Bayern Munich was unstoppable. Can anyone stop them?

It was fair to assume that even if the combination of Bayern Munich and young, new manager Julian Nagelsmann were to work out brilliantly over time, there might be a breaking-in period at the start.

Even while winning a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title, Bayern’s defensive balance had fallen a bit out of whack in 2020-21, which had contributed to earlier-than-expected exits in both the Champions League and DFB-Pokal.

The defensive personnel itself changed pretty significantly with the departures of stalwarts David Alaba (Real Madrid) and Jerome Boateng (Lyon). Throw in Nagelsmann’s increasing appreciation for a three-at-the-back structure while at RB Leipzig — not something Bayern are accustomed to using — and some shaky preseason friendly results, and it was easy to figure that the nine-time defending Bundesliga champion might not be in fifth gear from the start of the 2021-22 season.

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