Can anyone challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title?
Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga continued last season as the German outfit won the league for the 10th successive year in a row. A decade of domestic dominance has included two Champions Leagues, a Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, split across a variety of managers from Jupp Heynckes to Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti to Hansi Flick, and now Julian Nagelsmann prepares for his second full summer in the dugout at the Allianz Arena.
It’s been a period of prosperity in Bavaria, and despite an underwhelming European campaign that saw Bayern exit the Champions League prematurely thanks to a Villarreal upset, they still won the league with relative ease and are favourites to do so again for those regularly football betting.
However, Bayern have certainly undergone changes this year, with Robert Lewandowski joining Barcelona for nearly £45 million and Niklas Süle leaving for free at the end of his contract, strengthening rivals Borussia Dortmund who gain a measure of revenge considering the plethora of players that left the Westfalenstadion for the South East in recent years.
Naturally, Nagelsmann will have needed players to come in and take their place. A club can’t be as perennially competitive as Bayern without splashing the cash, and while Bayern’s transfer methods have a track record for success, overseen by the efficiency and negotiating excellence of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, they have strayed away from their usual ploys this summer, instead opting for a more continental approach to new signings.
Indeed, the arrivals of Sadio Mané from Liverpool and Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus serve as direct replacements for the outgoing Lewandowski and Süle. Bayern’s squad depth has also been bolstered by Ajax duo Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui for a combined fee of £24 million. In terms of sheer business, it’s, a steal given the former is still yet to celebrate his 21st birthday and the latter incurred no real transfer fee at the end of his deal in Amsterdam.
The number of new faces and departures won’t make Bayern any less competitive. Their squad is still built on a core of experienced players, stalwarts in the top flight who know what is required to pick up silverware year on year, and with the standards so high and expectation to win from the fans, there’s no surprise they are favourites again. You feel those at the Allianz will never have their thirst for trophies quenched, regardless of the heights the team ascend to.
There are still only a handful of sides you could genuinely imagine sustaining a title race in the Bundesliga. Dortmund have made some smart moves to replace Erling Haaland with Karim Adeyemi and strengthen at the back with Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck who look to impress new boss Edin Terzić, back for a second spell. Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig took the remaining Champions League spots last season, and while they are capable of beating the big boys on their day, you do have to question their credentials throughout the course of an entire season.
It’s likely Bayern will stroll to an 11th title, and compete for another DFB Pokal to add to the DFL Super Cup they picked up after a 5-3 win over Leipzig in the season’s curtain-raiser. Only time will tell when a team emerges capable of dethroning them.