Are Bayern the best ever?

Monday 18 November 2013, 12.20CET
FC Bayern München are one win from breaking the UEFA Champions League record for consecutive victories – are they the greatest side in the competition's history?
Published: Monday 18 November 2013, 12.20CET

Are Bayern the best ever?

FC Bayern München are one win from breaking the UEFA Champions League record for consecutive victories – are they the greatest side in the competition's history?

With FC Bayern München just one win away from breaking the UEFA Champions League record for consecutive victories, UEFA.com wants to know where you think Josep Guardiola's side rank in the pantheon of competition greats. Are Bayern the best there has been since the UEFA Champions League began in 1992/93?

Let us know your thoughts using the comments box at the foot of the page.

There is no shortage of contenders vying for this particular crown. The 1993/94 AC Milan vintage are perhaps the earliest team to lay claim to the honour, having triumphed in the second edition of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a star-studded lineup including Paolo Maldini, Marcel Desailly and Demetrio Albertini.

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The triumphant Milan side of 1994

The Rossoneri, though, met their match the following season, reaching the final only to lose 1-0 to an AFC Ajax outfit brimming with talent. Though Patrick Kluivert scored the only goal that night in Vienna, the Eredivisie side could boast the quality of Frank Rijkaard, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin van der Sar and De Boer brothers Frank and Ronald.

Then there was Juventus in 1996, 1997 and 1998 – winners under Marcello Lippi before losing the subsequent two finals. Antonio Conte, now Bianconeri coach, was among the standout performers for that team, along with Didier Deschamps, Gianluca Vialli and Alessandro del Piero.

Real Madrid CF then started to reign in Europe's premier club competition, lifting the trophy three times in five campaigns. Though the last of those victories was characterised by the Galácticos era of Luís Figo and Zinédine Zidane, ever-presents such as Raúl González and Roberto Carlos were just as integral to making the Merengues the dominant force.

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Lionel Messi has spearheaded Barcelona

Madrid's eternal rivals FC Barcelona began their supremacy under Rijkaard in 2006, Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho among their key players. That was a strong enough side in its own right – throw in Guardiola in the dugout and Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta on the pitch, and it is little wonder the Azulgrana won two more titles in the next five years and have now reached the semi-finals for six successive seasons.

Both those other two successes – in 2009 and 2011 – came with victory against Manchester United FC in the final. Sir Alex Ferguson's team may have come up short on either occasion, but they did prevail in 2008, seeing off Chelsea FC on penalties. This was a first-rate United ensemble spearheaded by the fearsome trio of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tévez.

Can any of these sides challenge Bayern as the best in UEFA Champions League history? Having contested three of the past four finals and now seemingly improving under Guardiola, the Bundesliga champions are again the team to beat this year. Victory against PFC CSKA Moskva on matchday five will be their tenth in a row in the competition – when will it end?

The opinions expressed here are the writer's own and not those of UEFA.


Last updated: 21/11/13 14.34CET