The binoculars, which Uli Hoeneß, the king of mockery, needed for years for Bayern’s competitors, he can put away this season: five teams are breathing down the neck of the permanent champion.
After 18 games last season, Dortmund alone was still six points behind in Munich’s extended pursuit role, after which it became almost embarrassing for the ambitious competitors: Bayer Leverkusen were already 14 points behind, RB Leipzig even 18. At the end of the season, the “Southern Star” celebrated in April, won his 32nd championship title with a lead of eight points. It was, yawn, the tenth in a row.
It’s all a little different this time. Bayern Munich is still the leader after 18 games. But if you listen a little more closely to what, for example, the football coaches Niko Kovac and André Breitenreiter, who are not exactly known as great speakers, said during the week around their cup games, you can imagine a fairly strong swelling ridge in Bad Wiessee and one can imagine the appropriate or inappropriate Opportunity to look forward to the Uli Hoeneß replica.
Leipzig the “currently clearly the best team”
In any case, Kovac stated before his Wolfsburg game at the Alte Försterei that it would currently be more difficult to play at Union Berlin than at Bayern Munich. His colleague Breitenreiter then excused his hopelessness in the duel with RB Leipzig on Wednesday evening by saying that they played against the currently clearly best German team, everyone can see that.
Leipzig “clearly better” than Bavaria? An away game with the “Iron” harder than in the dinghy from Unterföhring? Not many competitors have said anything like that in the past ten years, and if they did, they were pretty sure that the Reds would have their revenge. In 2023, however, FC Bayern cannot really deal so much with punishing cheeky sayings from other clubs at the moment. It’s all about your own stability.
A triple is already certain
Well, Bayern have been stable so far this year. In Leipzig, against Cologne and against Frankfurt there was a 1-1 draw, which was already celebrated on Twitter as winning the treble. In contrast to previous years, the pursuers have now really used the six points lost by Munich to start the hunt, and there are a few aspects that Bayern could think about.
Borussia Dortmund, for example, won all three games this year, and the first two of them were extremely lucky. But the 4:3 against Augsburg and the sometimes miserable 2:1 in Mainz was followed by an absolutely great performance and a well-deserved 2:0 in Leverkusen, which in turn had previously won five games in a row. So BVB even learned from victories how to do it even better.
The other teams from the top 6 also have a better result than Bayern in 2023. At SC Freiburg, many feared a complete slump after the start of the year 6-0 in Wolfsburg, but a draw in Frankfurt and a win over Augsburg followed. Just like Frankfurt, Freiburg is coping with the double burden of Europe in a totally stress-resistant manner, and Union Berlin just doesn’t give up and after three successes this year is only a single point away from the leader.
A club like that can’t be champions? That’s what happened in England in 2016 Manchester Citythe FC Arsenal and all the other super rich top clubs also thought before Leicester City provided counter-evidence. In the meantime, Oliver Glasner’s team has proven in the Europa League and now even in the premier class that Frankfurt’s Eintracht is capable of anything with a five-point deficit.
Leipzig wins even without Nkunku
RB Leipzig is also strong nationally and internationally under Marco Rose and has such a frightening run that you probably even have to fully agree with André Breitenreiter. It’s hard to imagine how dangerous it will be for Munich if the current footballer of the year returns to the team. Because the top performances have all been achieved without Christopher Nkunku.
So Bayern Munich currently has five pursuers, and if they were to lose at VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday (05.02.2023, from 5.20 p.m. live in the audio stream at sportschau.de), they would also get the sixth. But it seems possible that Niko Kovac’s Union saying could have a somewhat disadvantageous effect.
What can Bayern’s “anger engine” do?
Thomas Müller has already announced that he will start the “anger engine” and in the cup against 1. FSV Mainz 05 it did look impressive. In any case, it will be interesting to see whether Julian Nagelsmann dares the system with five offensive players with the “Wolves” – and whether it works so well there too.
The fact that there are interesting questions at all in the championship fight this year and five or six competitors who appear to be quite fearless and for whom you no longer need binoculars is already very good news for the fans outside of Bavaria.