There is something remarkable about Hansi Flick’s Bayern. In addition to the skill, the tactics and the pretty football, the Bavarians’ repertoire has something hitherto dormant: hunger.
The dreaded generational change has had its ups and downs. Bayern fans knew that the process of seeing legend like Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry go would be a slow and painful one. Conversely, and as is normal, building a new generation of equally relevant players is a gargantuan task.
Finding the right players is difficult, not least because a balance must be struck between potential and current ability. But there is something innate that all successful generations must have: ambition. And hunger to drive that ambition.
Today, under Hansi Flick and with this crop of players, we can say that this Bayern team is overflowing with hunger.
Begone, complacency of yore
In the Guardiola years, Bayern were accustomed to securing the Bundesliga several matchdays in advance. The players felt less pressure to keep up rhythm and the quality of performances, They concentrated on the Champions League and the Pokal, but there is a negative effect to showing clear heels in the league. Indeed, this cost Bayern the mental advantage. That, coupled with the fact that the triumph of 2013 was relatively fresh in everyone’s minds.
But that is no more. Most of these players don’t know such levels of glory. Robert Lewandowski and Thiago Alcântara ache for a Champions League win. The young ones, like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka do too. And the ones who do know it, like Manuel Neuer, David Alaba, Jerôme Boateng and Thomas Müller, are the sort of leaders who can never have enough titles.
The balance is lovely. And it is further enhanced by a figure like Flick.
No let up
The results have been clear in the two matches since Bayern secured the title. This team will not relent. They will not afford the opposition a moment’s respite. They know that they have a unique opportunity to carry this momentum all the way to Lisbon in August, via a Pokal win next weekend.
Today’s 0:4 sandunga of Wolfsburg saw Bayern rack up their second highest goal tally in a Bundesliga season. It saw Thomas Müller get to a record 21 assists in the league. Robert Lewandowski scored his 34th Bundesliga goal – one for each game on average. These are not the numbers of a team full of itself. They are the figures of a team with a juggernaut-like aim on more glory.
Hunger, my friends, is the name of the game. There is enough of it in this team to carry them very far. Long may it drive them forward.