Few would argue that Bayern Munich deserved to be Champions League winners last term.
After a difficult start to the season, they bulldozed allcomers once Hansi Flick took the reins from Niko Kovac in early November.
A year of unremitting dominance has followed under the former Germany midfielder, whose side have started the new season with the quality that was so evident last term.
Bayern Munich: The season so far
If ever there was a way in which to set the tone for the season, Bayern Munich managed it when they opened the 2020/21 campaign against Schalke. Even allowing for the feebleness of their opponent, the 8-0 margin was an emphatic message to their rivals both at home and in Europe.
By that stage, of course, they had already lifted the UEFA Super Cup courtesy of a 2-1 extra-time win over Sevilla and the DFL Supercup, in which they beat Dortmund.
Barcelona moves in
|Leroy Sane||Manchester City||£40.5m|
|Eric Maxim Chouppo-Moting||PSG||Free|
Barcelona moves out
|Lars Lukas Mai||Darmstadt||Loan|
Then came a surprising slip. Away to Hoffenheim, Bayern crumbled. The 4-1 loss was just the third they had suffered under Flick.
Could that be the start of a decline? Not so. Although Hertha managed to fight back from 2-0 and 3-2 down, the capital side succumbed to a 93rd-minute goal from Robert Lewandowski – his fourth of the match – and Bayern were back on track.
Since then, win has followed win. Emphatic successes over Armenia Bielefeld and Eintracht Frankfurt at home were interlaced with success in Europe, with victories over Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow and Red Bull Salzburg propelling FCB to within a hair of the knockout round.
Even Borussia Dortmund were unable to stop the juggernaut. David Alaba, Robert Lewandowski and Leroy Sane were all on target in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory that has put Bayern two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
Within the squad, there have been numerous outstanding displays, but Lewandowski continues to shine brightest with 14 goals and four assists across nine games in the league and Champions League.
Bayern Munich: Grade A+
Whenever they have been faced with adversity, they have responded emphatically – and generally with an avalanche of goals.
Flick’s men have been virtually perfect this season, one aberration in Hoffenheim aside. It is clear there has been no relent in their drive for excellent. Given the balance and quality they possess in their ranks, they are already looking like the team to beat both at home and abroad.