By Enis Koylu
And so the Bayern Munich juggernaut rolls on. Wednesday's 3-0 win over Barcelona at Camp Nou clinched a 7-0 aggregate thumping and saw the Bavarians book their place in their third Champions League final in four years. No one will argue that they do not deserve to be there.
On August 12, when Jupp Heynckes' side embarked on their remarkable campaign, they sent out a message of intent, beating Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup - their nemeses of the last two years - for the first time in six encounters with two goals within 10 minutes.
Seven months on and the train of momentum has not stopped. Their progress in the Bundesliga - a blip at home to Bayer Leverkusen in November aside - has been remarkable. They have not dropped a point in 2013, blowing away good teams like Mainz, Schalke, Werder Bremen, Hamburg and Hannover.
The national title was wrapped up in record time - a record points tally soon followed, while they are on course to smash the best-ever goals scored and conceded totals. They have simply been the greatest team in Europe this year.
|MATCH FACTS | Barcelona 0-3 Bayern
And yet the job is only one-third done. Two of the biggest games in the club's history are on the horizon. Borussia Dortmund, equally impressive on the European stage this season await at Wembley on May 25, with Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal final.
In truth, Bayern should win both games. BVB's run in the continent's top competition has been spirited and surprising but their old rivals have had their number this season. And that's not mentioning the Bavarians' demolition of both an outstanding Juventus side and the best club team of a generation, Barcelona, who suffered their worst-ever European aggregate defeat on Wednesday.
The 2-1 Supercup win over BVB was followed up by a 1-1 Bundesliga draw at the Allianz Arena in which Roman Weidenfeller made an astonishing number of saves to earn his side a draw thanks to Mario Gotze's equaliser.
And their performance in the Pokal quarter-final was simply astonishing. BVB had no clear-cut chances in a first half which Bayern dominated, eventually taking the lead thanks to an Arjen Robben thunderbolt.
Stuttgart, their opponents in the final of the competition, should pose little threat - Bayern scored eight against them, shipping one in return, over two league games.
Should they go on and fulfil their destiny, Bayern will surely complete the most emphatic league/cup/Champions League treble-winning season we have ever witnessed.
To achieve such a feat, most teams will encounter a big scare and ride their luck along the way.
PSV achieved a treble in 1988, but needed away goals to progress in the quarter and semi-finals in Europe and penalties to see off Benfica in the final.
In 1999, Manchester United made the FA Cup showpiece thanks to a last minute missed Dennis Bergkamp penalty, a late Bayern collapse sealed the Champions League and the Premier League title was only secured on the last day of the season with a surprisingly low points total of 79.
Barcelona and Inter followed in 2009 and 2010 respectively; the Blaugrana required a late Andres Iniesta away goal to get to the final in Europe after Chelsea were denied several clear penalties. The Nerazzurri benefitted from a dark period for Serie A, with AC Milan and Juventus both beyond competition. In typical Jose Mourinho fashion, they survived a semi-final onslaught against Barcelona with a man sent off.
Other treble winners, including the Celtic of 1967 and the Ajax of Johan Cruyff faced the odd hiccup. Bayern have looked invulnerable, save for a few nervy minutes against Arsenal at home when their three away goals in London gave them what proved to be an insurmountable lead.
The next 30 days are perhaps the biggest in Bayern's history since the time of Gerd Muller, Sepp Maier and Franz Beckenbauer as they eye the chance to atone for the near misses of 2010 and 2012.
This is their season and they are ready to make history.
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