Champions League team guide: Bayern Munich in the spotlight
Bayern stormed to a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title last season, eventually finishing 13 points ahead of runners-up RB Leipzig.
They continued their dominance of the German league in impressive fashion, having topped the table for all but six weeks of the 2020-21 campaign.
As a result of their ongoing domestic success, Bayern have now qualified for the Champions League in each of the last 13 seasons.
Bayern Munich's Champions League group
Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kyiv
Bayern are one of Europe’s most prestigious clubs and have won the continent’s top prize six times.
Three of those have come in the Champions League era and two in the past nine years.
Those most recent titles came under the leadership of Ottmar Hitzfeld (2001), Jupp Heynckes (2013) and Hansi Flick (2020) — two legendary German managers and one, in Flick, who could soon achieve such status after becoming head coach of the national team.
Bayern’s six titles make them the third most successful side in the history of the European Cup/ Champions League, level with Liverpool. They have also finished runners-up on five occasions.
There is only one expectation of Bayern in any competition — to win.
Regardless of the manager at the helm or the players on the pitch, that target remains the same.
In the past nine seasons, they have twice won the league, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble, as well as the domestic double three times on top of that.
Die Roten were knocked out at the quarter-finals stage of last year’s Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain and will be determined to improve on that performance in 2021-22.
Star man: Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski’s 41 goals last season was a Bundesliga record, edging past the late Gerd Muller who scored 40 in 1972-73.
The Polish international is second in the German top-flight's all-time top scorers chart with 276, some way behind Muller’s remarkable total of 365.
His 15 goals in the 2019-20 Champions League is the joint-third highest tournament total, behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s hauls of 17 in 2013-14 and 16 in 2015-16.
There is little doubt that Lewandowski is one of the greatest strikers the game has seen and at 32 he remains one of the top forwards in world football.
One to watch: Jamal Musiala
At 18-years-old, Musiala is the youngest member of Bayern Munich’s senior squad, but he might yet have a starring role to play this term.
He appeared as a late substitute in the opening league game of the season against Borussia Monchengladbach, and is likely to be called upon throughout a busy campaign for the Munich club.
Musiala was part of the Germany squad at Euro 2020 and made late substitute appearances in the group stage draw with Hungary and the last 16 defeat to England.
The youngster previously spent time with the academies of Southampton and Chelsea, and was eligible to represent England, Nigeria or Germany at international level.
He chose the latter, and with his international future now settled, he will be able to focus on improving with Bayern in order to feature for Die Mannschaft on a more regular basis.
The boss: Julian Nagelsmann
Nagelsmann spent his time at RB Leipzig trying to knock Bayern off their perch but now he is aiming to keep them on it.
The 34-year-old has replaced Flick at the Allianz Arena and is taking on the biggest job of his managerial career.
Nagelsmann guided former club Hoffenheim to Champions League qualification for the first time in 2016-17 and did so again the following season.
They lost to Liverpool in the qualifying play-off on that first occasion, before reaching the group stage in 2017-18.
During his time at RB Leipzig, the East German club reached the semi-finals of the 2019-20 Champions League where they lost to Paris Saint-Germain.
A year later he guided them to the knockout rounds again but they exited at the last 16, having notched up impressive victories against PSG and Manchester United in the group stage.
Those Champions League feats with Leipzig and Hoffenheim were largely unexpected and against the odds — Nagelsmann will now need to manage the pressure and expectation that comes with managing a club like Bayern Munich.
All information correct as of 11am, August 27, 2021