When do you normally win a league title? Well, if you look around Europe’s top five leagues, you’ll know that sometimes it’s a close affair, sometimes it even comes down to the final matchday, but also that sometimes it’s over well in advance. For instance, England and Italy had razor-close title races last season, while the champions of France, Spain, and of course Germany enjoyed less pressure in the final matchdays.
As a team that has won ten league titles in a row, Bayern Munich have had their share of different title races, some going down to the final wire and some being pretty relaxed. Today’s chapter will take a look at the polar opposites: the earliest title clinched, and the latest.
Bayern Munich made history by winning their tenth straight Bundesliga title in a row, a new record for Europe’s top five leagues. The Serienmeister Stream is a ten-part stream that covers ten special aspects of that glorious decade-long run. Enjoy!
Earliest: 2013/14 - Matchday 27, March 25
The 2013/14 season was the first season under Pep Guardiola, and the one right after Jupp Heynckes’ record breaking season. All eyes were on Guardiola to see if he could continue Jupp’s reign of glory. Well, it turns out he could, at least domestically.
Bayern started the season off with six wins and a draw, the latter away to SC Freiburg. However, it took eight matchdays for Bayern to finally get to the top of the table with a draw against Bayer Leverkusen. From then on, it was smooth sailing. Bayern picked up win after win until they faced second placed Borussia Dortmund. Yet BVB became merely another victim to Bayern’s rampage as the Bavarians defeated them 3-0 in their own backyard to solidify their place at the top of the table.
In the last five matches of the year, Bayern only conceded one goal while scoring 18. The new year brought some more joy to the fans with a ten-game winning streak, breezing past nemesis Borussia Mönchengladbach and avenging their dropped points to Freiburg and Leverkusen. After 26 matchdays, Bayern only needed one more win to successfully defend the Bundesliga crown. A trip to Berlin awaited. Would it be the final step?
Two quickfire goals from Toni Kroos and Mario Götze found Bayern two up at halftime, and although they conceded a penalty in the second half, Franck Ribéry got on the scoresheet to give Bayern a well-deserved victory in the German capital. Bayern had won the Bundesliga again, and had broken the record they had set just a year ago for the fastest ever Bundesliga win. No team had ever won the Bundesliga on Matchday 27, much less in late March.
Although the team went on a slight slump in the next three matches, it was nothing to be concerned about as they picked up their pace and ended the season with four straight wins. It was a highly successful season, and a memorable one at that. Guardiola’s time at Bayern may be looked on with scrutiny, but he did have his moments, and this Bundesliga season was one of them.
Latest: 2018/19 - Matchday 34, May 18
Bayern’s ten straight Bundesliga wins were not all smooth sailing. One season in particular was a mad, season-long dash for the title. Niko Kovač’s side was not in a good place in the Hinrunde. Four straight wins to start the season saw Bayern on top of the league, but they plummeted to as low as sixth place after a three-game winless streak. Although the team pieced together two wins, another three-game winless run saw them in fifth, outside the Champions League spots, nine points off leaders Dortmund, and well and truly out of the title race.
Or at least that’s what everyone thought.
A sudden resurgence in November saw Bayern creep up the table with five straight wins to close out the year (and this writer was live in the stadium for the last two), keeping four clean sheets and conceding only once. The turn of the year saw Bayern start strong once again. Despite a 1-3 defeat to Leverkusen, the team otherwise took their job very seriously and didn’t drop any more points until March. In the process, they finally reclaimed their spot at the top of the Bundesliga after a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg.
A 1-1 draw to Freiburg momentarily saw Bayern drop back to second, but a mammoth 5-0 drubbing of Dortmund got them back to first just a week later. Dortmund dropped even more points while Bayern kept gaining them, and the seemingly insurmountable nine-point gap was soon extended to four points in favor of Bayern with only two games remaining.
Bayern dropped points in their penultimate match against RB Leipzig (whom they beat soundly two weeks later in the DFB-Pokal final), and the gap was reduced to two points going into the final matchday. A win against Eintracht Frankfurt would see Bayern crowned champions, but a draw would also do thanks to an overwhelming goal difference.
The defending champions did not leave anything to chance, however, and went ahead quickly through Kingsley Coman. Although they conceded an equalizer, they got another two quick goals through David Alaba and Renato Sanches to put the game to bed. Departing legends Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben got a goal apiece as well to crown a 5-1 win for Bayern, and their seventh successive Bundesliga title.
And so it was. A nearly impossible task had been completed. From nine points down to two points clear, Bayern didn’t give up until the very last second, and they were rewarded for their gargantuan efforts. This season may have been a hard fought one, but it was also one that showed Bayern’s winning mentality, a trait that precious few other teams can match in equal measure. A trait that led Bayern to the top of the world multiple times, to the top of Europe six times, and of course, to the top of Germany ten years in a row.