Bundesliga has become a top brand in European football with an exhibition of high octane action, menacing stadiums and packed crowds but at the same time, it hasn’t been able to shed off its predictability in terms of the title race. Since the last 6 years, Bayern Munich have trodden to the title with relative ease.
Register that: 6 years in a row.
And that’s exactly the reason why I feel that the big-spending Bavarians have made the Bundesliga underwhelming and a rather boring one-horse race.
Let’s do some further analysis, here:
#1. The Bayern Problem:
Bayern Munich developed quite a reputation in the last few years for ripping apart their closest competitors Borussia Dortmund by buying Dortmund’s best players. First, it was Mario Götze (who made an eventual return to Dortmund) and then, their star striker Robert Lewandowski (still a part of Bayern) and the most recent example has been Mats Hummels (still a part of Bayern).
But to be fair to Bayern, a few top level Dortmund players left on their own too when they were attracted by the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain) or even Serie A (Italy) and the prospects these leagues carried, be it the likes of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembélé, Ciro Immobile or Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The very fact that Bayern have become synonymous to the #1 spot in Bundesliga has degraded the overall quality of football in the league, where internal competition is overlooked in the favour of better European prospects in different leagues.
Take the example of players like Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, İlkay Gündoğan, Sead Kolašinac, etc., who essentially left decent German teams capable of a top 4 finish (Schalke 04 and VFL Wolfsburg) in order to play for teams in different leagues (primarily the English Premier League) with a genuine chance of winning their respective national titles.
#2. Money Talks, Especially In The Champions League:
The problem of Bundesliga being a one-horse race becomes even more evident on the continental level. Bayern have consistently been a European force and the monetary incentives which the Champions League carries (since every club gets more money for qualifying to a further stage in the competition) only adds to their already massive kitty.
The club has been run well with some great administration work but footballing ethics seem to differ, where the Bavarian giants are generally accused of ruining the essence of German football rather than being the German pride.
Jurgen Klopp came closest to seizing Bayern’s supremacy but his side was dismantled and ripped apart by buying his top players and Thomas Tuchel had to make-do with the squad at his disposal once Klopp left for Liverpool.
Sure, one can’t pick on clubs for spending money but in a league where you have such intrinsic hegemony that it ruins the fans’ experience, there’s not much to play for except money and that’s exactly what’s problematic to a tipping point where Bundesliga risks descending to the level of Ligue 1 (the French football league which is undergoing a similar situation, thanks to the dominance of Paris St. Germain) in a few years’ time.
#3. Ownership Of Clubs:
Another internal issue which has plagued the Bundesliga is the 50+1 rule, where the club’s members must have more than 50% of voting rights and that directly affects any foreign investments, where clubs which are rather incapable of generating a heavy brand value off the pitch essentially fail to attract major sponsors and due to that, their reliance on younger players and academy players increases exponentially.
Be that as it may, such is the culture of Germany’s top football league and it doesn’t look to change any time soon, unless the selling nature of the so-called smaller clubs isn’t changed and foreign investment isn’t made in these clubs to challenge the dominance of Bayern Munich.
To the governing bodies of the Bundesliga, we hope you’re listening.
Image Credits: Google Images
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