Bayern Munich can complete only the second treble in their proud history by beating Paris Saint Germain in Sunday’s Champions League final to underline their status as Germany’s super club.
Bayern have cruised to the Lisbon final, scoring 42 goals in their Champions League matches.
In all competitions, they are on a 20-game winning streak stretching back to early February.
“FC Bayern is a global football club that has an obligation to play at the top internationally. That is our focus,” said Bayern board member Oliver Kahn.
Since the turn of the century, Bayern have made the knock-out stages of the Champions League 19 times, reaching five finals and winning two of them, in 2001 and 2013.
In that time, they have won the Bundesliga 15 times.
Bayern last failed to win the German league in 2011/12, when Jurgen Klopp led Dortmund to the second of back-to-back titles.
They responded in 2012/13 with the first treble in club history – Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League titles – which they can repeat Sunday.
Such is their grip on German football that Dortmund, Bundesliga runners-up for the last two seasons, have given up promising to end Bayern’s domination.
“We don’t have to say anything more about Bayern Munich, because their opponents will no longer be beaten but destroyed,” grumbled Dortmund chief execurive Hans-Joachim Watzke in the wake of the 8-2 quarter-final drubbing of Barcelona.
Bayern are Germany’s richest club, with a turnover for 2018/9 of 750.4 million euros ($883 million) and an operating profit of 146.1 million euros.
The 2020 Deloitte Football Money League estimates that Bayern are the fourth richest club in Europe, behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Building revenue has been a central element of club strategy under former president Uli Hoeness and current chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Hoeness, a former Bayern and Germany striker, was at the helm for 40 years, interrupted by a brief stint in jail after being convicted of tax fraud in 2013.
He resisted selling stakes in the club to outside investors.
Main sponsors Audi, Adidas and Allianz, all companies with their headquarters in Bavaria, hold 8.33 percent each. The remaining 75 percent is owned by club supporters.
Through a transfer policy of cherry-picking – sometimes ruthlessly – from other German clubs and adding affordable foreign imports, Bayern have dominated the Bundesliga since the 1970s.
After Dortmund routed Bayern 5-2 in the 2012 German Cup final, the losers took note.
Bayern bought Dortmund’s rising star Mario Goetze in 2013.
They then added the striker who scored a hat-trick in the final Robert Lewandowski in 2014 and centre back Mats Hummels in 2016, as their Dortmund contracts expired.
They have already signed rising Germany stars goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel, on a free transfer, from Schalke and Leroy Sane from Manchester City for next season.
Bayern players are expected to show the same self-confidence exuded in the club’s Bavarian motto ‘Mia San Mia’, meaning “We are who we are”.
Changing of the guard
Head coach Hansi Flick, another former Bayern player, replaced Niko Kovac in November and has brought order and clarity.
“What sets him apart is his calm, level-headedness and his work with the coaching team,” said Bayern captain Manuel Neuer.
“He showed that not only in the Bundesliga and the Cup, but also in the Champions League.”
Even when the personnel change, Bayern roll on.
Rummenigge is grooming former club captain and Germany goalkeeper Kahn as his replacement.
Former Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer has replaced Hoeness as club president.
Hoeness may be gone but his presence will still be felt for years to come.
“I would be stupid if I didn’t get his advice from time to time,” said Hainer.