Bayern Munich set for revolution as their golden era comes to an end

Sport360 staff 19/05/2019
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Franck Ribery and Niko Kovac

Bayern Munich’s seventh successive Bundesliga title win on Saturday marked both the end of a golden era and the dawning of a new age.

The 2019 title crowned what has been a glistening decade of success for Bayern, as iconic players such as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben picked up yet another gong in their final season at the club.

Yet it also heralded the emergence of a new generation under coach Niko Kovac, with the likes of Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry establishing themselves as first team regulars.

As they look ahead to next season, Bayern are not only on the verge of a generational shift, but also of what club president Uli Hoeness has called “the biggest investment programme in our history”.

Bayern have already completed the signings of World Cup winning French defenders Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez for €35 million euros and a club record €80 million respectively.

RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt and Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel have all also been linked to the club in recent months.

Though Hoeness said on Saturday that Bayern would not break any more transfer records, they are expected to make several more signings, with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge setting his sights on a new winger.

“Because we are losing Robben and Ribery, we need another good alternative alongside (18-year-old Canadian) Alphonso Davies,” Rummenigge told Bild newspaper last month.

That alternative could be Chelsea talent Callum Hudson-Odoi, for whom Bayern made an unsuccessful bid last January.

The first choice successors to Ribery and Robben, however, will be 22-year-old Kingsley Coman and 23-year-old Serge Gnabry, whom Hoeness has described as “the biggest surprise of the season”.

Kovac divides opinion

Other stars of Bayern’s golden decade have also seen young players emerging behind them this season.

Niklas Sule, 23, has muscled past Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng to become first choice centre-back, while Thomas Muller has faced competition from newcomer Leon Goretzka.

In a recent interview with Munich newspaper TZ, president Hoeness said the young players’ success was proof that Bayern had begun their overhaul at just the right time.

“We have gone through a transition at the highest level. We already have five or six young guys in the team and we will add a few more,” he said.

Leon Goretzka

Leon Goretzka

How much the successful transition is down to coach Niko Kovac, however, remains a bitterly divisive question at Bayern.

Despite winning a gruelling title race in his first season at the club, it remains to be seen whether the Croatian will be the man who leads Bayern into the new era.

Hoeness has repeatedly backed Kovac, while CEO Rummenigge has remained sceptical, telling Sky TV that “nobody has a job guarantee at Bayern”.

The coach has been unable to shake off reports that senior players are disgruntled with his leadership.

He was defiant on Saturday, saying he was “convinced” that he would see out the remaining two years of his contract.

“I talk to my bosses, and you get a feeling for the direction things are going in. I think I have interpreted them correctly,” he said on Saturday.

Whether Kovac stays or not, the winds of change are blowing through Munich, with departures also looming at boardroom level.

Rummenigge is set to be succeeded by former Bayern captain Oliver Kahn in 2021, while Hoeness recently told the club magazine that the day when he gives up the presidency is “not far off”.

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How Bayern Munich legends Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben signed off from Bundesliga in style

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Robben and Ribery made their final appearances at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern Munich had a perfect day in the final Bundesliga game of the season, as they wrapped up a seventh straight league title and in the process, allowed two club legends to sign off on their time in the German league in style.

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both came off the bench to score the last goals of the league campaign for the German champions, who edged Borussia Dortmund to the title by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1. Both are set to leave the club after the season-ending DFB-Pokal final next Sunday, and they couldn’t have dreamed of better finishes to their time in the famous red shirt.

Here’s a look at how the ‘Robbery’ duo performed in FC Hollywood’s title-clinching win.

KEY STATS

ROBBEN

Goals – 1

Assists – 0

Shots – 4

Shots on target – 3

Passing accuracy – 80%

Dribbles – 0

Chances Created – 0

Minutes – 24

RIBERY

Goals – 1

Assists – 0

Shots – 1

Shots on target – 1

Passing accuracy – 89%

Dribbles – 3

Chances Created – 1

Minutes – 30

30-SECOND REPORT

Both players started on the bench in a must-win game for Bayern, something that would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. It’s a sign of the German champions’ quality that they could afford to make that particular call, as Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry have more than earned their elevation to first-choice status ahead of the veteran duo.

But once Coman and Gnabry had done their job, with the former scoring and the latter producing an all-action display that nearly included a goal as well as Bayern took a 3-1 lead, it was time to give Robben and Ribery their farewell. The Frenchman came on first, and scored a superb solo goal, producing a typically mazy run and clever finish to make it 4-1 before Robben came on and scored a fifth to add to the party atmosphere at the Allianz Arena. A fitting send-off for both.

GOT RIGHT

Robben

Robben’s movement was perfect, not just for his goal in which he got himself into position for a tap-in. There was a late free-kick in which, despite the entire Frankfurt defence knowing Bayern would try to work the ball to the Dutchman. Robben was able to find some space and fire off a shot, though it was charged down.

Ribery

Ribery came on as a second-half substitute and finished with the joint-most dribbles of any player on the pitch. A vintage performance from the Frenchman, whose silky skills were on display for his goal – the dink at the end of a brilliant solo run was sublime.

GOT WRONG

It’s hard to say either got anything wrong. Robben could have had his second goal with a better finish, his shot hitting the trailing leg of Kevin Trapp. And perhaps he could have attempted one final trademark move, but there was no sign of a classic cut in from the right and shoot move. Apart from that it was a perfect day for him and his colleague – even nitpicking wouldn’t be enough to find a flaw in Ribery’s display.

