We’ve heard just about every dig against both the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich. People who don’t support it have an affinity for referring to the Bundesliga as a “farmer’s league” and have a tendency to write off interest because Bayern has had so much continued dominance.
Current Arsenal and former Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper had some choice words for Bayern and the Bundesliga. Speaking on SWR’s podcast called Steil (via Metro), Leno referred to Bayern’s superiority in the league as “boring and sad.” He even went as far as saying that every Bundesliga season is already over before it even starts, alluding to the fact that Bayern has won seven consecutive titles: “Bayern is already a champion, as always. It is boring and sad. One wishes an exciting championship fight, but I don’t see any exciting championship in the near future. Bayern is too strong there.”
Of course, Leno spent seven years with Leverkusen and suffered defeats at the hands of Bayern on numerous occasions, so there’s certainly a speculation of bias to his remarks. He made a total of 233 league appearances for Die Werkself between from 2011-2018 before moving to Arsenal in the Premier League. His highest league finish with Leverkusen was in his second season there in 2012/2013 when they finished third on 65pts. They also finished third in the 2015/2016 season, but they only recorded 60pts that season. They never made it past the Champions League or Europa League round of 16 during his tenure there, which may have contributed to his decision to make a move abroad to the Premier League.
He said that London was just a desired destination for him and he also feels that the best goalkeepers in the world play in the Premier League: “I really wanted to go abroad, London is a mega city for me. In the Premier League we have the best goalkeepers because there are so many top goalkeepers here. To be honest I study every time I’m watching football. I look at the keepers, the game and the strikers.”
While his intentions for leaving Leverkusen may have been good, was it necessary for Leno to come out and knock Bayern and the Bundesliga? After all, last season went down to the last match day to decide who won the title, and the rest of the league has been gradually closing the gap on Bayern. It’s difficult to use this season as a barometer, too, because the coronavirus pandemic severely changed everything. Bayern certainly benefits more than some of the clubs in the middle and lower end of the table with Geisterspiele matches, especially when they’re the away team and don’t face pressure from the opposing fans.