FC Bayern Munich: The Respect Question

Alex Grimm

"Nothing lasts forever." A sarcastic comment followed a rather generous comment about Bayern's air of invincibility. Commentators seem to struggle with praising Bayern even when they are clearly miles ahead of the competition.

I have never watched a full ninety minutes of a Bayern match in English commentary without frowning at least once. Commentators find ways to throw a comment out there about the Bavarians which display their true feelings towards Bayern's invincibility. Bayern is often praised as an excellent team; this comment is almost back-handed. This is because this comment is a way of implying that FCB's players are not excellent in their own right- that they are better as a collective than as individuals.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mario Mandzukic, Jerome Boateng and Dante are some of the best players in their respective positions- they are rarely mentioned in the same breath as other excellent midfielders, strikers, defenders, etc. Appreciation for Philipp Lahm as the world's best right back has emerged only after he has been moved to midfield by Pep Guardiola.

I, your average obsessed fan, scour the web for articles on Bayern regularly. The comments vary between grudging admiration and stunning hatred. When Barcelona reigned supreme, the comments were primarily respectful ones. In some senses, this Bayern side is more dominant than the Barca sides of 2009 and 2011. Hence, this strikes me as odd.

This weekend, the best team in Europe (and yes, nobody can question that) featured against Bayer Leverkusen. The coverage this game received was poor compared to coverage of games in the Premier League such as West Brom vs. Arsenal. This goes on to show that Bayern was expected to steam roll Leverksusen.  When Bayern wins a league game, the win is considered ordinary. When Barcelona or Real Madrid wins a league game by a large margin, the praises keep coming.

PSG seems to win the admiration of commentators with the purchase of every new player. Bayern's academy is rarely appreciated for the products it produced; commentators tend to appreciate teams which are bankrolled by a billionaire more these days. During Barca's times however, they appreciated the academy endlessly. It is difficult for me to grasp exactly why Bayern cannot win the English speaking media and worldwide fans over.

This is not to say that the press does not appreciate Bayern; lavish praise is heaped upon this truly great team. However, the praise seems almost forced and a sarcastic comment usually follows. It is perhaps time that the world started giving this team the respect it deserves. However, the team itself does not care. It is dazzling us and will continue to dazzle us until we hit another great Bavarian crisis.

And a Bavarian crisis does not seem to be on the cards at the moment....

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