Will Bayern’s Bundesliga Dominance Come To An End?
With the Bundesliga season now underway, it is an opportunity to witness how the new arrivals to Germany’s top division are settling in and although it is too early to give a full and frank assessment, we can get an idea of who is going to play a pivotal role in the race for the German title.
Bayern Munich have lost both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben to Fiorentina and retirement respectively and after losing two such greats, the last thing the club want to do is lose their vice like grip on the Bundesliga.
The Bavarians have won the last seven editions of Germany’s premier club competition and with Niko Kovac at the helm, he has looked at one his own countrymen to fill the wide void that has been left by messers Ribery and Robbern.
That remit has been handed out to Ivan Perisic who joins from Inter Milan on a season long loan and with the 30-year-old having an abundance of talent, he will be well placed to strike fear in the defence of German clubs throughout the season.
Losing two legends was always going to be a blow for Bayern and without question they will be perceived as slightly weaker this season, it would almost foolish to suggest that they won’t and if they cannot stay on the top step of German football, then there is one club ready to replace them.
That of course is Borussia Dortmund, who under Jurgen Klopp were the last team before Bayern to win the German title back in 2012 and although their efforts have been overshadowed in recent times, manager Lucien Favre is confident of his players mounting a real challenge this season.
Their biggest capture of the off-season was undoubtedly former Bayern defender Mats Hummels who returns to Signal-Iduna Park after three seasons in Bavaria and of course, his departure has only served to make his former club even weaker, as we enter this new domestic campaign.
With Hummels back in the defensive fold, it will add more defensive protection to Dortmund and in doing so, will allow the likes of Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer to flourish further in the opposition third of the pitch.
These two have already looked a real handful in the first few games of the season and if they continue their impressive early form throughout, then Dortmund will be placed to go all the way in the race for the title.
A look at the current Bundesliga outright market has Bayern, who have also added Philippe Coutinho to their ranks, as the early favourites at 4/11 and although that is a price that will attract a lot of suitors, you can certainly make a case for their nearest rivals being better value at 5/2.
Ultimately a team that has won the last seven editions of the Bundesliga does not become bad overnight but there must be a certain fear residing in Bayern’s Niko Kovac and that will be whether his squad has now had every last drop squeezed out of it.
There is no doubting how good Bayern have been since 2012/13 but all streaks have to come to an end at some point and with such high profile summer departures from the Allianz Arena, an eighth straight Bundesliga might just turn out to be one title too many.