Why Bayern Munich are going to win the Bundesliga — again

In almost all of the last seven seasons, making the prediction in this headline at this time of year would have been about as bold as stating that night will follow day.

This Bundesliga season has been a little different. Four points separate the top four, Bayern have had to sack the coach that won them the double last year and a number of challengers, both familiar and unexpected, seem to have upped their game.

But Bayern’s performance against Schalke was one of conviction, confidence, class and control – their best of this season and possibly longer. The swagger has returned and it could easily have been seven or eight against a Schalke side who picked off third-place Borussia Mönchengladbach last week. 

The signs are everywhere you look on the pitch. Thomas Müller has been rejuvenated under Hansi Flick and timed his run in vintage fashion for his goal. Leon Goretzka, who scored the third with a brilliant scissor kick, is forming a balanced partnership with a refreshed Thiago. Alphonso Davies has been a revelation at left back, David Alaba looks like he’s been playing center back for years and Ivan Perisic looks anything but a second choice. Robert Lewandowksi has never stopped being Robert Lewandowski.

Reinventions and rejuvenations

Flick must take plenty of credit, particularly where Müller and Thiago are concerned, for returning Bayern’s senior core to something approaching their best. But he’s also enjoyed a few happy accidents, with the injury problems of Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez neccessitating the Davies/Alaba experiment.

Breaking down teams with limited ambition had been a persistent problem under Kovac but the Bavarians now once again look entirely comfortable on the front foot. Against Hertha Berlin last week they had to be patient but Lewandowski’s early goal meant they could express themselves against the Royal Blues. That’s now five wins in a row with 20 scored and just two conceded.

Of course, this iteration of Bayern is not perfect, nor is it at the level of the 2013 treble winners or Pep Guardiola’s team and there will be much bigger tests to come both domestically and in Europe. But this remains a squad of serial winners and a club that expects nothing less.

Challengers have challenges

Borussia Dortmund may have the man of the moment in Erling Haaland but they also have a defense that’s as sturdy as undercooked souffle. Borussia Mönchengladbach have neither a killer goalscorer nor great strength in depth and RB Leipzig’s young squad and coach have the ability but lack the experience.

The Red Bulls are the visitors to the Allianz Arena in two weeks’ time and if Bayern can beat lowly Mainz in the interim, they’ll go top with a win in that one however other results go.  

I can’t see them relinquishing that spot. It may not be good for the league or for anyone whose allegiances lie away from Munich. But Bayern are going to win their eighth Bundesliga in a row.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    GK: Manuel Neuer, Schalke and Bayern Munich (66%)

    At the beginning of the decade, Neuer was part of the last Schalke team to win a trophy, the 2011 German Cup. At its end, he’s one of the most successful and influential keepers of all time. Neuer has become the first name on the teamsheet for Bayern and Germany, winning seven Bundesligas, four more cups, a Champions League and a World Cup. His sweeper-keeper style helped revolutionize the role.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    RB: Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich (61%)

    A Bayern regular by the start of the 2010s, Lahm excelled at fullback until the arrival of Pep Guardiola, who saw him as a midfielder. Unsurprisingly, Lahm excelled in the role, leading Guardiola to call him “perhaps the most intelligent player I have ever trained in my career.” He ended his glittering career in 2017 and became an ambassador for Germany’s successful bid to host Euro 2024.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    CB: Mats Hummels, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich (67%)

    The ball-playing defender has crossed the divide from Dortmund to Munich and then back again in the last decade, winning everything but the Champions League on the way. Though his powers look to be on the wane somewhat, in the middle of the decade, Hummels was among the world’s best defenders. An excellent reader of the game with an eye for a pass, strength and composure.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    CB: Jerome Boateng, Bayern Munich (20%)

    After a brief stint at Manchester City ended in 2011, Boateng has been a constant presence at the heart of Bayern’s defense. Strong, intelligent and comfortable on the ball, Boateng formed a formidable international partnership with Hummels before the two joined forces at club level. The 31-year-old has come back in from the cold at Bayern and was second to Hummels in the poll of center backs.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    LB: David Alaba, Bayern Munich (70%)

    The Austrian made his first team debut in February of 2010, setting up Franck Ribery with his second touch in the German Cup. It’s been more of less plain sailing since then for a sometime midfielder who has made the left back position his own. Still just 27, Alaba has racked up 232 Bundesliga appearances for the Bavarians and had a brief early loan spell at Hoffenheim. Takes a mean free kick.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich (70%)

    A driving force in Bayern’s 2013 treble and Germany’s World Cup win a year later, Schweinsteiger only actually spent the first half of the decade in Munich before moving on to Manchester United and then Chicago Fire. As hard-working as he was creative, Schweinsteiger’s conversion from precocious winger to dilligent midfield general played a huge part in Bayern’s successful run.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    CM: Ilkay Gündogan, Borussia Dortmund (15%)

    The creative metronome of Jürgen Klopp’s brilliant Borussia Dortmund side that won the double in 2012, Gündogan arrived at the Westfalenstadion from Nuremberg in 2011. After scoring in Dortmund’s Champions League final loss to Bayern in 2013, the Germany international picked up some serious injuries before a move to Manchester City in 2016. Came second in the central midfield poll.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    AM: Marco Reus, Gladbach, Dortmund (56%)

    The only man in this team not to have won the title, Reus is nevertheless a Bundesliga icon. Lucien Favre, now in charge at Dortmund, got the best out of Reus at Gladbach in the early part of the decade before he joined a BVB team fresh from winning the double in January 2012. His clinical finishing and perceptive build up play make him a star, though injuries have been frustrating.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    RW: Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich (62%)

    He may have retired in July 2019, but this is still a sight that haunts the dreams of plenty of Bundesliga defenders. The Dutch winger had plenty to his game but his unerring ability to drop a shoulder, cut in from the right wing on to his left foot and curl in to the corner was Robben’s true calling card. He’d had a good career before moving to Bavaria in 2009 but it was there he became a great.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    LW: Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich (25%)

    Robben’s long term partner in crime, also makes the cut, albeit with a lower vote share than his teammate in the wingers section. The Frenchman spent 12 years at Bayern before bowing out at the end of the season. A wonderful dribbler named the best player in Europe when Bayern won the treble in 2013, he’s still turning out for Fiorentina in Serie A at the age of 36.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    ST: Robert Lewandowski (82%)

    The Pole arrived at Dortmund at the start of the decade and has since become one of the best strikers of his generation. The numbers are staggering: 305 appearances, 220 goals, a goal every 110 minutes and seven titles. Arguably his most memorbale moment came in 2015 when his five goals in nine minutes set Bundesliga records for the fastest hat trick and most goals scored by a substitute.

  • Bundesliga team of the decade: DW fans’ choice

    Coach: Jürgen Klopp, 61%.

    Now a European and World Club Cup champion, Klopp masterminded Dortmund’s rise to back to back titles in 2011 and 2012 with a style of football, based around his famous “gegenpressing,” which, has since become commonplace in the league. He may not have won as many trophies as Pep Guardiola and Jupp Heynckes in Germany but his legacy is arguably stronger, as is his popularity.

    Author: Matt Pearson


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