'Bayern Munich have improved and grown more determined to win'

Last Updated: 02/08/13 12:04pm

Raphael Honigstein told the Sunday Supplement that Bayern Munich's summer surgery and steely focus won them the Champions League.

The Bavarians lost on penalties to Chelsea in last term's European Cup showpiece, but scooped the trophy for a fifth time on Saturday night by beating German rivals Borussia Dortmund.

The Allianz Arena troop bolstered their playing staff in the offseason by snaring the likes of Croatia hitman Mario Mandzukic, who netted Bayern's opener at Wembley, and Spanish holding midfielder Javi Martinez.

And German writer Honigstein says that Munich's proficiency in the transfer market and their determination to make up for the previous campaign's torment - in which they finished second in the Bundesliga and German Cup as well as the Champions League - fuelled their growth.

"They strengthened in key areas, getting a good new centre-back in Dante, a good new midfielder in Martinez and a good new striker in Mandzukic," said Honigstein about a team that finished 25 points ahead of second-placed Dortmund in their domestic league.

"Those guys not only brought quality but allowed Bayern to change their style and play a more pressing game - but Munich have also shown incredible focus and realised it was time to right wrongs.

"Bayern's signings allowed them to change their style and play a more pressing game."

Raphael Honigstein


"They could have imploded after Chelsea but have just kept on winning, and that was proved in their final Bundesliga game of the season against Borussia Monchengladbach when they fell 3-1 down in a meaningless game.

"Any other team would have said: 'The Champions League final is next week, let's not exert ourselves', but they came out in the second half and won 4-3; they really are a pretty special team."

Daily Mail scribe, Martin Samuel, reckons Bayern, who will replace manager Jupp Heynckes with former Barcelona chief Pep Guardiola this July, will continue to flourish on the European stage.

And while Honigstein agrees, he also feels that the Premier League, which has yielded three of the previous nine Champions League winners but saw none of its clubs get past the last-16 stage this year, will prosper in 2014, too.

Samuel said: "Bayern are only going to get stronger and the only danger is if the Bundesliga become a one-team league and they become undercooked, as Barcelona have looked at times this season with La Liga turning into a two-team league.

"Everything is set-up for Bayern to be completely dominant domestically so the big factor will be how they keep themselves strong when they go and play major teams from other European nations."


Honigstein added: "People have said Bayern are crazy to let Heynckes leave, but the worst thing they could have done was carry on with the same players and manager as their motivation would diminish.

"You need to change at the moment when you are strong or you need to make emergency adjustments later, so I think it is a great time to bring in Guardiola as he will be desperate to win trophies.

"There is a feeling in Germany that the Premier League has not done enough with its resources, of which there are plenty, and had managers who are not quite at the top of the tree.

"But there is not a feeling that the Bundelsiga is now far ahead as Germany is still a Bayern league and it will take a while for it to be able to support three or four Bayern Munichs.

"I think English clubs will come back strongly next year with Manuel Pellegrini likely to come in [to Man City], and Jose Mourinho likely to return [to Chelsea]."