Jupp Heynckes has created such a stunning turnaround since his latest arrival as Bayern Munich coach that there are fears the champions could be as dominant as in the last record-breaking season under the veteran coach five years ago.
“We’ll play better and I hope successful football when our injured players return,” the 72-year-old warned his Bundesliga rivals before he headed for a short vacation on Sunday The statement came after Bayern clinically beat big rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to make it seven wins in seven games in all competitions since Heynckes took charge again on October 9 in succession of Carlo Ancelotti.
Bayern trailed then leaders Dortmund by five points at the time, and are now six ahead of them.
Their Bundesliga lead going into the international break is four points over last season’s runners-up RB Leipzig.
Many fear that Bayern will dominate in the same way as in Heynckes’ previously last season 2012-13 when they won the Bundesliga, German cup and Champions League title treble — dominating the league with a record 91 points and an unrivalled 25-point lead.
“It wouldn’t be a problem in our eyes if the race for the championship title were boring,” defender Mats Hummels said, unconvincingly adding that he doesn’t expect a similarly lopsided campaign.
However, as Heynckes pointed out, Bayern will be even stronger once all injured players have returned for the second half of the season:
Thomas Mueller, Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng.
That will give Heynckes plenty of depth to rotate his squad once the key weeks of the season arrive in spring, after time for fine-tuning during the winter break.
“And now, the big boredom,” the Sueddeutsche Zeitung headline read on Sunday in reference to the title race, and the Bild paper said on its website “No title is safe from Bayern.”
Dutch winger Arjen Robben swiftly dismissed any talk about another treble but Bayern have been impressive since Heynckes’ arrival.
Apart from the Dortmund game they also prevailed over Leipzig twice in the league and cup, and two victories over Celtic assured them of a last-16 berth in the Champions League with two games to spare.
All these victories came although Heynckes imposed a strict training regime after Ancelotti allegedly was too soft in this area.
“It’s amazing how Heynckes has done it in such a short time,” Robben said of the turnaround after Bayern had gone winless in three Bundesliga games and a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain then put an end to Ancelotti’s term.
Robben, who also scored Bayern’s 89th-minute winner over Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final and many other key goals in their duels, opened the scoring this time around to become Bayern’s best foreign scorer with 93 goals.
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