Whether you loved it or loathed it, you have to respect Bayern Munich's record-breaking 11-year grip on the Bundesliga. - © DFL
Whether you loved it or loathed it, you have to respect Bayern Munich's record-breaking 11-year grip on the Bundesliga. - © DFL

The story of Bayern Munich’s record-breaking 11-year reign as Bundesliga champions


Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign as Bundesliga champions was the longest spell of dominance by any club across Europe’s top leagues. bundesliga.com looks back on one of the most remarkable footballing feats, likely never to be repeated…

You may have loved every moment of the last 11 years. You may have loathed them. But the fact of the matter is that it was an outstanding achievement by Bayern, seeing off numerous challengers over the last decade and a bit. For context, the next longest title-winning streak across Europe is the nine years Juventus managed between 2012 and 2020 in Italy.

The record in France is held by Lyon at seven years (2002-2008), in Spain by Real Madrid (five between 1961-1965 and 1986-1990), and in England it is three years by Manchester clubs United (1999-2001 and 2007-2009) and City (2021-2023).

Now, Bayer Leverkusen have ended the Bavarians’ stranglehold on the Meisterschale in 2023/24 and the Bundesliga counter restarts.

Watch: Leverkusen’s title glory


Coach: Jupp Heynckes
Top scorer: Mario Mandžukić (15 goals)
Points: 91 (Borussia Dortmund: 66)
Most used XI: Neuer – Lahm, Dante, Boateng, Alaba – Schweinsteiger, Martinez - Müller, Kroos, Ribéry – Mandžukić

Bayern began 2012/13 on the back of a two-year spell of Borussia Dortmund dominance and the agony of the previous season’s runners-up treble, including losing the UEFA Champions League final at home in Munich. Under Jupp Heynckes, they began by winning the Supercup against Dortmund before kicking off the Bundesliga campaign with eight straight victories. A 2-1 defeat to Leverkusen on Matchday 9 would remain their sole domestic loss all season as Bayern topped the standings from the first day until the last.

The title was secured in then record time when Bastian Schweinsteiger earned a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 28. The team would then go on to set the Bundesliga record for most points (91), largest title-winning margin (25), most wins in a season (29) and fewest losses (one), among others. And then, of course, they went on to become the first German club to win the treble by adding the DFB Cup against VfB Stuttgart and the Champions League where they beat rivals Dortmund in the final at Wembley.

Watch: Bayern's 2013 treble highlights


Coach: Pep Guardiola
Top scorer: Mario Mandžukić (18 goals)
Points: 90 (Borussia Dortmund: 71)
Most used XI: Neuer – Rafinha, Dante, Boateng, Alaba – Lahm, Schweinsteiger – Müller, Kroos, Götze – Mandžukić

It had been announced long before winning the treble that Pep Guardiola would be taking over from Heynckes for 2013/14. The ex-Barcelona coach would continue the domestic dominance that his predecessor had heralded, going the first 28 games of the Bundesliga campaign unbeaten. That was the longest undefeated streak to begin a season (until 2023/24) and remains the longest a coach has gone without tasting defeat in the German top flight. It also saw the Bavarians go 53 Bundesliga games unbeaten across multiple seasons, smashing the previous best of 36 by Hamburg across 1982 and 1983.

Bayern won the title in a new record time of 27 games after a 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin on 25 March, only suffering defeats to Augsburg and Dortmund, who finished 19 points behind under Jürgen Klopp but had inflicted defeat in Guardiola’s first game in charge in the Supercup. The Munich side also won the DFB Cup once again but were eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals by Real Madrid. They had earlier added the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to their collection.

Pep Guardiola led Bayern to Bundesliga glory in record time in his first season in charge. - Thomas Niedermueller


Coach: Pep Guardiola
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski/Arjen Robben (17 goals)
Points: 79 (Wolfsburg: 69)
Most used XI: Neuer – Rafinha, Dante, Boateng, Bernat – Alonso, Alaba – Robben, Müller, Götze – Lewandowski

Although the defending champions strengthened further with the signings of Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund and Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid, they made an uncharacteristically slow start with two home wins and two away draws in the first four games, leaving them in fourth place. Guardiola’s side soon got into their usual groove, though, and were top from Matchday 5 onwards. They conceded just four goals in the first half of the season before a shock 4-1 loss in Wolfsburg after the winter break.

