Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool has dominated European football headlines this season, and for good reason: they won 26 of their first 27 matches in the Premier League, have dropped only 5 points all season, and could capture the league by an historic margin of 25 points (if not more).
But Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich has been building a résumé in the second half of the season that has come to rival — and could surpass — Liverpool’s.
Since suffering two narrow back-to-back losses, 1-2 each to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach in late November and early December, Flick’s Bayern has won 22 of their last 23 matches in all competitions, securing a record eighth consecutive Bundesliga title in the process — and is undefeated.
In that same time, Liverpool has met a starkly disappointing narrative in cup competitions in contrast to their Premier League dominance, losing four times since December and crashing out of all cups, most notably crumbling against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16. Bayern, meanwhile, find themselves in the final of the DFB-Pokal and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, having won all of their matches in the latter competition. Now in the thick of contention for the Treble, their form under Flick, especially since the loss to Mönchengladbach on December 7, comfortably eclipses Liverpool and every other club in Europe.
The magic of Bayern’s performances does not necessarily lie in their 22-of-23 winning streak since December, although it is Europe’s best in that time (Liverpool, as discussed, built a better run earlier this season); it lies instead in the astounding manner in which Bayern has won those matches. In Flick’s 29 matches in charge since his appointment on November 3, Bayern has scored 89 goals (an average of 3.07 per game) and conceded 20 (0.69 per game). That equals an average goal difference per game of 2.38 — a juggernaut figure.
Liverpool, by comparison, in their 27 matches in all competitions since November 3 have scored an average of 1.93 goals per game and conceded 0.81, a goal difference per game of 1.12. The numbers confirm: since November, Bayern has been the better match-by-match performer by far.
League(s) of Legends
Bayern’s Bundesliga form under Flick has come even to rival Liverpool’s in the Premier League. Despite writing the storyline of the season (so far) by dropping only 5 points in their 29 games and amassing an unprecedented 25-point lead in the Premier League, Liverpool’s steamrolling production in the second half of the season has been matched and even surpassed by Hansi Flick’s Roten. Jürgen Klopp’s Reds have averaged 2.83 points per game since November 9, the day of Flick’s Bundesliga debut; as this FiveThirtyEight report shows, that average is by far the best the Premier League has ever seen. Bayern, meanwhile, have averaged a competitive 2.64 points per game. Since December 14, however, when they embarked on their current 18-game unbeaten league run, Bayern has averaged 2.89 points per game, besting Liverpool’s 2.77 over the same period.
In terms of average league match performance, Bayern has altogether eclipsed Liverpool. With 68 goals scored and 15 conceded in 22 Bundesliga matches since Flick’s takeover, Bayern has averaged a goal difference per game of 2.41 (3.09 goals for, 0.68 goals against). Liverpool, meanwhile, through 18 matches has scored 41 and conceded 12, amounting to an average goal difference of 1.61 (2.28 goals for, 0.67 goals against).
Since their defenses average in lockstep with one another, the clear difference between the sides is offensive clinicality: Bayern is winning their matches by an average of nearly one goal more than Liverpool and operating with more than 35% higher scoring production. Such cross-league comparisons are not a one-to-one appraisal; however, in the context of a weak Premier League and a relatively strong Bundesliga (Bayern lead by 10 points, and 2nd through 5th positions are separated by 7 points), Bayern’s league performance stands to rival Liverpool’s in the run-in to the end of their seasons.
The Meisterschale already on its way back to the trophy room in Munich, Bayern will look to see through their final two league matches in continent-best style. Liverpool will also put their blow-out league race to bed in a matter of days as they return to action on Sunday, but they will have their work cut out for them should they try to reach the explosive, comprehensive heights of Hansi Flick’s squad. The Premier League trophy will feel worth more than its weight in gold in their hands, but they will be holding it at home as they watch a superior Bayern side vie for the Treble — and maybe, while they’re at it, steal the season headlines all for themselves.