Can Bayern Conquer Europe?
by Strike Point Sports - 8/31/2009
Last week the UEFA Champions League draw was held and the 32 clubs competing were placed into their respective groups with matchups finally decided. It's no secret that soccer's most prestigious club tournament is linked with heavy favorites from Spain and England.
I mean, let's face it: just take Spain's Barcelona (current holders) and Real Madrid and you could have one of the finalists for next May's Final. Throw in the Premiership's big four in Manchester United (last year's runners-up), Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, and now you likely have the champion from one of these gigantic six.
But there is another European power that often gets swept under the rug. And granted, you can't blame whoever has the broom. Bayern Munich are annual favorites in the German Bundesliga and are always a threat for a run in the CL, but not since Germany's top club captured the 2000-01 UEFA Champions League crown has it returned to that peak.
The glory years were in the mid 70s. When Germany was still West Germany it was Bayern Munich that won this tournament three straight years from 1973-74 to 1975-76.
They were quarterfinalists last season but Bayern was crushed by eventual champion Barca, and that campaign showed signs that this German side could again be on the climb.
They earned a fairly tough draw in the group stage, now matched up against my favorites to win Serie A Juventus, French side Bordeaux and Israel's Maccabi Haifa.
The kicker is the odds for a team that has an overwhelming amount of talent. On paper, I would be shocked in Bayern didn't at least replicate their quarterfinal success in 2008-09.
The signing of Dutch winger Arjen Robben puts them over the top in my mind. The numbers game at Real Madrid after a handful of rich signings left him out of the loop in the Spanish capital, thus a move to a promising side was in order for the Holland International.
Pairing Robben with the explosive playmaker and France's budding star Franck Ribery is lethal. Ribery has been plagued by injuries over the last couple of years with the German club, however he is finally healthy and working his way in form to begin the domestic schedule. Along with Italian striker Luca Toni and the German duo of ruthless attacking from Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose, watch out. Depth is all over the field when considering midfield targets Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mark Van Bommel and Turkey's Hamit Altintop. Seriously, it's scary good how impressive this team could be if it all comes together.
Five of the previous six clubs first mentioned are no better than 8/1. Odds for Bayern Munich to win this year's Champions League are currently 28/1. Like previously mentioned, with all the hype and attention on best that Spain and England have to offer this tournament, the best value is residing in the capital of Bavaria, Germany.
For more information on Strike Point Sports member's picks, check out his Insider's Page here.
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