It seems as though there is a belief growing that Bayern Munich are not the unbeatable force they were during their peak form. Bayer Leverkusen’s sporting director and former German international Rudi Völler thinks that Leverkusen are poised to make a real threat to Bayern’s hopeful title:
“I do think that we as a group have moved closer to Bayern,” Völler told kicker.
Not only in the competition for Champions League but for table leaders as well. However, there are some unexpected names in the mix. Union Berlin’s surge has been the story of the season, but two straight defeats have hurt their European hopes.
Two of the biggest surprises, have been Wolfsburg and Frankfurt. Both on hot streaks of their own and entering Matchday 19 with each having only two losses on the season. No team has fewer losses, and Bayern are the only other team with just two defeats.
“Wolfsburg and Frankfurt are also getting on us from behind. That makes things more exciting,” said Völler. “We’re not forming a closed society behind FC Bayern, which many might believe.”
As it stands, there are only six points between 2nd place Leipzig and 7th place Dortmund, however, there already seven points separating Die Roten and Die Roten Bullen. This is the largest gap for the table leaders we’ve seen this so far this season.
Bayern Munich are the clear favourites at this point, and look like they are on their way to their ninth straight domestic title. Meanwhile, the race for European competition is wide open with the entire top half of the table with their names in the mix.
But Völler sees weaknesses in the record champions, “Bayern now have to push their limits more often.”
It is true that weaknesses have been shown by the Bavarians, their gap would be quite outstanding to be surmounted by the end of the season. Bayern Munich is especially world-class in the final stages of the season, so it would take something special for Leipzig or Leverkusen to sit atop the table after Matchday 34.
Anything can happen, however, and that is the beauty of the sport.