Season preview: Bayern Munich

Season preview: Bayern Munich
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to Bayern Munich's chances in the Bundesliga under the guidance of Pep Guardiola.

With the Bundesliga campaign beginning this weekend, Sports Mole casts its eye over Bayern Munich's summer and their prospects of repeating their treble-winning feat of last season.

In:

Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona), Jan Kirchhoff (FSV Mainz 05), Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund)

Out:

Mario Gomez (Fiorentina), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Zenit St Petersburg), Nils Petersen (Werder Bremen), Maximilian Riedmuller (released)

Last Season: 1st

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Three key players:


Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm in action on April 10, 2013© PA Photos
Philipp Lahm - Behind every top-class football team, there is an inspirational leader. Manchester United had Roy Keane, Arsenal had Tony Adams and Real Madrid had Raul - Lahm falls into that category. Time and again last season he was seen barking out orders on the pitch as Bayern swept aside virtually every team that was put before them. Despite playing at full-back, the 29-year-old has enough confidence in his own ability to get involved in attacks down the right flank. What's more, if pre-season is anything to go by, then he could feature in midfield over the coming months.


Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates after scoring his team's second against Hamburger SV on March 30, 2013© AP Photos
Bastian Schweinsteiger - At the age of 29, Schweinsteiger is at the peak of his powers in the Bayern engine room. The partnership that he formed with Javi Martinez was lauded from all quarters - particularly for the way in which they nullified Barcelona's tika-taka football. If reports are to be believed, then Schweinsteiger could find himself as the only pivot in midfield under Guardiola, with his partner in crime being dropped into a more defensive role. It would mean that the vice-captain will have more ground to cover in order to protect his side's rearguard.


Mario Mandzukic celebrates giving Bayern the lead against Nuremberg on Novermber 17, 2012© PA Photos
Mario Mandzukic - There were times at Barcelona when Guardiola opted not to play with a recognised centre-forward - something that he has been tipped to implement at the Allianz Arena. However, he will quickly discover that he does not have a player like Lionel Messi, who is worth 40 to 50 goals a season. While he may start among the substitutes, there is every chance that Mandzukic will be required at some point. He scored some important goals last term, but also worked hard for his team and rarely gave defenders time to settle in possession.

First game: Borussia Monchengladbach (H), Complete fixture list

Sports Mole says: The old saying goes that if something isn't broke, then why try to fix it? Under Jupp Heynckes, Bayern won the treble for the first time in the club's history, breaking virtually every record known to man along the way. There is a new dawn in Bavaria now, though, with Guardiola seemingly keen to stamp his mark on proceedings straight away. As mentioned above, tactical changes have been made during pre-season friendlies, which, if reports in the German media are to be believed, have not gone down overly well with some of the players. There is also much anticipation ahead of the opening fixture as to who will play in midfield because as it stands, Guardiola has enough options to almost fill three teams. Whoever is given the nod, there are going to be some bruised egos. Having said all that, while there may be the odd piece of disharmony behind the scenes, the sheer quality of players at the Allianz should see Die Roten retain the title.

Predicted finish: 1st

Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm in action on April 10, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Borussia DortmundDortmund65101911816
2Hoffenheim6420115614
3Bayern Munich6411145913
4Hannover633062412
5Augsburg632184411
6RB Leipzig6312107310
7Schalke 04Schalke630378-19
8Hertha Berlin62226608
9Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach6222811-38
10Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt621345-17
11Stuttgart621337-47
12Wolfsburg613258-36
13Mainz 056204610-46
14Hamburger SV520348-46
15Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen5113910-14
16Freiburg604229-74
17Werder Bremen603337-43
18FC Koln6015113-121
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