Bayern Munich put together one of the most impressive campaigns last season that we've seen in recent memory. They destroyed the competition in the Bundesliga and won the title in record time. They smashed the Italian (4-0) and Spanish (7-0) champions on the way to their fifth Champions League title. Then, they marched into Berlin and walked out with their 16th DFB Pokal. What more could Bayern do in 2013-14?
With Pep Guardiola coming into the club, there was some fear among supporters that he would try to change the team too much. The worry was that he would possibly disrupt the chemistry that was carefully built over the last few seasons and that his implementation of "tiki taka" football would not work in the Bundesliga. Thus far, Guardiola has shown the ability to rotate players into various systems as he continues searching for the one that he wants his side to play. It appears that he's settled on the 4-1-4-1 for the time being. While it removes from the lineup the double pivot that treated Bayern so well last year, it adds more flexibility going forward.
The transfers this summer have helped improve the team. Obviously, the biggest one is Mario Götze joining from Borussia Dortmund. The attacking midfielder is joined by Thiago Alcantara and Jan Kirchhoff.
Götze is indisputably one of the most talented young players in the world. At just 21 years old, the future is insanely bright for him. It was revealed this summer that Guardiola actually had to be talked into the Götze signing. Who did Pep prefer? Pep's first choice was Neymar. While Neymar has shown on numerous occasions that he is a great player in his own right, Götze is already accustomed to the Bundesliga and will be a great addition.
There's been griping from some Bayern supporters about the potential that Alcantara will be taking playing time away from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luiz Gustavo, Toni Kroos and Javi Martinez. For now, we've already seen the brilliance of Thiago in several preseason games. His inability to do the "holding" part of being a holding midfielder is a concern, but for now his ability to pick any pass he wants like only a few players in the game can do should be cherished.
Kirchhoff joined on a free transfer from Mainz this summer, and while his regular place will be in the center of the defense, Guardiola has shown no fear in deploying him as a defensive midfielder late in matches. At only 22 years old and years of improvement ahead of him, Kirchhoff was more of a buy for the future, so it will be interesting to see what kind of playing time comes his way this season.
While there were several departures this summer, the key one will be Mario Gomez going to Fiorentina. Due to an injury at the start of the season, Gomez lost his starting place to Mario Mandzukic. He was never able to earn it back, even though he saw significant minutes at the end of the season. The argument can be made that Bayern smartly sold Gomez to a club that's not in the Champions League. At least for one season, Gomez won't be taking revenge against Bayern on the field.
Bayern allowed third-string goalkeeper Maximilian Riedmüller to leave this summer and made Nils Petersen's loan to Werder Bremen permanent. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk also left the club on a free transfer this summer and returned to his old club, Zenit St. Petersburg. None of these losses is expected to affect the club in any serious manner.
Trophies will be won by Bayern again in 2013-14. They have the opportunity to win the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, UEFA Supercup, Club World Cup and Champions League. Guardiola can be certain that they will at least lift a couple of these. While Bayern are my pick to win the Bundesliga this season, they won't run away with it as much as they did last season.