Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Bayern have had a couple of wobbles along the way—losing away to BATE and at home to Arsenal—but the manner in which they dispatched Juventus in the quarterfinals reinforced just how ruthless and powerful a force Jupp Heynckes' team is.
Domestically, Bayern have been utterly dominant this season. Their lead over second-placed Dortmund is 20 points in the Bundesliga, and their goal difference of plus-66 is twice as good as any team in the division.
They have talent to burn. Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic all bring guile and attacking thrust. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manuel Neuer form part of perhaps the most solid spine left in the tournament.
All the evidence suggests this should be Bayern's year; it's a chance to avenge their painful defeat in the final last time around. Many have picked them to win the whole thing from the very start.
They're a formidable outfit, nobody can doubt that, but I still think there is one team better.
So many candidates. Muller, Ribery, Kroos, Mandzukic and Philipp Lahm all bring real quality and influence to their areas of the pitch, while Neuer is among the best goalkeepers on the planet.
But it's Schweinsteiger who stands as Bayern's talisman. And it's Schweinsteiger who leads this team in spirit and will need to be at his very best to drive them to a first Champions League title since 2001.
|Opponent ||Stage ||Score ||Scorer(s)
|Valencia (h) ||Group ||2-1 ||Schweinsteiger, Kroos
|BATE Borisov (a) ||Group ||1-3 ||Ribery
|Lille (a) ||Group ||1-0 ||Muller
|Lille (h) ||Group ||6-1 ||Schweinsteiger, Pizarro (3), Robben, Kroos
|Valencia (a) ||Group ||1-1 ||Muller
|BATE Borisov (h) ||Group ||4-1 ||Gomez, Muller, Shaqiri, Alaba
|Arsenal (a) ||Last 16 1st leg ||3-1 ||Kroos, Muller, Mandzukic
|Arsenal (h) ||Last 16 2nd leg ||0-2 ||
|Juventus (h) ||Quarters 1st leg ||2-0 ||Alaba, Muller
|Juventus (a) ||Quarters 2nd leg ||2-0