An 8-0 thrashing of HSV a few weeks later showed order had been resumed. Lewandowski scored the only goal on his return to Dortmund in early April, with BVB going on to finish the season in seventh. Instead, it was Wolfsburg who remained their closest challengers until their 1-0 loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 30, the day after Bayern had beaten Hertha, wrapped things up. A DFB Cup semi-final loss to Dortmund prompted a bit of a stumble over the finishing line with only two wins in the last seven competitive fixtures, including Champions League elimination to Barcelona as they ultimately finished 10 points clear at the top.

Bayern raced to a third straight title in 2014/15. - Thomas Niedermueller


Coach: Pep Guardiola
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (30 goals)
Points: 88 (Borussia Dortmund: 78)
Most used XI: Neuer – Lahm, Alaba, Rafinha – Thiago, Alonso, Vidal – Costa, Müller, Coman - Lewandowski

After the somewhat stumbly nature of the previous season, Bayern raced out of the blocks in 2015/16 by winning 13 of their first 14 league fixtures, including each of the first 10. Their first loss came against Gladbach, who had become a bit of a bogey team, but the defending champions would go into the winter break with an eight-point lead over Dortmund. It was around that time that Guardiola confirmed he would not be renewing his contract at the end of the season, so the Munich club announced that Carlo Ancelotti would be taking over for 2016/17.

The second half of the campaign continued in much the same vein, with just one loss to Mainz in March and two draws against Dortmund and Gladbach. The title was won on the penultimate weekend with a 2-1 victory over Ingolstadt and BVB’s loss in Frankfurt, becoming the only team to lift the Meisterschale four years in a row. Lewandowski became the first player in 39 years to reach the 30-goal mark. Again, a Spanish team knocked them out in the Champions League semi-finals, with Atlético Madrid progressing on away goals. Guardiola’s last game was a shootout victory over Dortmund in the DFB Cup final.

Guardiola left Munich in 2016 having established Bayern as German football's undisputed best team. - Thomas Niedermueller/Bundesliga


Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (30 goals)
Points: 82 (RB Leipzig: 67)
Most used XI: Neuer – Lahm, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba – Alonso, Vidal – Robben, Thiago, Müller – Lewandowski

It took only nine minutes for the Ancelotti era to kick off in Munich as Alonso opened the scoring in a 6-0 win over Werder Bremen – the biggest opening victory by a defending champion at the time. The Italian got three points in each of his first five games and would remain unbeaten in his first 10. A 1-0 defeat in Dortmund then saw Bayern overtaken at the summit by top-flight newcomers RB Leipzig, ending a run of 39 straight matchdays in first place. It wasn’t until Ingolstadt inflicted a first Bundesliga defeat on the promoted side on Matchday 13 that FCB were able to retake top spot.

A 3-0 win over Leipzig in Munich in the final game of 2016 finally opened up a gap, which would eventually grow to 15 points by the end of the campaign. A 4-1 Klassiker win in April was followed by back-to-back draws that threatened to stall their title procession, but a fifth consecutive crown, and 25th overall in the Bundesliga era, was wrapped up on Matchday 31 with a 6-0 win in Wolfsburg. A scintillating 5-4 victory in Leipzig on the penultimate weekend came after losing in the cup semis to Dortmund and the Champions League last eight to Real Madrid.

The 2016/17 triumph was the last in the careers of Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso. - Thomas Niedermueller/Bundesliga


Coach: Carlo Ancelotti/Willy Sagnol/Jupp Heynckes
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (29 goals)
Points: 84 (Schalke: 63)
Most used XI: Ulreich – Rafinha, Süle, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Kimmich, Martínez – Müller, Lewandowski, James

For the first time since 2004/05, Bayern went into a season without Philipp Lahm after the captain’s retirement. They won their first two Bundesliga matches before an uncharacteristic early defeat at Hoffenheim. A 2-2 draw after leading 2-0 at home to Wolfsburg left them in third place after Matchday 6, before a 3-0 loss away at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League spelled the end for Ancelotti. Assistant Willy Sagnol oversaw a 2-2 draw at Hertha as interim boss before Heynckes made a surprise return for his fourth spell as coach.

