LONDON (Reuters) - Despite the upheaval of a coaching change and hints at buying another main striker, Bayern Munich believe they can dominate European soccer for years to come after triumphing in the Champions League on Saturday.
Arjen Robben’s 89th minute goal sealed a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the first all-German final in Europe’s top club competition and wiped away bitter Bayern memories of showpiece defeats in 2010 and 2012.
The Bundesliga champions can complete a German treble in the German Cup final against VfB Stuttgart next Saturday and such is the strength of their overall setup, further success is fully expected in the next few seasons.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, 68, is retiring at the end of the season having become only the fourth manager to have lifted the European Cup with two different clubs having also won with Real Madrid in 1998.
He gives way to ultra successful former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola and with Dortmund’s Germany midfielder Mario Goetze already signed up for next term and their striker Robert Lewandowski also eyed, Bayern’s confidence can only skyrocket.
“Bayern will have to prove that they can continue to achieve these things but it is quite possible a new era might have begun for Bayern Munich,” Heynckes told a news conference.
A year ago, the Bavarians were distraught after losing the final to Chelsea from a winning position on their home ground but after weathering an early Dortmund storm at Wembley, their experience shone though.
“We didn’t resign ourselves to our fate (after the Chelsea defeat),” Heynckes said. “We upped the ante and tried even harder. You have seen the result.”
Bayern may not be as youthful as Dortmund, leaving Guardiola and the board with work ahead of them to renew the squad, but a generation of top players including Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm have now finally won the ultimate club prize.
“The team is in the right age group and we’ve got rosy times in front of us. We want to win the treble and as far as I‘m concerned this can keep going next year too,” right back Lahm said.
Bayern, winners of five European Cups dating back to their 1970s domination when they won three straight titles, have also achieved renewed success despite changing their main central striker almost every season.
Luca Toni, Ivica Olic and Mario Gomez have all been eased out, although Gomez is still at the club, and incumbent Mario Mandzukic will be nervously looking over his shoulder despite an excellent first season and the 60th minute opener on Saturday.
The Croatian will be well aware of Lewandowski’s attributes and if the Pole does head to Bayern, the competition for places will only make them an even scarier prospect.
For Dortmund, losing the final and possibly two of their best players to much richer rivals Bayern cannot take away the feeling of pride after they wowed the Champions League this season with a series of exciting attacking displays.
Their ability to regenerate after selling key players after their Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 means they too, could remain a force as Germany looks to supplant Spain and England as Europe’s best league.
Dortmund’s madcap coach Juergen Klopp, whose side levelled on 68 minutes thorough an Ilkay Guendogan penalty, was impressed with his side’s energetic display.
“Yes the quality struck me and I‘m sure next season we’ll have more quality,” he said. (Editing by John O‘Brien)