Bayern’s rivals in with sniff

August 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm
Posted under: News, Top News

Mario Götze, right, is Bayern Munich's latest power move.Credit Jon Nazca/Reuters
Mario Götze, right, is Bayern Munich's latest power move. Credit Jon Nazca/Reuters

BERLIN – The new Bundesliga season gets under way this weekend with German football riding the crest of a wave following the national team’s triumph at the World Cup in Brazil last month.

That thoroughly deserved victory, given to Joachim Loew’s side by Mario Goetze’s extra-time strike in the final against Argentina, saw a unified Germany crowned as world champions for the first time.

But at club level, the Bundesliga has been leading the way for some time. It averaged 3.16 goals per game last season, considerably more than any of its major European counterparts, while average gates were over 42 000, making the German top flight the best attended league anywhere.

Nevertheless, the biggest problem facing the Bundesliga, as ever, is how to counter the dominance of Bayern Munich, who have romped to the title and added the German Cup in each of the last two campaigns.

They have seen Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic depart and lost Javi Martinez to a serious knee injury in last week’s Super Cup defeat to Borussia Dortmund, but the Bavarians remain favourites.

And yet the rest can draw some hope from the very fact this is a Bundesliga season immediately following a World Cup, and that has not tended to help Bayern in the recent past.

Six members of Pep Guardiola’s squad played in the World Cup final, including Goetze, while Dante and Arjen Robben were also involved until the latter stages in Brazil.

That is why chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wanted the start of the new season delayed in order to give these players longer to prepare, but that request was unsurprisingly turned down by Bayern’s rivals.

“We have to face the fact that the first half of the season will be difficult,” said Guardiola, who at times had only a skeleton squad in pre-season training. “We are at least one month behind schedule.” – AFP

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