A Quarter-Term Report on Bayern Munich

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2013

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 29:  Pep Guardiola the FC Bayern Munchen coach during a training session prior to the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Bayern Munchen and Chelsea at Stadion Eden on August 29, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As the Bundesliga begins yet another miniature hibernation this weekend with the return of the international break, we thought it would be worth taking a look at Bayern Munich's season thus far following their twelfth league on Saturday.

Although technically a third of the way into the league campaign, this weekend's game was a comprehensive 3-0 win over Augsburg that demonstrated Bayern's dominance of German football at the moment. The victory became the record-breaking 37th time that the Bavarian club has played a top flight match in the league without losing, a record previously held by Hamburg for nearly thirty years. 

What it also did was earn another three points for Pep Guardiola's side, and following Borussia Dortmund's surprise defeat to Wolfsburg, it means that the Munich side is four points clear at the top of the table for the first time all season. 

Image courtesy of Datawrapper.de
Image courtesy of Datawrapper.de


Who's been the most impressive player for Bayern so far?

If we were to look at this question from an entirely statistical point of view, we would be looking at three main players: Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben. 

According to Whoscored.com, Ribery has the highest average rating in the side this season with 8.44 per game, while Mandzukic and Robben follow suit with 7.49 and 7.44, respectively. As you can clearly tell, those figures show a notable drop off between Ribery and his two fellow forwards, and it's that distinction between the Frenchmen and the rest of his squadmates that is so evident on the pitch in Munich each and every week. Four goals and six assists in 12 games is a remarkable record, and as such, nobody can come close to French winger at the moment. 

Yet there are plenty of notable mentions in this side, too. The solitary striker, Mandzukic, has already proved his worth a number of times for Guardiola with last ditch equalising and winning goals, while the likes of David Alaba and Philipp Lahm have offered so much freedom in terms of positional experimenting for the coach that Bayern's back line now looks as unpredictable as it is competent. 


Why do they keep winning?

The simple answer is that Bayern are much, much better than any of the sides that they've come up against so far this season. Despite the initial bump that was all too customary under a new coach, Guardiola has nearly picked up where Jupp Heynckes left off, whilst strolling to the summit of the Bundesliga. 

A fundamental thumping of Schalke in Gelsenkirchen, a professional job in Manchester and a draw in Leverkusen that they really ought to have won would suggest that Guardiola's Bayern are no slouches for the big occasions, while late wins against the likes of Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim go far to quell any hopes of the giants taking their eyes off the less exciting affairs.

Points are what this side want, and they've done a very good job of collecting them this season. 


Can anyone stop them?

The upcoming showdown with Borussia Dortmund on November 23 will prove an even greater contest between the two sides than just simply a battle for three points.

Dortmund are hurting at the moment, but they are quite simply the only side in the country that could possibly trip up the Bavarian champions on their road to domination. If Bayern travel to Dortmund and win comfortably, this Bundesliga race may well be over before we even get to the new year. 

The German top division is always good for the occasional upset, but besides Dortmund, there just doesn't seem to be any side that can even come close to Pep and his boys. 

In terms of opponents further afield, Europe offers a fascinating opportunity to truly test the limits of Guardiola's grasp on this side when Bayern undoubtedly come up against a team such as Barcelona, Juventus or even Paris Saint-Germain later on in the competition. 

Manchester City were probably slightly embarrassed by the manner of their downfall to Bayern in England and may well prove a surprise in the return trip to Munich, but as of yet, nobody in Group D has begun to threaten the current European champions. 

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea showed earlier in the season that Bayern aren't unstoppable, but it will take a similar mammoth task from one of the continent's best sides to dislodge this side from retaining their European trophy.