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With a bit of surprise resistance from RB Leipzig last season, Bayern Munich still managed to stroll their way to their fifth Bundesliga title in five years. Expected to dominate once more this season, Bayern required a penalty shootout to overcome Borussia Dortmund in the German Supercup after a 2-2 game.
So, have Borussia Dortmund used the summer to close the gap on Bayern Munich or were the reigning champions simply a bit rusty coming into the game?
After the German Supercup final, star striker Robert Lewandowski claimed that the team is very strong, saying: “We will surely be as strong as in the last or the second-to-last year.” The Polish sniper isn’t wrong either.
Bayern Munich spent the summer making a great team even greater, with the permanent addition of French wunderkind Kingsley Coman, centre-mid ace Corentin Tolisso for €41.5 million from Olympique Lyonnais; the future of Germany’s defence in Niklas Sule, defensive midfielder Sebastian Rudy for free, and they loaned in the fleet-footed Colombian James Rodriguez.
They would have been favoured upon exiting the 2016/17 season but, after this grand player haul, Bayern Munich have seemingly become a sure thing to win the league at 1/7, with Borussia Dortmund at 7/1 in the Bundesliga betting. But, where their targets will most likely lie, due to the ease of their passage to becoming Bundesliga champions once more, will be in the Champions League, for which they are joint-second favourites at 6/1 to win.
Bayern Munich’s squad has been bulked-up and stacked-out to accommodate their battle on all fronts in 2017/18 and yet winning the league may be one of their easiest tasks. Bayern certainly have the star power and managerial talents in Carlo Ancelotti to keep consistent throughout the season and avoid dropping too many points.
It seems like a very long time ago when Borussia Dortmund last properly challenged for the title, let alone won the Bundesliga, and now, with Peter Bosz in charge for his first season, they don’t look like making up much ground.
Reinforcing their team up the middle with Omer Toprak, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Mahmoud Dahoud, and Maximilian Philipp, Dortmund have added depth but they haven’t been able to improve the starting XI greatly. The main source of improvement will come from young stars like Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, and Felix Passlack naturally moving more towards fulfilling their lofty potential.
Injuries have flooded Borussia Dortmund, but that’s been the story of many of their stars, such as Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze, and Andre Schurrle during their various spells at the club. Unfortunately, until the Signal Iduna Park residents can keep their stars – not let Bayern Munich snatch them – and build a strong and established set of players around them, they won’t be able to challenge for the Bundesliga without serious investment.
So, as the new Bundesliga season comes closer, it seems inevitable that Bayern Munich will win the title for the sixth time in as many years, further cementing their German football dynasty. The real challenge for them will come on the European stage, which they are expected to excel on.