He steadied the ship and dealt with Manuel Neuer being ruled out for the rest of the season, winning 23 of his 27 league games in charge. They were back on top by Matchday 10 thanks to a 2-0 win over Leipzig. A sixth straight title was in the bag on Matchday 29 with a 4-1 win at Augsburg as they went on to finish 21 points clear of Schalke. A 4-3 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League semis and a 3-1 defeat to Eintracht in the cup final – both former Heynckes clubs – denied the outgoing boss an additional farewell trophy, as they hit the reset button in Munich.

Jupp Heynckes returned to salvage Bayern's season with a sixth straight Bundesliga title in 2018. - Matthias Hangst/Bundesliga


Coach: Niko Kovač
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (22 goals)
Points: 78 (Borussia Dortmund: 76)
Most used XI: Neuer – Süle, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba – Kimmich, Goretzka – Müller, Thiago, Gnabry – Lewandowski

The call was for a German coach, but they opted for Croatian former Bayern player, Niko Kovač, who had just beaten them to the DFB Cup with Frankfurt. He guided the team to their usual good start, winning the first four, before an autumnal blip that produced just two victories from a run of eight games, and included defeat in Dortmund and at home to Gladbach.

The champions then started to click and won 16 of their next 18 games, taking top spot for the decisive time after Matchday 28’s 5-0 Klassiker thumping in Munich. Two draws in the final four games meant it still went down to the final day for the first time in the Bundesliga since 2008/09. The advantage over Dortmund was just two points, but a 5-1 win against Frankfurt saw them over the line as Kovač joined the illustrious list of people to win the Bundesliga as a player and a coach. He made it a domestic double with a cup victory over Leipzig.

Legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry left Bayern in 2019 after lifting a seventh Meisterschale in succession. - Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga


Coach: Niko Kovač/Hansi Flick
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (34 goals)
Points: 82 (Borussia Dortmund: 69)
Most used XI: Neuer – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Goretzka – Müller, Thiago, Gnabry – Lewandowski

This season was the start of a new era in Munich as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry left the club after over a decade together. A 2-2 draw with Hertha on the opening night was a rare Matchday 1 slip, but the defending champions were top again by Matchday 6. That didn’t last, with a 2-1 home loss to Hoffenheim knocking them off before a 5-1 loss in Frankfurt at the start of November saw Kovač become the first coaching casualty of 2019/20 – the first time ever that Bayern had been the first Bundesliga team to change coach during a season. His assistant, Hansi Flick, was put in temporary charge and made the perfect start with a 4-0 Klassiker victory and a win by the same score at Fortuna Düsseldorf, before back-to-back losses against Leverkusen and Gladbach left Bayern down in seventh.

From that point on, the only way was up for Bayern. They brushed aside all who opposed them, dropped points only once in their remaining 20 games (a 0-0 draw with Leipzig), and were back on top by the start of February. Even the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic between March and May – during which Flick was made permanent head coach – didn’t stop the Munich men, who wrapped up the title with two games to spare, having scored 100 goals. That was one shy of the Bundesliga record, with Lewandowski accounting for 34 and Thomas Müller setting a new assist record of 21. The final margin of victory was 13 points over Dortmund, for what turned into one of the most dominant campaigns in recent years. The Bavarians also lifted the DFB Cup and won every single game en route to Champions League glory, completing the club’s second treble in remarkable fashion.

Watch: Bayern's 2019/20 treble winners


Coach: Hansi Flick
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (41 goals)
Points: 78 (RB Leipzig: 65)
Most used XI: Neuer – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Goretzka – Coman, Müller, Sané – Lewandowski

An 8-0 win over Schalke on Matchday 1 – the largest winning margin ever on opening night in the Bundesliga – was an ominous start from the treble winners, but they then suffered their first loss in over 10 months in the next game at Hoffenheim. Flick’s side were on top by Matchday 6 but slipped off for a couple of weeks after a 3-3 draw at home to Leipzig. However, a dramatic 2-1 win in Leverkusen in the final game of 2020 sent the champions into first place heading into the short winter break by leapfrogging Die Werkself at the summit.

