Munich - Franck Ribery has had three habits since arriving at FC Bayern München in July 2007: scoring goals, setting up goals, and breaking records. In his 165 Bundesliga appearances to date, he has 56 goals to his name, but it is perhaps the last 39 matches which have been most impressive.
By starring in the 3-2 win over Hertha Berlin on Matchday 10, the Frenchman broke the record for playing in the most consecutive Bundesliga games unbeaten: 39. In those matches, he has excelled himself and spurred his team to heights previously unthought of, even for a club with a trophy cabinet as a sweet shop during a sale.
The last time the former Olympique de Marseille man was on the losing side in a Bundesliga game was the 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund way back in April 2012. Since then, Bayern have won the DFB Cup, the DFL Supercup, the UEFA Champions League, the and regained the Bundesliga title, establishing their place at the top of German and European football once more. Ribery has been at the heart of that, scoring 14 goals and registering 19 assists in his personal unbeaten run.
He has also ensured his own name occupies a special place in the record books. Prior to setting Saturday’s record, Ribery was awarded one of the most prestigious personal prizes in club football in August: the 2012/13 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award for his part in the Bavarians’ remarkable season.
A fortunate injury?
The Reds have suffered defeat during that time, a shock 2-1 reverse at the hands of Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena in October 2012. Tellingly, though, it was a game that Ribery missed with a thigh problem. With Ribery to the fore, though, they have been nigh-on invincible, picking up a remarkable 88.5 per cent of league points available to them since the defeat to BVB, or 126 from 144 in their last 48 games.
Under coach Pep Guardiola, and Jupp Heynckes before him, the Bavarians have also gone 35 Bundesliga games unbeaten since the Leverkusen reverse, and have the chance to equal Hamburger SV’s record of 36 (set between January 1982 and January 1983) at 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 11. It would be an apt piece of symmetry were they to equal that record as, during that period, defender Holger Hieronymus went 38 games unbeaten, the figure that Ribery surpassed on Matchday 10.
Hamburg swept aside
That Hamburg team, with Hieronymus the ever-present sweeper, won two Bundesliga titles and a European Cup, but Ribery’s trophy cabinet is, similarly to Bayern’s, full to the brim. The 30-year-old has three Bundesliga titles to his name, three DFB Cups, two DFL Supercups, one Champions League title, and one UEFA Super Cup. More silverware is likely to follow.
On Matchday 11, Bayern will look not only to equal Hamburg’s record, but take another step towards a retention of their Bundesliga title. For Ribery, the opposition couldn’t be better to increase his own personal milestone. Against Hoffenheim, he has been involved in seven goals in his last three games.
There have been 56 of them, so it was a tricky task choosing just five of Ribery's best Bundesliga goals, but here they are, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: