Early years (1900–1965)
FC Bayern Munich was founded by members of a Munich gymnastics club (MTV 1879). When a congregation of members of MTV 1879 decided on 27 February 1900 that the footballers of the club would not be allowed to join the (DFB), 11 members of the football division left the congregation and on the same evening founded Fußball-Club Bayern München. Within a few months, Bayern achieved high-scoring victories against all local rivals, including a 15–0 win against FC Nordstern, and reached the semi-finals of the 1900–01 . In the following years, the club won some local trophies and in 1910–11 Bayern joined the newly founded "Kreisliga", the first regional Bavarian league. The club won this league in its first year, but did not win it again until the beginning of World War I in 1914, which halted all football activities in Germany.
In the years after the war, Bayern won several regional competitions before winning its first South German championship in 1926, an achievement repeated two years later. Its first national title was gained in , when coach Richard "Little Dombi" Kohn led the team to the by defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 2–0 in the final.
The advent of Nazism put an abrupt end to Bayern's development. Club president Kurt Landauer and the coach, both of whom were Jewish, left the country. Many others in the club were also purged. Bayern was taunted as the "Jew's club", while local rival 1860 Munich gained much support. Josef Sauter, who was inaugurated 1943, was the only NSDAP member as president. As some Bayern players greeted Landauer, who was watching a friendly in Switzerland lead to continued discrimination. Bayern was also affected by the ruling that football players had to be full amateurs again. In the following years, Bayern could not sustain its role of contender for the national title, achieving mid-table results in its regional league instead.
After the war, Bayern became a member of the Oberliga Süd, the southern conference of the German first division, which was split five ways at that time. Bayern struggled, hiring and firing 13 coaches between 1945 and 1963. Landauer returned from exile in 1947 and was once again appointed club president, the tenure lasted until 1951. He remains as the club's president with the longest accumulated tenure. Landauer has been deemed as inventor of Bayern as a professional club and his memory is being upheld by the Bayern ultras Schickeria. In 1955, the club was relegated but returned to the Oberliga in the following season and won the DFB-Pokal for the first time, beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 1–0 in the final. The club struggled financially though, verging on bankruptcy at the end of the 1950s. Manufacturer Roland Endler provided the necessary funds and was rewarded with four years at the helm of the club. In 1963, the Oberligas in Germany were consolidated into one national league, the Bundesliga. Five teams from the Oberliga South were admitted. Bayern finished third in that year's southern division, but another Munich team, 1860 Munich, had won the championship. As the DFB preferred not to include two teams from one city, Bayern was not chosen for the Bundesliga. They gained promotion two years later, fielding a team with young talents like Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Sepp Maier — who would later be collectively referred to as the axis.
Golden years (1965–1979)
FC Bayern Munich against 1. FC Magdeburg in 1974
In their first Bundesliga season, Bayern finished third and also won the DFB-Pokal. This qualified them for the following year's European Cup Winners' Cup, which they won in a dramatic final against Scottish club Rangers, when Franz Roth scored the decider in a 1–0 extra time victory. In 1967, Bayern retained the DFB-Pokal, but slow overall progress saw Branko Zebec take over as coach. He replaced Bayern's offensive style of play with a more disciplined approach, and in doing so achieved the first league and cup in Bundesliga history in 1969. Bayern Munich are one of four German clubs to win the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in the same season along with Borussia Dortmund, 1. FC Köln and Werder Bremen. Zebec used only 13 players throughout the season.
Udo Lattek took charge in 1970. After winning the DFB-Pokal in his first season, Lattek led Bayern to their third German championship. The deciding match in the 1971–72 season against Schalke 04 was the first match in the new Olympiastadion, and was also the first live televised match in Bundesliga history. Bayern beat Schalke 5–1 and thus claimed the title, also setting several records, including points gained and goals scored. Bayern also won the next two championships, but the zenith was their triumph in the 1974 European Cup Final against Atlético Madrid, which Bayern won 4–0 after a replay. This title – after winning the Cup Winners' trophy 1967 and two semi-finals (1968 and 1972) in that competition – marked the club's breakthrough as a force on the international stage. During the following years, the team was unsuccessful domestically but defended their European title by defeating Leeds United in the 1975 European Cup Final when Roth and Müller secured victory with late goals. "We came back into the game and scored two lucky goals, so in the end, we were the winners but we were very, very lucky", stated Franz Beckenbauer. Billy Bremner believed the French referee was "very suspicious". Leeds fans then rioted in Paris and were banned from European football for three years. A year later in Glasgow, Saint-Étienne were defeated by another Roth goal and Bayern became the third club to win the trophy in three consecutive years. The final trophy won by Bayern in this era was the , in which they defeated Brazilian club Cruzeiro over two legs. The rest of the decade was a time of change and saw no further titles for Bayern. In 1977, Franz Beckenbauer left for New York Cosmos and, in 1979, Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeneß retired while Gerd Müller joined the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Bayerndusel was coined during this period as an expression of either contempt or envy about the sometimes narrow and last-minute wins against other teams.
From FC Breitnigge to FC Hollywood (1979–1998)
The 1980s were a period of off-field turmoil for Bayern, with many changes in personnel and financial problems. On the field, Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, termed FC Breitnigge, led the team to Bundesliga titles in 1980 and 1981. Apart from a DFB-Pokal win in 1982, two relatively unsuccessful seasons followed, after which Breitner retired and former coach Udo Lattek returned. Bayern won the DFB-Pokal in 1984 and went on to win five Bundesliga championships in six seasons, including a in 1986. European success, however, was elusive during the decade; Bayern managed to claim the runners-up spot in the European Cup in 1982 and 1987.
Jupp Heynckes was hired as coach in 1987, but after two consecutive championships in 1988–89 and 1989–90, Bayern's form dipped. After finishing second in 1990–91, the club finished just five points above the relegation places in 1991–92. In 1993–94, Bayern was eliminated in the UEFA Cup second round to Premier League side Norwich City, who remain the only English club to beat Bayern at the Olympiastadion. Success returned when Franz Beckenbauer took over for the second half of the 1993–94 season, winning the championship again after a four-year gap. Beckenbauer was then appointed club president.
His successors as coach, Giovanni Trapattoni and Otto Rehhagel, both finished trophyless after a season, not meeting the club's high expectations. During this time, Bayern's players frequently appeared in the gossip pages of the press rather than the sports pages, resulting in the nickname FC Hollywood. Franz Beckenbauer briefly returned at the end of the 1995–96 season as caretaker coach and led his team to victory in the UEFA Cup, beating Bordeaux in the final. For the 1996–97 season, Trapattoni returned to win the championship. In the following season, Bayern lost the title to newly promoted 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Trapattoni had to take his leave for the second time.
Renewed international success (1998–present)
After his success at Borussia Dortmund, Bayern were coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld from 1998 to 2004. In Hitzfeld's first season, Bayern won the Bundesliga and came close to winning the Champions League, losing 2–1 to Manchester United into injury time after leading for most of the match. The following year, in the club's centenary season, Bayern won the third league and cup in its history. A third consecutive Bundesliga title followed in 2001, won with a stoppage time goal on the final day of the league season. Days later, Bayern won the Champions League for the fourth time after a 25-year gap, defeating Valencia on . The 2001–02 season began with a win in the Intercontinental Cup, but ended trophyless otherwise. In 2002–03, Bayern won their fourth double, leading the league by a record margin of 16 points. Hitzfeld's reign ended in 2004, with Bayern underperforming, including defeat by second division Alemannia Aachen in the DFB-Pokal.
Felix Magath took over and led Bayern to two consecutive . Prior to the start of the 2005–06 season, Bayern moved from the Olympiastadion to the new Allianz Arena, which the club shares with 1860 Munich. On the field, their performance in 2006–07 was erratic. Trailing in the league and having lost to Alemannia Aachen in the cup yet again, coach Magath was sacked shortly after the winter break.
Hitzfeld returned as a trainer in January 2007, but Bayern finished the 2006–07 season in fourth position, thus failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in more than a decade. Additional losses in the DFB-Pokal and the DFB-Ligapokal left the club with no honours for the season.
For the 2007–08 season, Bayern made drastic squad changes to help rebuild. They signed a total of eight new players and sold, released or loaned out nine of their players. Among new signings were 2006 World Cup stars such as Franck Ribéry, Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni. Bayern went on to win the Bundesliga, being on top of the standings on every single week of play, and the DFB-Pokal against Borussia Dortmund.
On 11 January 2008, Jürgen Klinsmann was named as Hitzfeld's successor, taking charge on 1 July 2008 after signing a two-year contract. Bayern Munich lost the DFL-Supercup 1–2 against Borussia Dortmund in 2008 then was eliminated by Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal. In the Champions League Bayern also reached the quarter-finals after winning Group F and defeating Sporting CP in the first knockout round, achieving a Champions League record aggregate of 12–1. On 27 April, two days after a home defeat against Schalke 04 which saw Bayern drop to the third place in the table, Klinsmann was fired. Former trainer Jupp Heynckes was named as caretaker until the end of the season. Bayern eventually finished second, thus qualifying directly for the Champions League in 2009–10.
Bayern then signed Dutch manager Louis van Gaal for the 2009–10 season. Multi-million signings of Arjen Robben and Mario Gómez also followed in a bid to return Bayern to the top of the European scene. On 8 May 2010, Bayern Munich won the 2009–10 Bundesliga after a 3–1 win at Hertha BSC. Bayern then won the DFB-Pokal on 15 May 2010 to secure the domestic double. Bayern also reached the 2010 Champions League final, but were beaten 2–0 by Inter Milan, failing to become the first German club to complete .
In the 2010–11 season, Bayern were eliminated in the first round of the Champions League knockout phase by Inter Milan on the away goals rule and finished third in the Bundesliga. Van Gaal was fired by Bayern in April 2011.
In the 2011–12 season, Heynckes returned to coach Bayern for a second permanent spell but the team was to end the season without a trophy for the second season running. Domestically they finished second in the Bundesliga and lost the DFB-Pokal final 2–5, both times finishing runner-up to Borussia Dortmund. They also reached the final of the Champions League in their home stadium, but lost to Chelsea on penalties (3–4) in what was only the club's second defeat to an English team in Munich, and their first at the Allianz Arena.
In the 2012–13 season, Bayern won the 2012 DFL-Supercup 2–1 against rivals Borussia Dortmund. Bayern became the first team in history to win their first eight matches in the Bundesliga after their 5–0 away win to Fortuna Düsseldorf. On 6 April 2013, Bayern won the 2012–13 Bundesliga after a 1–0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt with six games left, setting a new record for being the earliest ever Bundesliga winners. Other Bundesliga records set by Bayern in the 2012–13 season include most points in a season (91), highest league winning points margin (25), most wins in a season (29) and fewest goals conceded in a season (18). Bayern also equaled the record for fewest defeats in a season, losing once, to Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern also reached the Champions League final for the third time in four seasons, winning the club's fifth European Cup with a 2–1 defeat of domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium. On 1 June 2013, Bayern beat VfB Stuttgart 3–2 in the 2013 DFB-Pokal final to become the first German club in men's football to complete the treble; Bayern had missed out on trebles in 1999 and 2010.
On 1 July 2013, Pep Guardiola took over as manager ahead of the 2013–14 season. Bayern also completed the signing of Mario Götze from Borussia Dortmund for €37 million, who became the German player in history (this was later surpassed by Mesut Özil's transfer from Real Madrid to Arsenal for €50 million). On 24 July 2013, it was reported that Bayern had become the first German club with over 200,000 members. On 27 July 2013, Bayern Munich lost against rivals Borussia Dortmund 2–4 in the 2013 DFL-Supercup at Signal Iduna Park. On 30 August 2013, Bayern won the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea. On 9 November 2013, Bayern set a new record for most successive Bundesliga matches without defeat, breaking Hamburger SV's 30-year-old record of 36 matches. This record was eventually extended to 53 matches, before Bayern lost 1–0 to FC Augsburg in April 2014. On 27 November 2013, Bayern became the first team to win ten consecutive Champions League matches with a 3–1 away victory over CSKA Moscow. On 21 December 2013, Bayern beat Raja Casablanca 2–0 at the Stade de Marrakech to win the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.
After almost a year of investigations against Uli Hoeneß, Bayern's former player, former long-time general manager, and president at the time, he was convicted of tax evasion on 13 March 2014. Hoeneß resigned as president the next day, and Karl Hopfner was elected president on 2 May. Just days after Hoeneß conviction, on 25 March, Bayern won their 24th Bundesliga title by beating Hertha BSC 3–1 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. With seven matches remaining in the season, it was the earliest the championship had been won in Bundesliga history, breaking the record Bayern had set in the previous season. At the end of the season Bayern beat Borussia Dortmund 2–0 in the 2014 DFB-Pokal Final to give the club the tenth league and cup double in its history. In 2014–15, Bayern defended their league title, and, the following season, won an 11th double, including a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title. At the end of the 2015–16 season, Guardiola left Bayern to take over as manager of Manchester City and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.
Bayern got off to a good start under Ancelotti, defeating Dortmund 2–0 in the 2016 DFL-Supercup. Despite being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by Real Madrid and the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal by Borussia Dortmund, they managed to clinch a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title with three matches remaining following a 6–0 away win over VfL Wolfsburg. Ancelotti was sacked by Bayern on 28 September 2017 and replaced by interim manager Willy Sagnol, following a 3–0 loss to PSG in the 2017–18 Champions League group stage and a slow start to the Bundesliga season that found them in third place. Sagnol was only in charge for eight days and managed only one game. On 9 October 2017 Jupp Heynckes returned for the fourth time to manage Bayern. Heynckes signed a contract until the end of the 2017–18 season.