Pep Guardiola’s Bayern have brushed off their domestic rivals with ease and are poised to become the first team to go through a Bundesliga campaign unbeaten on their way to what would be a third consecutive title.
They set more records in Friday’s 2-1 comeback win at Mainz having conceded just four goals since August and their points lead at the season’s halfway stage is also a league best.
They have dropped only six points from a possible 51 so far and post heavy wins in Germany’s top tier with monotonous regularity.
None of the chasing pack of Wolfsburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen or Schalke look realistically capable of closing the gap while last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund are languishing in the relegation places.
Ex-Germany coach Berti Vogts sparked debate about how to loosen Bayern’s iron grip on the German title by suggesting they should receive less of the league’s television revenue.
Sky currently pay 628 million euros ($768m) to televise Bundesliga games in Germany and the cash is divided up on a percentage basis with the most going to the league winner.
“We have to get to the point where we subsidise the smaller clubs, by a redistribution of the television money, for example,” suggested Vogts.
But the mere suggestion left ex-Bayern midfielder and Germany international Paul Breitner fuming.
“We (Bayern) can’t do anything about the inability of the other clubs. And if we have to bleed now, so the money is redistributed, that’s just nonsense!” he snapped.
Bayern are one of the world’s richest clubs.
They recently paid off the loan on their Allianz Arena stadium decades ahead of schedule and posted a record 528.7 million-euro turnover for the 2013/14 season, with a profit of 16.5 million euros.
– ‘Bayern in a different league’ –
German teams seem to play Bayern in more hope than expectation of claiming league points.
“Bayern Munich are in a different league, I think we can all agree on that,” said Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl after Bayern thrashed his team 4-0 at home.
And Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol reached the same conclusion before his side were duly dispatched 4-0 in Munich.
“Bayern will lose at home sooner or later, but when you lose four, five or six-nil in Munich, that’s normal,” he mused.
Having won the 2011 and 2012 German league titles, then finished runners-up to Bayern in the last two seasons, Dortmund now peer up at Guardiola’s Munich from near the foot of the table.
Having seen his top players playmaker Mario Goetze and striker Robert Lewandowski join Bayern in the last two seasons, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said any German football fan looking for a consistently successful team has only one choice.
“Anyone who just wants to be successful has only one avenue to go down: you have to be a Bayern fan,” said Klopp, tongue-in-cheek.
Klopp predicted the current league situation back in April 2013, two months before Guardiola’s arrival.
Just before Bayern beat Dortmund 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final, the German media questioned whether the Bundesliga was following the Spanish league, where two clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, traditionally dominate.
But Klopp accurately predicted the Bundesliga would mirror Scotland, where Celtic have won the last three league titles after rivals Rangers dropped out of the top flight after the club’s liquidation in 2012.
“It’s nice that people put us in the same boat as Bayern,” said Klopp in April 2013, with Dortmund second in the table, but trailing Bayern by 20 points.
“But I think from the start of next season, we’ll see that the comparison to Spain doesn’t fit, it’s more like Scotland.”
Even the league’s top scorer, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Alexander Meier, expects the trophy for the most goals this season to eventually end up in Munich.
“I don’t look at the top-scorer table and I honestly think the trophy will go to someone from Bayern,” he said.