Bayern Munich on the brink of sixth straight Bundesliga title — but why are they so good? | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.03.2018
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Bayern Munich on the brink of sixth straight Bundesliga title — but why are they so good?

Bayern Munich can win their 28th German championship this weekend, if results go their way. DW asks what needs to happen in the other games and why the Bavarians are so far ahead of the competition.

Bayern Munich can wrap up their sixth straight Bundesliga title by beating RB Leipzig on Sunday evening (18:00 CET), but only if Schalke and Borussia Dortmund both fail to win.

The Royal Blues travel to relegation-threatened Wolfsburg on Saturday evening (18:30 CET) while the Black & Yellows welcome mid-table Hannover on Sunday afternoon (13:30 CET).

If results don't go Bayern's way this weekend, they will have the chance to win the league at home to Dortmund on March 31.

Despite their team potentially having the chance to win the league in Leipzig, a substantial section of Bayern Munich's regular support are once again planning to boycott the trip in protest at the Red Bull franchise.

Read more: Bundesliga MD 27 preview

Why are Bayern so far ahead?

Whenever Bayern wrap up the title, it will be their 27th Bundesliga triumph and their 28th league title overall, having also won the old German championship in 1932.

It will be the record champions' 13th triumph since the turn of the millennium and the first time any club has won six in a row. We take a look at some of the main reasons the Bavarians have left the rest behind.

Fußball Champions League Bayern München vs Besiktas Istanbul | Arjen Robben (Getty Images/AFP/J. Macdougall)

Arjen Robben has been key to Bayern's success down the years

The best players

It may sound obvious but Bayern Munich's squad contains quality in every position that no other Bundesliga team can match.

In Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, Bayern line up with Germany's first-choice center-back partnership almost every week. In midfield, they were spoilt for choice even before this season's additions of Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso. Up front, the evergreen Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery complement the one of the most deadly strikers in Europe in Robert Lewandowski.

Germany's 2014 World Cup winning squad contained seven Bayern Munich players, as does the squad announced by Joachim Löw this week for the upcoming pre-World Cup friendlies against Spain and Brazil.

Having opened a new €70-million youth academy this year, Bayern are investing heavily in future talent as well.

The best coaches and personnel

Despite winning the league, Carlo Ancelotti's short reign showed that a top coach is required to turn a top squad into a team.

Pep Guardiola revolutionized Bayern's style of play and made changes that spread like ripples throughout the Bundesliga, influencing Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund in particular.

Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to the treble in 2013, takes a slightly less hands-on approach but is an expert in man-management and knows how to get the best of his players. He introduced extra training sessions after coming out of retirement to replace Ancelotti and the effect was immediately visible in Bayern's performances.

Higher up, Bayern make an effort to fill key positions with people who know the club inside out. CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made 416 appearances for Bayern as a player, club president Uli Hoeness played 336 times. Philipp Lahm retired at the end of last season and has also been tipped for a future role at the club.

Read more: What can be done about Bayern Munich's dominance?

UEFA Champions League Achtelfinale | Besiktas Istanbul - FC Bayern München | Jupp Heynckes (Reuters/M. Sezer)

Bayern legend Jupp Heynckes is currently back for his fourth spell as coach


Bayern Munich recorded the fourth-highest revenues in world football last year — €587.8 million ($723m) according to the 2018 Deloitte Football Money League. Borussia Dortmund (€332.6m) and Schalke (€230.2m) were the only other Bundesliga clubs to make the top 20.

Bayern's revenues are derived principally from lucrative sponsorship deals and a large share of Bundesliga television money. Last season, they received €95.84m from the German Football League (DFL) – almost 10% of the total amount. They also pocketed another €86.9m from Champions League television and prize money.

Main shirt sponsor Telekom pays €35m per year as part of a deal which lasts until 2023, while Bayern's other "big three" sponsors, Adidas, Audi and Allianz, hold 8.33% stakes in club's professional football team – the FC Bayern München AG.

Crucially, however, the parent club itself (the FC Bayern München eV) retains 75% of the shares, ensuring that Bayern Munich adhere to German football's 50+1 rule, which CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has nevertheless called to be scrapped. 

Bayern recently announced a controversial new partnership with the Hamad International Airport in Qatar, much to the displeasure of a section of their match-going supporters, who frequently express their opposition to sponsorship deals involving states with questionable human rights records.

Fußball Europa League Borussia Dortmund vs RB Salzburg (Reuters/W. Rattay)

Borussia Dortmund are just one of the teams who have tried and failed to catch Bayern

Weakness of the opposition

While Bayern Munich do a lot of things right, their opponents also get a lot of things wrong.

Off the pitch, Borussia Dortmund have attempted to follow in Bayern's footsteps by building a global corporate identity around the slogan "Echte Liebe" — true love — and have opened offices in Singapore and Shanghai to serve a growing international fan base.

But on the pitch, this season's humilating Champions League and Europa League exits show they have failed to build on the foundations laid by Jürgen Klopp between 2008 and 2015, when BVB won back-to-titles and reached the Champions League final.

Opinion: Peter Stöger proves he is not a permanent solution after Salzburg fiasco

Despite promises to the contrary from CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, Dortmund have frequently been forced into selling their best players. Mats Hummels followed Robert Lewandowski to Bayern while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gündogan headed to different sides of Manchester. Last season, Ousmane Dembélé was prised away by Barcelona before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced a move to Arsenal.

Thirty kilometers down the road in Gelsenkirchen, Schalke's list of departed talents includes Julian Draxler, Mesut Özil, Leroy Sané and Manuel Neuer. The next name will be Leon Goretzka.

Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach have failed to capitalize on various spells in the Champions League while traditional giants such as Hamburg, Cologne, Bremen and Stuttgart lurch from one crisis to the next.

It's not just that Bayern are good, the rest of the league needs to take a look at itself too.

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