When it comes to the Bundesliga, from the outside looking in, it’s easy to be susceptible to adopting the opinion that it’s not a collectively competitive league due to Bayern Munich’s heavy dominance over the past decade.
The Rekordmeister are currently on pace to collect their tenth consecutive Meisterschale, which only helps aide the outside perspective that the Bundesliga is only a one horse race and what people refer to as a “farmer’s league.”
There have been talks among the DFL and DFB recently to reexamine something that’s been discussed in the past, which is to add a playoff system to the Bundesliga to make it more exciting, especially to the outside viewer. Surprisingly, Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn is not opposed to this idea at all and is actually quite a supporter for adopting something like this. “Of course, the league would be more attractive if it had more competition at the top. There are no sacred cows for me. If play-offs help us, then we’ll talk about play-offs,” Kahn recently said when he was asked about the league potentially adopting a playoff system (kicker).
While it would greatly increase the risk of Bayern potential missing out on more Bundesliga titles, Kahn is a big advocate for doing anything that could benefit the league overall, and a playoff system is something he feels could be positive. “I think it’s exciting to think about new models like play-offs for the Bundesliga. After all, a new format is also taking hold in the Champions League from 2024, and we expect a lot from it. A mode in the Bundesliga with semifinals and finals would mean excitement for the fans. So it makes sense to play through such an idea. We at FC Bayern are always open to new ideas,” he explained.
The DFL has said they want to have “open discussions” regarding playoffs, but not everyone is as on board as Kahn and FC Bayern. For example, per kicker’s survey, there is already an overwhelming majority against installing a playoff system. Some of the league’s main playoff opposition include Rudi Völler of Bayer Leverkusen, Markus Krösche of Eintracht Frankfurt, and Dirk Zingler of Union Berlin. Ironically, the clubs they represent could benefit from a potential playoff system, but they would still rather have a champion crowned after 34 match weeks in the Bundesliga.
The DFL also recently responded to kicker when they were asked how far along discussions were in terms of introducing a playoff system. The replied, “as is well known, there are various ideas in the league with regard to the playing mode, but they are currently far from a decision and certainly far from implementation. Such a far-reaching decision must be preceded by an intensive and structured dialog with the clubs and the relevant league bodies, taking into account all the arguments. The DFL will carefully prepare this open-ended discussion process and conduct it together with the clubs in the coming months.”