role via a spell as arguably the world's best right-back is testament to his footballing IQ. Having Goretzka as his right-hand man in the latter part of 2019/20 eased the process. The 25-year-old is a throwback to a bygone era of box-to-box midfielders, as evinced by his three goals and four assists in nine league games after the coronavirus-enforced hiatus. He's put on some serious muscle, too, making for one testosterone-heavy engine room. On top of that, the fact one of the world's best string-pullers in Thiago is not necessarily first choice points to the excellence of the Kimmich-Goretzka partnership.