Bayern then added the FIFA Club World Cup to the Supercup and UEFA Super Cup trophies they had won at the start of the season to complete an historic sextuple. They won 13 of their first 18 league games of 2021 before Dortmund’s victory over Leipzig on Matchday 32 secured them a ninth straight title. Later the same day, the Bavarians thrashed Gladbach 6-0 at the Allianz Arena with a Lewandowski hat-trick. He’d go on to equal Gerd Müller’s all-time season record of 40 the following week before surpassing Der Bomber with a 41st goal, secured with the final kick of the season.

Hansi Flick's Bayern were one of the most dominant teams ever seen in German football. - Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga


Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (35 goals)
Points: 77 (Borussia Dortmund: 69)
Most used XI: Neuer – Süle, Upamecano, Hernández - Pavard, Kimmich, Müller, Davies – Gnabry, Lewandowski, Sané

After Flick announced he would be leaving at the end of the season, Bayern brought in Julian Nagelsmann from Leipzig for 2021/22. They could only manage a draw in Gladbach on opening night but were soon leading the standings by mid-September after a 7-0 thumping of Bochum. Despite a loss to Eintracht two weeks later, a 3-2 win in Dortmund in early December ensured the defending champions would remain in first place for the remainder of the season. They ended 2021 having scored a record 116 league goals in the calendar year.

Again, it was a victory over BVB that wrapped up a 10th straight title, with Serge Gnabry, Lewandowski and Jamal Musiala ensuring a comfortable 3-1 win on Matchday 31 to go 12 points clear with three games to go. It made them the first team in Europe’s major leagues to enjoy an unbroken decade as champions, while Lewandowski closed his Bayern account on 344 goals from 375 competitive appearances with a final-day strike against Wolfsburg. There was still some disappointment, though, as Bayern bowed out of the DFB Cup in the second round for the second year in a row and failed to get past Villarreal in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Thomas Müller and Bayern made it 10 years as champions in 2021/22. - Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga


Coach: Julian Nagelsmann/Thomas Tuchel
Top scorer: Serge Gnabry (14 goals)
Points: 71 (+54) (Borussia Dortmund: 71 (+39))
Most used XI: Sommer – Pavard, Upamecano, De Ligt, Davies – Kimmich, Goretzka – Sané, Müller, Musiala – Gnabry

There appeared to be no issues following Lewandowski’s departure to Barcelona, with 15 goals scored across their opening three wins in the Bundesliga. Things took a dip when a run of four matches without victory culminated in a 1-0 loss in Augsburg and left Bayern fifth. But that would remain their only defeat up to February, either side of the break for the World Cup in Qatar. At the halfway stage it was Leipzig, Frankfurt and Union Berlin posing the greatest threat to their title, with Dortmund down in eighth at the start of 2023.

But by Matchday 21 and a 3-2 loss in Gladbach, Dortmund were suddenly level on points at the top, together with Union. A 2-1 defeat in Leverkusen then saw BVB take to the summit and Nagelsmann dismissed during the international break. Thomas Tuchel was brought in and claimed a statement 4-2 Klassiker win on his debut to regain pole position, but a 3-1 reverse in Mainz a few weeks later – rounding off a horror couple of weeks that had seen DFB Cup and Champions League elimination at the hands of Freiburg and Manchester City, respectively – again allowed Borussia to pinch first. And when they lost 3-1 at home to Leipzig on the penultimate weekend, the title was Dortmund’s to win. They held a two-point advantage before hosting Mainz, while Bayern went to Cologne. On one of the most dramatic final days in history, Musiala scored an 89th-minute winner to snatch the Meisterschale after BVB failed to muster up more than a 2-2 draw, having gone 2-0 down and missed a penalty. It meant Bayern retained their crown for an 11th straight year, this time on goal difference.

Watch: The drama at the top on the final day of 2022/23

Find out more about the Leverkusen team that finally dethroned Bayern