There is a bit of an oddball thing happening of late and it’s going down on a seemingly daily basis: Bayern Munich is (**gasp**)...being appreciated by non-Bayern fans.
It seems like every other day there is some organization recognizing or awarding a Bayern Munich player — or manager — with some honor.
Sure, winning the treble will have that effect, but after years of hearing Bayern Munich fans bemoaning the lack of respect for players like Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba, Manuel Neuer, et al., it appears that the Bavarians have finally gotten their due.
Nowhere was this more obvious than with ESPN’s Top 100. Aside of top-ranked players Neuer, Lewandowski, and Kimmich, the Bavarians placed a total of 11 players among the top ten at their respective positions (including Thiago Alcantara, who spent most of his year playing with Bayern Munich before moving to Liverpool):
- Manuel Neuer: No.1 goalkeeper
- Benjamin Pavard: No.3 right-back
- David Alaba: No.3 center-back
- Alphonso Davies: No.2 left-back
- Thiago Alcantara: No.2 central midfielder (now with Liverpool)
- Joshua Kimmich: No.1 central midfielder
- Leon Goretzka: No.5 attacking midfielder
- Thomas Müller: No.2 attacking midfielder
- Kingsley Coman: No.7 winger
- Serge Gnabry: No.3 winger
- Robert Lewandowski: No.1 striker
- Hansi Flick: No.2 manager
Frankly, that’s impressive...and also ABOUT FREAKING TIME.
And it’s not just Bayern Munich being lavished with praise either. Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland just won the Golden Boy award as well.
A Farmers League indeed.
Even with that acknowledgement and respect being shown, some haters and conspiracy theorists have emerged with their own Bayern takes including claims of recency bias (okay...maybe that’s legit) and also that ESPN is just trying to pump up its recent investment in the Bundesliga (that would never happen, would it?).
Whatever the case, it is good to sit back and see other people actually appreciate the players that we all watch excel on a weekly basis. For all of the faults and failures worldwide in 2020, some football fans being exposed to the consistent greatness of Joshua Kimmich, the ridiculous scoring ability of Robert Lewandowski, the inherently impactful presence of Thomas Muller, or just the outstanding play of Manuel Neuer in between the sticks represents at least one good thing that has come of this year.
Even with that, though...I’m still a little pissed about Flick losing out to Jurgen Klopp.
I guess you just can’t take the chip off the shoulder of us fans of this here Farmers League...even if you keep showering our guys with awards.
Lost classic: Appreciating Bare Jr.’s little known “Boo-tay”
I often wax poetic about the many great things from the 1980s here, but my adolescence was spent mostly in the 90s and back in 1999 I randomly heard a track on my local alt-rock station from Bare Jr. that opened my mind to one of the albums I still spin on a regular basis (well, at least call up on iTunes).
The track was “You Blew Me Off”, which I still think is just a fantastic song, but it was far from the only really good tune on the album. I took a chance and ordered the CD based on the one song I had heard and basically ended up wearing the thing down.
With “Nothin’ Better To Do”, “The Most”, “Tobacco Spit”, “Patty McBride” and “Give Nothing Away” as standout tracks, the album is full of absolute bangers and I didn’t regret one penny of the money I spent buying the album.
The band was eponymously named after front man Bobby Bare Jr. and the group’s style of music was defined as “Roots Rock”, but I’d classify it as more of some sort of “Southern Alt-Rock.” Whatever, it hit me in such a way that I’ve never gotten sick of it. Music also has a funny way of triggering thoughts and feelings and I’ve got a lot of fond emotions that I think about when listening.
Specifically, I have a lot of fond memories of listening to the CD. I used drive cross-state to Pittsburgh to cover the Pennsylvania State Ice Hockey championships in the early aughts. With a 4.5-hour drive ahead of me for that trek, “Boo-tay” was always the first CD that I tossed into my car stereo. I also used to jam to it while working overtime and pushing paper for a Dutch publishing company that I worked at in my first real job out of college.
While many of you might not know of Bare, Jr., you might have heard of his dad, Bobby Bare, Sr., who was also a noted musician. In trying to compare himself to his old man, Bare, Jr. offered up a classic quote:
“[My dad] is three times the singer I am. Once the audience sees him perform, they’ll realize I’m only using 10 percent of my genetic potential. I’ll be exposed for my slacker attitude.”
Bare, Jr. also once said that he is someone who avoided “working a real job at any cost” — and you know what, I admire that! The office drone life isn’t for everyone and it takes guts to carve out your own niche.
Anyway, I absolutely love the full album and maybe if you are inspired, you’ll give it a listen some time. Here is “You Blew Me Off”, which I always thought would be the perfect music for a boxing or mixed martial arts villain-type:
Is it possible for any Bundesliga squad to potentially look past Bayern Munich? In this case with its Champions League fate in the balance next Tuesday, RB Leipzig could have a bigger, more important fixture just ahead of them.
To control its own destiny, Die Roten Bullen need a win over Manchester United to ensure it advances to the knockout stages of the UCL. While Julian Nagelsmann is a tremendous manager, even he might be tempted to put a little more emphasis on the Red Devils as opposed to Die Roten.
Whatever the case, RB Leipzig’s offense has been inconsistent (at best) since Timo Werner bolted for Chelsea, while Bayern Munich essentially gave Robert Lewandowski, Leon Goretzka, and Kingsley Coman the week off — while also limiting the workload for Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry.
This should be a spot where the Bavarians just come out and show they are the better, deeper side...and they will.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 RB Leipzig
Now on to our guest prognosticators:
Marcus Iredahl: Bayern start very well and will be the better team the first half (Lewandowski goal in the 9th minute). Leipzig, however, claws themselves back into the game in the second and gets a penalty (Emil Forsberg in the 56th minute). The rest of the game is back-and-forth with Neuer and Lewy (goal — 85th minute) again being the difference for Flick’s side. Flick won’t set up his team as offensively in terms of the height of the back line and pressuring. The game will, in many ways, resemble Bayern’s 1-0 victory to Dortmund in April 2020.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 RB Leipzig
Fergus25: I predict a smashing Bayern victory against a Leipzig side which may be more focused on Champions League survival vs. Manchester United — it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Leipzig to rest key personnel this game. Bayern’s previous games against the Lawnballers have been really high-level draws, but the Bavarians, with key personnel fully rested, should simply have more energy. It should be an exhilarating affair. Best defense vs best offense. A poor offense vs a poor defense. I can’t wait.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 RB Leipzig
Below, are the predictions for the rest of the Bundesliga slate:
- Hertha Berlin 2-2 Union Berlin
- Arminia Bielefeld 1-2 Mainz 05
- Eintracht Frankfurt 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
- FC Köln 1-3 Wolfsburg
- SC Freiburg 2-3 Borussia Monchengladbach
- Werder Bremen 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
- Schalke 04 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen 04
- Hoffenheim 3-2 FC Augsburg
I had the correct line of thinking on the Bayern Munich-Atletico Madrid tilt, but thought the Bavarians would eek out a win instead of a draw. Regardless, I am pretty happy about where the overall record is at this point.
The guest prognosticators are still undefeated as Samrin_TwinkleFCB pulled out a massive draw prediction.
Last Bundesliga match day record: 6-3
Last Champions League match day record: 0-1
Overall record: 47-39*
Guest predictors of Bayern Munich games: 16-0 (?!)* — We should probably quit here and hang a banner in the BFW virtual office, but we will push forward!
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)