It was a case of close but no cigar for Bayern Munich in the 2017/18 Champions League. The Bavarians were eliminated by Real Madrid after an exciting double header and not even the most ardent Los Blancos fan would claim that the Spanish outfit dominated the tie. In fact, Jupp Heynckes’ men were hard done by as an individual error from goalkeeper Sven Ulreich was the difference between the two clubs.
Losing the home leg proved costly for Bayern; Real had no incentive to attack in the second leg. For neutrals, it was a very entertaining contest, though – arguably the most exciting in this season’s competition. Joshua Kimmich got Bayern off to the perfect start but Heynckes’ side fell short in the second half. A first trip to the Champions League final since winning the 2012/13 tournament will have to wait for another year.
The club have already confirmed that Eintracht Frankfurt manager Niko Kovac will replace Heynckes at the end of the campaign. Kovac played 34 games for Bayern during a two-year stint with the club and he knows just how competitive the Bavarians are. Appointed for the next three seasons, Kovac will be looking to lead Bayern to more domestic success and a push for European glory could follow suit.
Winning the German crown is now regarded as an absolute must – there is no excuse for missing out on the Bundesliga title. Bayern should be targeting success in every competition though; the Bavarians are some way clear of their domestic rivals. Fans will expect Heynckes’ men to run riot against Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB Pokal final on May 19th and a League-Cup double will keep fans satisfied despite their European woes.
Bayern have won the Bundesliga title for the sixth year in a row and it would be foolish to back against the Bavarians in their bid for number seven. Ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, Bayern are still the dominant force in German football and it will take a major collapse on their part to fall short. Schalke, now 1/3 to finish second in the Bundesliga betting odds with Bet365, are 24 points behind Heynckes’ side and it is hard to see the Domenico Tedesco’s men bridging that gap next season.
Bayern have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in seven of the last nine years and Kovac will be tasked with leading his side to the latter stages of the competition again in 2018/19. The Bavarians have the quality to compete with Europe’s elite club sides but does Kovac have the experience to lead the German giants at the top level? Only time will tell. At the very least, the Croatian needs to be given a chance to prove his talent.
Supporters will be left distraught for some time after Ulreich’s mistake. Bayern played some superb football during that double header with Madrid and fans will be expecting more of the same in 2018/19. Winning the DFB Pokal will offer some consolation to the passionate Bavarians fans but the Champions League is their ultimate objective. Ah well, there’s always next year eh