A treble treble? Robert Lewandowski can help Bayern Munich complete a Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup treble for the third time this season. - © LennartPreiss/Preiss/Witters/Pool/Witters
A treble treble? Robert Lewandowski can help Bayern Munich complete a Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup treble for the third time this season. - © LennartPreiss/Preiss/Witters/Pool/Witters

5 reasons why Bayern Munich will defend their treble

Nobody thought it possible until Jupp Heynckes guided Bayern Munich to a Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup treble in 2012. Hansi Flick led them to another hat-trick of major trophies last season, but can they go one step further?

Can Bayern win a back-to-back treble in 2020/21? Why not?

bundesliga.com assesses their chances and explains why a double treble is well and truly on the agenda.

Benchmarking Bayern

No other club in the Bundesliga - or anywhere else on the continent, for that matter - looks as fearsome as Bayern do on a regular basis. Borussia Dortmund were tipped to challenge them for domestic honours, but as they have fallen back, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have taken tentative steps towards breaking Bayern's hegemony. Although Die Werkself led the way towards the end of the year, there is something ominous about the way the record champions climbed back to the top of the pile just in time for the winter break. With Bayern showing last term how easily they gain momentum as a season progresses, it is hard to see them being toppled again between now and May.

In the Champions League, the Bavarians dropped points only at Atletico Madrid, but that was with a weakened starting XI as well as with qualification and top spot already secured with two group games to spare. Once again they marched into the knockout stage in their usual authoritative manner, striking fear into all those awaiting the last-16 draw and hoping to avoid the defending champions. It was Lazio who drew the shortest straw in the bunch, and few fans in Rome will truly believe their Champions League campaign will continue beyond March. Bayern continue to set the benchmark at home and abroad, with nobody seemingly close to matching their brilliance.

The best at both ends

If you didn't believe us already, then football's world governing body FIFA has now confirmed what Bayern and Bundesliga fans already took for granted: Robert Lewandowski is the best footballer in the world, and Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper. The Polish forward beat off the competition of perennial champions Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to earn the ultimate individual award thanks to an extraordinary season. He topped the goalscoring charts in not just one but three competitions, scoring 55 goals in 47 appearances all told. His 34 Bundesliga goals earned him a fifth Torjägerkanone, while his six strikes in the DFB Cup helped him lift that trophy for a fourth time. Nobody could hold a candle to his 15 Champions League goals, meanwhile, which saw him win European football's biggest club trophy for the very first time.

Watch: Robert Lewandowski's first 251 Bundesliga goals

The 32-year-old is showing no sign of resting on his laurels either. With 17 goals from the first 13 Bundesliga matchdays in 2020/21, he is well on the way to what has for nigh on four decades seemed an untouchable record of 40 goals in a single season, set by Gerd Müller in 1971/72. A second straight World Footballer of the Year award could well be heading into his trophy cabinet, along with another Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League.

Lewandowski can be confident of such silverware thanks also to the increasingly assured performances of Neuer, who has hit vertiginous heights of late. Eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB Cups and two Champions League trophies already adorn the 34-year-old's cabinet, and they could not be in safer hands. The undisputed Germany and world number one kept 15 clean sheets in the Bundesliga last season, and he is just three shy of the remarkable milestone of 200 Bundesliga fixtures without conceding. With Neuer and Lewandowski, Bayern genuinely have the best at both ends of the field.

Kimmich’s comeback

As if Bayern were not scary enough as it is, they head into 2021 buoyed by the news that Joshua Kimmich is well on his way back from injury. The 25-year-old was named the best full-back in Europe last season, and he would have been a worthy winner of the best midfielder award too, having spent most of his time operating at the very heart of the pitch. Without him, Bayern have continued to keep a tight ship, while creating more chances than any other team in the Bundesliga and taking more shots than any other club bar Dortmund (195 v 196). Both of these tasks often fall within Kimmich's remit, and to have the Germany international back firing on all cylinders can only enhance some already impressive statistics.

Joshua Kimmich is back for Bayern Munich, and that is something not just the Germany international is celebrating. - DFL

Bayern have scored 11 more goals than any other club (39), with more crosses from open play (185) than anybody else (Eintracht Frankfurt are second with 168). Yet with Kimmich back in action - he returned from a knee injury to play a part in the Bavarians' final Bundesliga fixture of 2020 - those figures are set to sky-rocket. With the former Leipzig man in their team, Bayern have picked up 18 from a possible 21 points this season, at an average of 2.6 points per game. That drops to 2.0 per game from the six fixtures he missed. In terms of goals, Bayern average one every 25 minutes with him on the field, compared to one every 35 without him. At the other end, they leak one every 80 minutes when Kimmich is holding things together; one every 53 minutes without.

And with their returning star developing a knack of delivering in the biggest games - his lobbed winner against Borussia Dortmund last season a case in point - Kimmich can add an extra dimension that can make Bayern unbeatable.

Davies creeping through the gears

Another arrow in Bayern's quill is Alphonso Davies, who was conspicuous by his absence during much of the first half of the season. He has slowly been returning to the kind of form which saw him celebrate his first full season in the Bundesliga with the awards flying his way: Canada's Player of the Year for 2020, and a perch on The Best FIFA Team of the Year - the FIFPro World XI - as the best left full-back on the planet. UEFA also acknowledged his outstanding season, nominating him alongside Kimmich and David Alaba in the shortlist for the best defender of 2019/20.

Watch: Alphonso Davies, the two-world star

All that may have taken its toll on 'Beep Beep', as he was nicknamed last term by teammate Thomas Müller, with reference to the Roadrunner. An ankle ligament injury did the rest, sidelining the 20-year-old for five fixtures before he came back to start two of Bayern's final three games of the calendar year. And come back he did in some style, getting clocked travelling at 22.3mph - the fastest speed any player has reached in the Bundesliga all season.

All that points towards Davies flying down the left wing in 2021 with the deadly determination he showed in his breakout season, and few around who can handle him.

Plenty up the sleeve

These examples of Kimmich and Davies are just two of many options open to Flick in the second half of the season, as if those already at his disposal were not enough. Indeed, the strength in depth of this Bayern squad - with at least two world-class options for practically all positions - is what frightens opposition teams. When the teamsheets are submitted, Bayern's starting XI is going to be full of world-beating stars. Plenty more will be sitting on the bench and ready to spring into action - with spring being the operative word in more ways than one.

Bayern Munich can afford to relax when the likes of Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller can be afforded time on the bench. - Pool/Getty Images

Spring is when Bayern tend to hit top gear, and it is with a spring in their step that they head into the most significant challenges of the season: the closing stages of the Bundesliga and the business end of both cup competitions.

Davies adds power and potency to a left wing which was already looking irresistibly strong with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry ahead of the increasingly reliable Lucas Hernandez. Jamal Musiala has burst onto the scene with Davies-esque extravagance, while Leroy Sane has, even by his own admission, yet to show the full extent of his quality. Add to that the brilliance of Brazilian winger Douglas Costa, who has also been waiting in the wings more than he has been marauding them, and the true depth of Flick's pockets of talent starts to emerge.

Even when the world's best striker Lewandowski is afforded a break as the fixtures inevitably pile up, Flick has Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who showed in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League quarter-final win over Atalanta last season that he is anything but a bit-part forward. And with Müller continuing to convince with goals and assists aplenty, the Bayern boss not only has more options than most of his rivals, he has better ones in almost every position.