VERDICT

What a way to sign off for both Bayern legends. There is a DFB-Pokal final to look forward to, of course, but this was the duo’s final home appearance at the club where they will be most remembered, and last in the league where they’ve etched their names into history. Robben no doubt would have loved to finish on a century of Bundesliga goals, but that particular magical moment didn’t come, despite his best attempts.

Still, a goal for both, and for Ribery a ninth German league title – most by any player in Bundesliga history. The line “who writes your scripts” comes to mind after a fairytale ending for this famous duo, who came on to give one final vintage Robbery performance in front of their home fans.

RATING:

Robben – 7/10

Ribery – 8/10

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Player ratings as Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery get perfect Bayern Munich title send-off

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Bayern Munich sealed a 7th straight Bundesliga title.

Bayern Munich sealed a seventh-straight Bundesliga title with a dominant 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on the final day of the season, despite a few nervous moments.

When substitute Sebastien Haller cancelled out Kingsley Coman’s early opener, it seemed like the season was set for a dramatic finale as another Frankfurt goal would have handed the title to Borussia Dortmund.

But goals from David Alaba and Renato Sanches allowed Bayern to go into cruise control. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben came on for their farewell appearances at Allianz Arena and both scored a goal to bring their Bundesliga careers to a fairytale end.

Here’s a look at how the players rated.

BAYERN MUNICH

STARTING XI

Sven Ulreich 6 – Had little to do in this game, with Eintracht managing only two shots on target.

Joshua Kimmich 6 – Was at fault for the Frankfurt goal with a poor attempted clearance, though it ended up not costing Bayern.

Niklas Sule 7 – Solid performance from the centre-back, who kept Luka Jovic in check throughout.

Mats Hummels 7 – Typically stylish performance alongside Sule, as the duo combined to withstand most of the Frankfurt threat.

David Alaba 7 – Settled the nerves by scoring what was effectively the title-sealing goal, restoring Bayern’s lead to make it 2-1 and set up the procession-like end to the game.

Thiago Alcantara 7 – Unsurprising stat of the day: no player attempted or completed more passes in this game than Alcantara.

Leon Goretzka 7 – Was bossing midfield in the first half and was understandably frustrated to go off with injury late in the half.

Serge Gnabry 8 – Thought he’d got Bayern’s second before it was ruled out by VAR for a Lewandowski offside. Another solid performance before being taken off so Robben could make his final Bundesliga appearance.

Thomas Muller 8 – Set up the first goal with a clever pass and created more chances than any other player in the game. Should have scored, too, but his attempted finish was well saved by Kevin Trapp.

Kingsley Coman 8 – Got the ball rolling with a well-taken opener, and picked up an assist later in the game – a match-winning display.

Robert Lewandowski 7 – Would have wanted to get on the score sheet himself, but Lewandowski played his part. Though he’d strayed offside and caused a goal to be chalked off,  his clever dink over the defence started the move that gave Robben his goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Renato Sanches 8 – An excellent performance from the Portuguese midfielder, capped off with a brilliant goal. Ran the show in midfield after coming on for Goretzka.

Franck Ribery 7 – What a way to sign off. In his last league appearance for Bayern, Ribery scored a stunning solo goal and sealed a record ninth Bundesliga title.

Arjen Robben 7 – Who writes these scripts? Minutes after Ribery got his send-off goal, Robben scored in his final home appearance as well. That made it 99 Bundesliga goals for the Dutchman and he was desperate for a 100th, but it wasn’t to be.

EINTRACHT FRANKFURT

STARTING XI

Kevin Trapp 6 – Pulled off some excellent saves, but it was a rather weak one which opened the floodgates, as he pushed Muller’s shot straight into the path of Alaba just minutes after Frankfurt had levelled the scores.

David Abraham 7 – Hit the bar in the move that ended with Frankfurt’s goal, and produced an excellent goal-line clearance, though by that time the game had already gone. Could do little to stop the late Bayern onslaught.

Makoto Hasebe 6 – Looked all at sea against this Bayern attack – though that can happen to most defenders.

Martin Hinteregger 6 – No player in the game won more tackles or produced more clearances than Hinteregger, who put in a solid display.

Danny da Costa 4 – Sloppy with the ball, and got little going in attack, while Bayern’s best moments all came down his side in defence.

Gelson Fernandes 6 – Eintracht’s best midfielder on the day. Did well under pressure when in possession, though he and his team-mates lost the midfield battle rather easily.

Jonathan de Guzman 5 – Taken off at half-time after a sloppy performance, and it was telling that Frankfurt briefly improved in his absence, before Bayern moved up the gears.

Filip Kostic 6 – Had the most touches of any Eintracht player but was unable to do much with that possession. Caught out for Robben’s goal.

Mijat Gacinovic 5 – Failed to create much in attack, as Bayern’s defence swarmed around him and gave him little shot of linking up with Rebic and Jovic.

Ante Rebic 6 – Plenty of endeavor but little end product from the Croat, who had a frustrating end to the season as he went off with injury.

Luka Jovic 5 – If that was his last Eintracht appearance then it was a dud, as Jovic had the joint-fewest touches of any player to play all 90 minutes and didn’t have a sniff of goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Sebastien Haller 7 – Made Bayern nervous for a brief moment with an opportunistic goal, scoring after a scramble in the box. Had Eintracht held on at 1-1 for a while longer he could have been the hero of the day.

Lucas Torro 6 – Came on for the final half an hour but couldn’t make an impact, as by that time Bayern were finally clicking and looking to put the game to bed.

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