The more things change, the more things stay the same and with the start of season’s UEFA Champions League now underway, that certainly looks the case as far as holders Bayern Munich are concerned.
Hans-Dieter Flick’s men got their defence of the title off to a perfect start, as they made light work of Atletico Madrid on Matchday 1 and although the eventual outcome was not necessarily a surprise, the manner of the victory perhaps was.
That’s because Diego Simeone’s teams are usually considered to be a well-drilled affair and one that is nothing in the way of generous towards opposition attacks. Then again, this generosity was on show in their recent trip to the Allianz Arena.
A trip from the Spanish capital, which saw Atletico suffer an unlikely 4-0 loss and with Bayern bristling in attack, the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller have already sent out an early warning sign to their perceived rivals.
While on the basis of such a performance, it is hard to see just who their rivals may end up being and if you were to place a bet this early in the season, the smart money may be on backing the Munich outfit for a second consecutive Champions League success.
Then again, if you think it is just a little too early to be placing such a bet, just gather more information and once the Group stage is complete at the turn of the year, the genuine contenders will soon come to the fore.
Contenders that will surely include Bayern and when you consider that this was a team that looked like it needed an overhaul just 12 months ago, it is incredible to see that the likes of Lewandowski and Muller have found a second wind to their career.
Not only that, but Bayern have also managed to carry out a rebuild of sorts and even though the more senior figures mentioned above are an integral part of the team, there is also a mighty amount of faith being placed in younger players.
Manager Hans-Dieter Flick could conceivably select a team of players all under the age of 25 and still see nothing in the way of a drop off in talent. Great news for the Bayern coaching staff, but bad news for both outfits home and abroad.
Because with Bayern also looking to earn their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title this season, this is a red machine that does not show any signs of slowing down soon and this was evident in their recent 5-0 league win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
A win that sees them stay in second place in the table, one point behind rivals RB Leipzig after five rounds of the new season and if there is one piece of solace that the rest of German football can take, it is that Bayern are not invincible.
That’s because they suffered a shock defeat to Hoffenheim in week two of the season and although they picked up the UEFA European Super Cup in the Hungarian capital of Budapest just days before, it seems as if the early fixture schedule had got the better of them.
Then again, since then Bayern have been rather imperious in front of goal and in three Bundesliga matches and the recent Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid, they have scored a minimum of four goals each time.
Which is a rather worrying prospect for any team that is set to square up against them and as Barcelona found out to their cost just a few months ago, it does not necessarily matter about the quality of opposition either.
Because there is one constant in all of this and that is the fact that, if an opposition does not bring anything near their A game, they will be unmercifully punished – as an 8-2 beating of Barcelona will attest to.
Looking at this Bayern squad and the quality that runs throughout, there is a sense that this team under their watchful eye of Hans-Dieter Flick is only just getting started and a trophy-laden dynasty is something that we should come to expect over the next three or four seasons.