Triple vice drama: The wondrous resurrection of FC Bayern

A beating scandal, the final lost at home and a new major competitor from Dortmund, who had just won the double, dominated the headlines in May 2012.

Triple vice drama: The wondrous resurrection of FC Bayern

A beating scandal, the final lost at home and a new major competitor from Dortmund, who had just won the double, dominated the headlines in May 2012. FC Bayern was on the ground ten years ago - and miraculously got back up after the big defeat.

The night after FC Bayern Munich's devastating and unfortunate defeat in the final of the Champions League at home in their own stadium - "Finale dahoam" - against Chelsea, Uli Hoeneß spoke plainly: "Something has to happen!" It was the night that the once proud club realized that things couldn't go on like this. And it was the moment when FC Bayern Munich started this impressive winning streak of the past ten years. If you look back at those frustrating weeks in the spring of 2012, you can clearly see the roots of the great successes of the last decade.

While the second German championship in a row was celebrated in Dortmund, the players clashed in Munich. "I screwed up," said Franck Ribéry guiltily afterwards - and the Bayern officials saw it the same way. They fined the French international 50,000 euros. But what happened? In the first leg of the Champions League at home against Real Madrid, Ribéry punched his Dutch colleague Arjen Robben in the face at half-time. The two had previously argued on the pitch about taking a free kick. Although the Frenchman had demonstratively run to Robben, who was sitting on the bench, after being substituted in Bremen, this public show act was not enough for the Dutchman at first. He demanded a personal, genuine apology from Ribéry. But the problem of "Robbery" should not be the only one of FC Bayern in these weeks.

After the championship was given away in Dortmund with a miserably missed penalty - of all things by "beat victim" Robben - there was no revenge in Berlin either. With their fifth (!) win in a row over FC Bayern, BVB also secured the DFB Cup - and with it the double. Before the final, the Munich supporters had sung full of hope: "We don't give a damn about the championship, we don't give a shit about the trophy, we're FC Bayern and we'll win two trophies!" Now there was only one chance for a trophy this season: the "Finale Dahoam" against Chelsea.

Two years earlier, Uli Hoeneß said at the annual general meeting: "The Champions League final will take place in Munich in 2012. We have to be there!" And indeed, in the semi-finals, the team had prevailed in two outstanding games on penalties against Real Madrid. The hero of the game was Bastian Schweinsteiger. After scoring the decisive penalty at Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, he grinned for the cameras afterwards: "I lost my balls. I found them again in time for the run-up." That night, the tabloids conceded that Schweinsteiger, who had always been controversial before, had made the transition from "little boss" to "boss". But before he really became the real leader of Bayern (and later also of the national team), he had to pass one last maturity test. More on that later.

And another player slowly came into focus at Bayern: goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. At the beginning of the season he came from FC Schalke 04 and was not exactly welcomed warmly by the Munich ("Koan Neuer") fans. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge got excited after just one season when he spoke of Bayern's new goalkeeper hope: "Manuel has this fire, you can see the greed for success in his eyes." Even if it was still a tender feeling for most Munich residents in those difficult hours of May 2012: It was this Manuel Neuer who was to become the guarantor that the stumbling FC Bayern not only got their resurrection in the following years, but also this unbelievable series of successes should succeed.

But before that, the long-awaited "final at home" against Chelsea had to be played. And who knows? If Didier Drogba hadn't equalized in the 88th minute for the Londoners who had previously had no chance, the history of FC Bayern over the past ten years would probably have been different. But after Philipp Lahm, Mario Gomez and Manuel Neuer had already given Bayern a 3-1 lead in the final penalty shootout, Bastian Schweinsteiger - after a failed attempt by Olic - with his missed penalty was to become the tragic hero of the evening and the fateful defeat against Chelsea will. However, he was not alone in his sad fate. Because Arjen Robben of all people had already failed in the 95th minute with a penalty kick on Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. A defeat for FC Bayern, which could hardly be surpassed in terms of drama - and whose deep emotional marks on the one hand cleared the way for a new beginning in terms of personnel and on the other hand allowed a large number of players to mature decisively in their development.

Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller really got going in the following years. And FC Bayern Munich also invested a lot of money in new players. In addition to Dante, Javier Martínez from Spain, the most expensive transfer in the Bundesliga up to that point, also came to the record champions for 40 million euros. And: The people of Munich began to poach in Dortmund.

Two years before the end of his contract with BVB, a certain Robert Lewandowski signaled through the media that he was willing to talk because he asked himself "what else he could achieve in Dortmund". But Aki Watzke, Jürgen Klopp and Michael Zorc, like Oliver Kahn today, immediately made it clear: "Robert Lewandowski will play with us for the next two years. There are no sums that could change our minds. Robert is not on the market." The Bavarians, however, remained stubborn - and actually waited two years for the Poles. Before that, however, they weakened BVB with the change of Mario Götze - and later with Mats Hummels - not only sportingly, but above all psychologically and sustainably and severely.

And so the three-time runner-up drama of FC Bayern Munich in April and May 2012 laid the roots for a resurrection that has never happened before in German football. Since those gloomy days in spring ten years ago, Bayern have been German champions ten times in a row and have won the treble twice alone. It will be interesting to see how long these roots will nourish FC Bayern Munich.


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