Today I write to you about another typical week in Germany’s Bundesliga. Dortmund won again, McClaren’s Wolfsburg displayed another disappointing performance, Luca Toni moaned about Van Gaal, and Stuttgart continued their fantastically comical season of persistently trying to get themselves relegated.
There wasn’t even any last minute transfer drama to get excited about, with the entire German market costing less than Señor Torres’ controversial move to Chelsea. But beyond the minute transfer dealings, and predictable match results. Something is brewing, a giant awakening.
I’m talking, of course, of Fußball Club Bayern München and their late arrival to the title chase.
The Bavarians polished off a convincing 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen last Saturday, finding themselves on a five game undefeated streak that began on December 12th and perhaps more importantly, 3rd in the league and only three points behind Bayer Leverkusen.
The victory over Werder Bremen proved a rather fitting example of the change in the wind at Munich. After Per Mertesacker put Bremen in front. It was Arjen Robben, who has been so desperately absent from the side, who struck back first for Munich before the side went on to dominate the game and claim all three points.
The Dutch winger had a nightmarish start to the season after scans confirmed that his hamstring hadn’t healed properly while away at the World Cup with Holland and would be out for 2 months. Robben picked up 23 goals for Munich last season as he helped guide the team to an unrivaled title alongside a Champions League venture to the final that left us all a little baffled, and Madrid fans a little bitter.
While out injured, the club struggled to cope with only four wins in their first ten games, failing to score in five of them. As dropping points to notably smaller sides like Hamburg and Borussia Monchengladbach emphasized a side that didn’t look fit for the title.
With 2 goals in his first three games back, it would seem that the club can rest assured that the Arjen Robben of last season is still well and truly alive inside those glass hamstrings. Alongside Robben, the club can call upon new signing Luis Gustavo to push further up the table. The Brazilian defensive midfielder had been in excellent form all season with Hoffeinheim prior to the transfer and offer’s Bayern a quick like-for-like replacement for ex-captain and universal hate figure, Mark Van Bommel.
The Munich side have often looked vulnerable defensively this season, conceding at least two goals in a game seven times this season and a defensive record that’s twice as shameful than their neighbours in Dortmund. Munich fans will be hopeful that the new Brazilian, coupled with young starlet keeper Thomas Kraft, can help plug the holes at the back that had limited the side’s performances earlier in the season.
Another fact that may sway things in Bayern’s favour, is Borussia Dortmund themselves. Despite the club bouncing back in splendid fashion after their 1-1 draw with Stuggart, with a fantastic 3-0 route of Wolfsburg. It wouldn’t be so far-fetched to expect other sides to pick up points off the trend setter’s, none other than Bayern themselves who’ll be desperate to prove this side are mortal, when the Black and Yellows visit the Allianz Arena at the end of the month without key playmaker and goalscorer, Shinji Kagawa. The Japanese star broke his metatarsal in the Asian Cup and will be out for the next few months as Dortmund search desperately for a player to mirror the midfielders current goal tally this season.
Whatever the result on the February 24th, one feature that will remain constant, will be the Bundesliga’s unrivaled ability to allow a platform for eighteen teams to offer an even league that wont stand for a dominant force for too long. Whether the resurgence of this Bayern Munich side, is an early indication of that, is yet to be seen.