Hansi Flick is set to take charge of his 50th match for Bayern Munich when the Bundesliga and European champions take on Werder Bremen on Matchday 8. He has won 45 of his 49 games to date, with some huge victories, but also some more closely contested yet equally vital wins.
Bayern Munich 4-0 Borussia Dortmund
Goals: 1-0 Lewandowski (17'), 2-0 Gnabry (48'), 3-0 Lewandowski (76'), 4-0 Hummels (o.g., 80')
We start back where it all began. Flick had been announced as Bayern's interim coach on 3 November 2019 following Niko Kovac's departure in the wake of the 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt that had left the reigning champions four points off the lead after 10 games.
Three days later, the Bavarians beat Olympiacos 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League in his debut match, but the first real test came on 9 November. Most known for his role in the background, Flick’s first Bundesliga game as a head coach was none other than Der Klassiker at home to Borussia Dortmund, already ahead in the table.
Going into the match, the talk was about this being BVB's chance to finally dethrone the record champions after seven years. Not on Hansi’s watch.
It was a sign of things to come as Bayern quite frankly played Dortmund off the park at the Allianz Arena. The final scoreline was 4-0 but the performance was far more impressive than that. The hosts managed 18 attempts on goal while limiting Borussia to just one – the fewest they've ever recorded in the Bundesliga since data collection began in 1992 – and doing so with what was then a makeshift defence of Benjamin Pavard, Javi Martinez, David Alaba and Alphonso Davies. The bar was set as Flick won his first four matches by an aggregate score of 16-0.
Watch: Highlights of Bayern's win over Dortmund
Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich
Goals: 0-1 Müller (4'), 1-1 Alaba (o.g. 7'), 1-2 Perisic (22'), 1-3 Gnabry (28'), 1-4 Müller (31'), 2-4 Suarez (57'), 2-5 Kimmich (63'), 2-6 Lewandowski (82'), 2-7 Coutinho (85'), 2-8 Coutinho (89')
It was the night when the whole world realised that this Bayern team really meant business and became favourites to win the Champions League. They'd already thrashed Tottenham Hotspur, the previous season's beaten finalist, 7-2 in London in the group stage, but on 14 August in Lisbon they dismantled their (then) fellow five-time European champions Barcelona.
They took the lead inside just four minutes through Thomas Müller and would hold a 4-1 advantage by half-time after the Raumdeuter - named Man of the Match by UEFA - got his second, following goals from Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry.
Flick's side had looked like scoring with every attack and continued that after the break with another four from Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski, and Philippe Coutinho (two) against his parent club. It ended 8-2 at the Estadio da Luz, with all eight goals set up by different players.
It was the first time a team had scored eight goals in a Champions League knockout game, the first time Bayern had scored eight since February 2017 against Hamburg and the first time Barcelona had conceded eight since 1946!
It was a truly historic display and club president Herbert Hainer said afterwards, "Your heart bleeds that no supporters were allowed to experience these emotions in person. You don't often get to experience magical nights like that […] beating Barca 8-2 - a Barca team with Lionel Messi."
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Bayern Munich
Goals: 0-1 Kimmich (43')
Bayern’s visit to the Signal Iduna Park on Matchday 28 of last season may not have produced the same thrilling result as some of their other games, but it was one of the most important.
The champions had stormed back to the top of the table under Flick, but Dortmund were hanging on and only four points behind in second place. A BVB win at home would see the gap shrink to a single point with six games remaining. A Bayern victory would all but end the title race.
It wasn't necessarily a tetchy affair but was very tight. Both teams had 13 attempts on goal, Borussia edged the possession (51 percent) - the first time Bayern had had less of the ball than an opponent in the Bundesliga since December 2017 - but it came down to a moment of Kimmich magic on the stroke of half-time to settle the game in Bayern’s favour, chipping goalkeeper Roman Bürki from the edge of the box.
It showed that Bayern could grind out wins as well as play teams off the park. A result and performance that set them up well for the Bundesliga title and all the other pieces of silverware to follow.
Watch: Highlights of the title-deciding Klassiker
Paris Saint-Germain 0-1 Bayern Munich
Goals: 0-1 Coman (59')
Bayern had swept aside every challenger in Europe in 2019/20. They beat Red Star Belgrade (3-0 and 6-0), Olympiacos (3-2 and 2-0), Tottenham Hotspur (7-2 and 3-1), Chelsea (3-0 and 4-1), Barcelona (8-2) and Lyon (3-0) on their way to the Champions League final. There they faced what many regarded as their toughest challenge of the season as they looked to complete a continental treble up against French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The first half in Lisbon ebbed and flowed, but the Munich club restricted PSG to just 38 per cent possession - their lowest since September 2017, against Bayern - and Davies was constantly in the game down the left. Manuel Neuer made a couple of sharp saves and Lewandowski struck the post, but neither side could find a way through.
That was until the hour mark when Kimmich - playing as a right-back - clipped a lofted ball into the box and native Parisian Kingsley Coman headed past Kaylor Navas. It was the club’s 500th goal in their Champions League history and enough to earn them a sixth European Cup after they expertly saw out the final 30 minutes.
It also earned Flick a place in Bayern history as only the fifth coach to win the continental crown for the club and the second to do it as a treble, after Jupp Heynckes.
Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich
Goals: 0-1 Gnabry (51'), 0-2 Gnabry (54'), 0-3 Lewandowski (76')
Flick had helped Bayern finish top of Champions League Group B with a perfect record by overseeing wins against Red Star Belgrade and Tottenham Hotspur in November and December 2019, but this game was arguably the biggest test of his tenure up to that point.
It was just his third match in charge in the competition and first in the knockout stages, presenting a new dynamic he had not yet faced. Not only that, it was a tricky away tie against Chelsea. Would he play it safe, aiming to return to Munich with a decent result and hope to finish them off in the second leg? Or would he stick to his guns and send out a statement of intent to the rest of Europe?
In hindsight, that first option never really appeared likely. Bayern were rampant at Stamford bridge and had 65 per cent of possession by half-time, with Müller hitting the bar with a header and Coman going close from 18 yards.
If the hosts were somewhat fortunate to be level at 0-0 at the break, the Reds were merciless in the second half, Gnabry netting a brace in the first nine minutes after the restart to pave the way for victory.
Lewandowski sealed a comfortable win in the final quarter of an hour of a match that was a coming-of-age occasion for Davies, who tormented the home defence with his surging runs forward and also demonstrated his extraordinary speed, reeling in Mason Mount - who was clean through on goal - in an exhibition that at times appeared to be men against boys.
The manner of the performance, more so than the result itself, confirmed Bayern as serious title contenders, sparking a run of five straight clean sheets. It turned out to be just the third victory in a run of 21 consecutive wins en route to the treble.
Not only that, but Flick was still officially Bayern's interim coach at the time. The match took place the day after the tactician's 55th birthday, and at the club's traditional post-game banquet, club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge gave Flick a present - and one loaded with significance.
"Our coach turned 55," he said. "That's a good age. And for those who don't know what's inside this red package: it's a pen. And at FC Bayern, sometimes you sign documents with pens..."
He was true to his word. Flick agreed a deal as Bayern's permanent head coach shortly afterwards.