LISBON (Reuters) - Bayern Munich head into Sunday’s Champions League final against Paris St Germain in extraordinarily dominant form and with a real chance to become the first team to win the competition with a 100 percent record.
The 3-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday wasn’t a perfect performance, with the French side surely given too many chances for coach Hansi Flick’s liking, but the outcome was never truly in doubt.
In fact, ‘doubt’ is a word that hardly seems applicable to Bayern this season -- at least since they replaced Niko Kovac with Flick as coach in November.
“In the past 30 years they have never played at such a high level tactically as they are at the moment under Hansi Flick,” Ralf Rangnick, the experienced former Bundesliga coach, told Kicker magazine after the game.
The fact that Bayern have reached the European Cup final in every decade from the 1970’s onwards shows the club’s consistency, the results this season speak to their current domination of opponents -- at home and abroad.
They have simply been unstoppable in 2020, even the halt due to COVID-19 has not knocked them off their stride.
Bayern have a chance of a treble of trophies, having won the Bundesliga for a record eighth straight year and the German Cup for a record extending 20th time.
But those who wondered whether a lack of competition domestically would hamper the Bavarian club in Europe have been proven emphatically wrong.
Bayern crushed Barcelona 8-2 in the quarter-final having beaten Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate in the last 16. They won all six games in the group stage, including a 7-2 win at Tottenham Hotspur and a 6-0 victory at Red Star Belgrade.
In all competitions, Bayern have not lost since December with their solitary ‘slip-up’ coming in a draw against fellow Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig in early February.
Remarkably this season threatened to be one of Bayern’s worst for years with the club fourth in the Bundesliga when Kovac was sacked after a 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Nov. 2.
Before his appointment, Flick, known for his detailed planning and meticulous data analysis, had no experience as a Bundesliga head coach, having been surprisingly appointed as Kovac’s assistant at the start of the season.
A former Germany assistant coach to Joachim Loew who helped guide them to the 2014 World Cup title, Flick had then gone over to a German Football Association sports director position.
Flick reinstalled Thomas Mueller in his favourite role behind the strikers and that worked a treat with him quickly establishing a rapport with the prolific Robert Lewandowski.
The coach also plucked Jerome Boateng out of obscurity as their backline became more solid despite the absence of the injured Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Suele.
No team has ever won the title, in the Champions League era, by winning every game.
The only other team to reach final by winning all games was AC Milan 1993 but they lost the decider to Olympique Marseille.
Writing by Simon Evans, additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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