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Sports

Opinion: Bayern's latest title anything but routine

Ho-hum, you might think, another Bundesliga season, another championship for Bayern Munich. But DW sports correspondent Jefferson Chase points out that Bayern only made a difficult task look simple.

It's been clear for so long that Bayern Munich were headed toward the 25th title in the club's storied history that it's easy to overlook what a remarkable achievement this year's domestic championship is.

As Germany's wealthiest and best-run team, Bayern may expect to win the Bundesliga title every season. But not even the most arrogant advocate of the Bavarians would expect to claim the "salad bowl" three times on the trot. This is a trick that Bayern have now pulled off four times in their history. The last coming between 1999 and 2001.

For all that Bayern's dominance may have increased in the past decades, so have the demands of playing in three competitions, as this team does - year in, year out. That alone makes this Bundesliga title deserving of respect.

Jefferson Chase

DW sports correspondent Jefferson Chase

In the past, Bayern have sometimes faltered in seasons after European Championships and World Cups. That's hardly surprising when one considers that Munich's squad consists almost exclusively of players who represent their countries.

Coach Pep Guardiola did an excellent job of managing his squad this season. Just how excellent becomes apparent when one considers how much misfortune Bayern had with injuries.

Bayern's bad luck

Bayern has a reputation for getting lucky - at least if you ask many Bundesliga fans. There's even a word for it "Bayern-Dusel." But there was no "Dusel" hanging around the club's Säbener Street headquarters in the past nine months. Hardly a matchday went by without a Munich player ending up on crutches.

Robben, Ribery, Martinez, Alaba, Lahm, Badstuber, Benatia, Schweinsteiger, Thiago, Starke - you could easily win the Bundesliga with a line-up of Bayern players who were out for five games or more this season. For the past few weekends, Guardiola has had only three substitutes at his disposal and has fielded starting elevens featuring names like Weiser, Rode, Kurt and Gaudino.

Jerome Boateng and Pep Guardiola

Getting Bayern's players this far this season is arguably Guardiola's best performance

But there was no whining about bad luck. Instead, Bayern conserved their energy and racked up enough workmanlike victories to seal the title with four weeks to go. Detractors may scoff that Bayern's depth is down solely to the club's deep pockets, but that's not the case. One of Munich's most consistent performers was all-rounder Juan Bernat, acquired for the relative pittance of 4 million euros at the start of this season.

Guardiola is most often praised as a master tactician. But if anything the Catalan coach's judgement of talent is greater than his strategic nous. Since he's been running the show in Munich, there hasn't been a single Bayern transfer flop.

This year's seismic shift

Bayern's season has put many Bundesliga fans in a tricky position. It's long been traditional for die-hard Bayern-haters to root for the Bavarians internationally. But the way the Bundesliga is shaping up, traditionalists may have to cheer them on domestically as well.

Bayern Munich players celebrate

Rich they may be, but Bayern has built a squad that has changed the very nature of the Bundesliga

The 2014-15 season showed that Dortmund will not be capable of challenging Bayern any time in the future. The team that kicked the hornet's nest, so to speak, from 2010 to 2012 will be ripped apart this summer. The teams that are more likely to give Munich a run for their money in future are corporate-sponsored clubs like Wolfsburg, this season's likely runners-up.

In the short to medium term, football fans are going to have to choose. If they want a competitive domestic competition, they'll have to put their faith in sides like the Wolves, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim or RB Leipzig. In terms of tradition, with Dortmund and Schalke both rebuilding, Mönchengladbach still a way off from Europe's elite, and teams like Hamburg and Stuttgart fighting relegation, Bayern Munich are truly the only game in town.

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