Bayern has dominated the Bundesliga for the past few seasons winning three consecutive league titles. They are the team to have won the league the most being crowned champions 25 times, while 1. FC Nürnberg comes in a distant second with almost three times as less titles- nine. In the last 15 seasons (2001 – 2015), Bayern were crowned champions nine times, Dortmund on three occasions and Bremen, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg with one title each. The last time Bayern really had to “fight” for the league title was in the 2009-2010 season when they finished with only a five-point lead above Schalke. Since then, they’ve won it with a 25-, 19- and 10-point lead respectively. Is there a team that can legitimately challenge Bayern this season?
Dortmund is the team that has constantly challenged Bayern’s hegemony in the past several seasons. However, following last season’s poor run of form, which led to the eventual dissolution of a seven-year partnership between Klopp and the Schwarz-Gelb, the club is in a rebuilding phase; they have a new coach and new players in addition to a new playing style and different tactics. They will need time to adjust and certainly won’t be as big of a threat as they’ve been in the past.
Schalke, another traditional German club, has won eight titles in their Bundesliga history- their last coming over 50 years ago in 1958. Considering the state of affairs at the club and having a less than competent general manager in Horst Heldt, Schalke has been unable to seriously challenge for the title in the past ten years; they finished second twice, two points behind Stuttgart in 2006-07 and as mentioned above, five points behind München in 2009-10. Apart from those two second-place finishes, Schalke has finished a distant third in 2007-08, 2011-12 and 2013-14.
Both Stuttgart and Bremen, teams that have won the league in the last 15 seasons, have been in the past five years either drawn into a battle against relegation or hovered just above the drop zone. Based on their current squads and lack of serious recruitment so far, both teams are very unlikely to even bother Bayern.
Wolfsburg, last season’s runners-up, won their first and only Bundesliga championship in the 2008-2009 season beating the Bavarians by two points. The season thereafter, they took part in their first Champions League competition and playing in two elite competitions they ended up failing to make it out of the group stage, made it only to the quarter-finals of the newly named UEFA Europa League and finished the Bundesliga season in eighth- 20 points behind the team they beat to the title the previous year. If history is anything to go by, then Wolfsburg could in end effect again fail to genuinely contest Bayern for the title. Although, if there is one team that has the potential to do so it’s them as they do have a nicely balanced team but the pressure of playing in the Champions League, competing in the DFB Pokal and the league could be too high for them and their squad may be stretched thinly as a result.
No team has ever been able to win four consecutive Bundesliga titles. The first team that was on the cusp of doing so was Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1977-1978 season. Going into the final match day, both Köln and Gladbach were tied on points with Köln holding a ten-goal advantage. Die Fohlen, as Gladbach is often called, defeated Dortmund 12-0 which would’ve been enough had Köln merely won by two goals. Gladbach, however, missed out on the title by three goals because Köln won 5-0 against St. Pauli.
Bayern, in the 1987-1988 season then had the chance to become the first team to ever win four titles in a row but faltered in the end as Bremen dominated the league that year. The Bavarian giant had yet another chance in the 2001-2002 season but lost out to Dortmund by two points and finished third behind Bayer Leverkusen.
Bayern is the first German team to win a treble- collecting the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the Champions League in the 2012-2013 season. This coming season they’ll most likely create history again by becoming the first team to win four successive Bundesliga trophies, as there really isn’t any team that I believe could truly contest them.
Shall we now congratulate the Bavarian giants on their league win?