Very few things are set in stone in the world of football. Bayern Munich to win the Bundesliga is one of them. The 2015/16 season which is still in its infancy is no different. Pep Guardiola’s side have had the best transfer window of any side in the league. The Munich giants have spent the most money and new signing Douglas Costa in particular has hit the ground running. He’s been explosive!!! Arturo Vidal has not fully integrated into the side yet. That will come. I’m guessing the language barrier has a little bit to do with that. I know that Brazilians and other Portuguese speakers find the switch to Deutsch (German) easier than most and this might have helped Costa integrate far quicker than expected.
The Elephant in the Room
Believe it or not, Pep Guardiola is not the most popular man amongst the Bayern faithful! Some fans are fed up with his constant experiments. Germans are very traditional and they believe a lot in efficiency. The constant tweaks and twists do not overly fill them with enthusiasm. The people in Bavaria (Munich and its environs) are even more imbibed in this ideology and they see themselves and Bayern as really theirs
mia san mia
which basically translates to ‘we are who we are’.
I remember going to the Allianz Arena sometime in May and some persons at the club who I spoke to at the time were not too pleased that Alonso had taken over as the main man in midfield. What happened next? Pep sold Basti! I guess that went down well with them. Of course not! Then there is the Mario Götze conundrum.
Basically, there are two Mario Götzes. One is an international superstar and toast of the country who last summer won the World Cup for his country. The other!? A benchwarmer at Pep’s Bayern. He is still very much a member of the squad, but this summer, Götze’s team explored his options critically.
The situation is not plain as day. Where does he play? Bavarian, Müller (Mister Efficiency) must always play, Costa cannot be dropped in the form he is in and with Ribery coming back, Germany’s golden boy has some problems getting into the team. Can he play as a false 9 like he does for Löw in Die Mannschaft? Lewandoski is one of the best no 9’s in the world so that option goes right out the window. If he does not get into the team by this time next year, something has to give.
The shape and make up of Pep’s midfield is also a puzzle as he keeps tinkering with it game after game. He is basically just trying experiments after experiments in the Bundesliga. Last match, he started with no center backs!!! Ultimately, the success of Pep at Bayern has to do with whether he can deliver a Champions League title or not. With his contract up at the end of the season, you get the sense that if he does not deliver the Champions League this year, he will walk.
Borussia Dortmund have flown out of the blocks this season. Tuchel’s side appear to be playing with a swagger in his early days that is reminiscent of Klopp’s best Dortmund teams. It is still early doors mind you and the fitness problems that linger over Marco Reus is a major worry as he is the go to man for the side when things get tough. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have started the season in fine fashion but with striker Adrian Ramos still misfiring, the extra quality that Marco offers is vital.
Wolfsburg’s fans would be hoping their hopes for the season did not depart with the sale of Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian was phenomenal for Wolfsburg last season notching up 10 goals and a whopping 20 assists. Everything went through the Belgian and boy did he deliver! He created chance after chance for the team and like the Super Cup game in early August against Bayern showed, he was a key key player for Dieter Hecking’s side.
The addition of Julian Draxler is a good one but the boy from Gladbeck needs to show his quality on a more consistent basis to come close to replacing the massive creative void left by De Bruyne’s departure. The talent is there however.
The title race in the Bundesliga; Oh wait, there is no title race. As annoying as that may be for Wolfsburg or Dortmund fans, it’s impossible not to admit that the Bundesliga this season like many a season is Bayern’s to lose.
Till next time folks!!
Article by Nkrumah ‘Nkay’ Offonry
Follow him on Twitter @swaynkaayyy