The following will be a special Bundesliga round 11 review, focusing mostly on the situation of Bayern Munich after their Saturday evening defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
The round happened on the back of another relatively successful week for German teams in Europe. In the Champions League, three teams are quite close to confirming their place in the Round of 16, with only TSG Hoffenheim struggling.
In the Europa League, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen have advanced to the Round of 32, with only RB Leipzig in a tight race for it.
The round 11 Bundesliga results are as follows: Hannover 96-VfL Wolsburg 2-1, Hoffenheim-FC Augsburg 2-1, Werder Bremen-Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-3, SC Freiburg-Mainz 05 1-3, Fortuna Düsseldorf- Hertha BSC Berlin 4-1, 1.FC Nuremberg-VfB Stuttgart 0-2, Dortmund-Bayern 3-2 RBL-Leverkusen 3-0 and Frankfurt- Schalke 04 3-0.
The last three results listed, pulled Bayern Munich from third place down to fifth. Seven points separate the six-time defending champions from league leaders Dortmund. Despite the fact that it is still fairly early in the season, many analysts and fans have declared the Bavarian dynasty to be over.
I agree with that assessment, because there is nothing to suggest that Bayern’s competitors will completely implode in the way they did starting about this time last season. If anything, the Reds’ crisis is more likely to exacerbate.
Coach Niko Kovač deserves the least of the blame for the current slump, in fact he may be the right man for the job at the wrong time.
The problem is twofold: Firstly, due to the continuous success on the field, the club management has failed to rejuvenate the squad. Secondly, this has created a dressing room full of alpha-males, most of whom are either underperforming, past their prime, or both.
Worst of all, these alpha-male divas feel superior to a young coach like Kovač, to the point where he has no authority over them.
After Bayern Munich brought in the experienced and respected Jupp Heynckes last season, the team won the league title, reached the German Cup final and the Champions League semifinal. That success however merely put band aid on the larger problems that manifest themselves again now.
The goal must be to get a top-four Bundesliga finish this season, before radically remaking the squad in the summer.