Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Rafinha, David Alaba and Daniel van Buyten (L-R) celebrate after defeating Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona May 1, 2013. Bayern Munich won the match 3-0 and go through to the final on a 7-0 aggregate victory over Barcelona. (Photo : REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Bayern Munich is a heavy favorite to win the Champions League Final on May 25. However the team was not always the confident choice and struggled at times early in the tournament.
Here is a look at Bayern Munich's journey to the final game.
Munich started the tournament with a solid 2-1 win over Spanish side Valencia. However, this was far from the dominant effort many were expecting. Valencia was struggling in the Spanish league and should have been destroyed by the top German side. The win hinted at trouble for Jupp Heynckes' side; trouble which was realized in the following match when Munich was shocked by Belarusian side BATE Borisov in a 3-1 finish. Munich did not even score until the 91st minute of play. A 1-0 win over Lille in the third match did little to quell suspicions over the team's poor form.
However, 6-1 battering of Lille in the fourth game established Munich's presence in the tournament. A 1-1 draw in Valencia was far from expected, but a 4-1 defeat of BATE Borisov made everyone forget that this team struggled in the early stages.
Round of 16 vs. Arsenal
Munich entered the away match with Arsenal as the clear favorite, but few would have expected the German side to thoroughly embarrass the Gunners the way they did. Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, and Mario Mandzukic scored for Munich and essentially booked them a pass to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win in London.
Not so fast. Munich tried to play a conservative style at home, but was nearly eliminated as Arsenal put up a stunning 2-0 win. Had the Gunners scored the third goal, Munich would no longer be in the tournament. The aggregate wound up 3-3, but Munich passed on thanks to its three away goals.
Quarterfinals vs. Juventus
The matchup was the most anticipated of the tournament. Juventus had yet to lose a single game in the UCL and hadn't conceded in five games. However, Munich only needed 29 seconds to reverse this trend thanks to a David Alaba blast from the midfield. The team would win 2-0 at home and replicate the same scoreline in Italy in the second leg.
It seemed that Munich was finally shaping up. In fact, they were only getting started.
Semifinals vs. Barcelona
Munich entered the matchup with Barcelona as a subtle underdog. The Spanish side was being hailed as the best team in Europe after a terrific start to the year and godlike performances from Lionel Messi. Munich stymied an injured Messi and proceeded to dismantle his team in an earth shattering 4-0 win that had the entire soccer world talking about a regime change. Had German soccer over taken Spain? Were the Germans too good for the Spanish?
The Catalans tried to reverse the storyline and claimed that one match could not decide the fate or state of international soccer. Munich made sure to rid any remaining doubters with an even more impressive 3-0 win at the Camp Nou.
Now Bayern heads in as a huge favorite to win this tournament, especially after rivals Borussia Dortmund nearly imploded against Real Madrid.
The final takes place on May 25, 2013.