This season has been a bizarre one to define for Bayern Munich. Despite thoroughly disappointing exits from both the DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League, Julian Nagelsmann led Bayern to a tenth consecutive Bundesliga title.
Of course, at FC Bayern the Meisterschale is the bare minimum requirement every season, but both domestic and European cup competitions are equally as important, if not more to maintain their ranking as one of Europe’s top, elite clubs.
For non-Bundesliga fans, or even non-Bayern, Bundesliga fans, the yearning for a more competitive competition in the German top flight has perpetuated itself ever since Jurgen Klopp left Borussia Dortmund, having been the last manager to beat out Bayern to the Bundesliga title before taking his sabbatical. Naturally, Bayern want to win the title every season, but eventually their dominance will start to wane gradually. There will come a day where another club triumphantly hoists the Meisterschale into the air.
Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn recently explained in an interview with Suddeutsche Zeitung (transcribed via @iMiaSanMia on Twitter) that both he, and the club, are open to having a closer title race in Germany, but that it will never lessen Bayern’s ambitions of winning every season. “We at FC Bayern have nothing against a title race with a lot of excitement, on the contrary. But in the end with FC Bayern as German champions. Of course I know that all non-Bayern fans want more excitement in the title race. But the competition has to ensure an exciting race,” he explained.
For most Bundesliga seasons in the recent past, Bayern has had the usual suspects of direct rivals. Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, and even Schalke 04 (before they were relegated) had been in and around the top four for most of any given campaign. Fortunately for Bayern, their direct rivals seem to slip-up at inopportune times and take points off of one another, only aiding in Bayern’s efforts to keep a decent gap between themselves and the rest of the pack. This season was no different as Dortmund, Leipzig, and Leverkusen all endured torrid spells of form at one point or another.
Still, Kahn knows that Bayern’s rivals will continue gunning to knock them off their perch and that it’s up to them to ensure that doesn’t happen. “Clubs like Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig or Bayer Leverkusen will do everything they can to oust us from first place - and we will do everything we can to ensure they don’t succeed,” he explained.
Taking a few steps back and taking the proverbial Bayern hat off, Kahn also explained that a more competitive Bundesliga will bigger stars will help generate more interest in the league as a whole, and thus, more viewership. “More stars in the league, an exciting title race, that helps with the sale of TV rights in Germany and abroad. And this is exactly where we have recently lost ground dramatically,” he stressed. Germany being one of the last European countries to allow fans back into venues a la coronavirus guidelines certainly didn’t help their case, but there are still other solutions that will help broaden the Bundesliga’s scope in the European footballing realm.
Moving forward, Kahn stressed that Bayern is open and willing to work in concert with the other Bundesliga clubs and the DFL to help find solutions to raise the Bundesliga’s global profile. He wants there to be far more sustained success in the Champions League from club’s from Germany’s top flight. “We are happy to work together with the DFL on solutions how the top German clubs can keep up in the Champions League. Because without success in the Champions League, the entire Bundesliga will continue to lose ground in marketing, and that will ultimately affect all clubs. It is our goal to have a team that can compete for the Champions League next season, so that means we will automatically be favorites for Bundesliga title again,” he said.