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SBD Global/March 24, 2014/International Football

Bayern Munich's Dominance Leaves Bundesliga Teams Playing Among Themselves

The last time Bayern Munich lost in the Bundesliga was in Oct. '12, "more than 50 league games ago," according to Joshua Robinson of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Since then, "it has rampaged to 44 victories, six draws and picked up last season's league championship in the process." According to some of its rivals, the club may be "heading for a less praiseworthy achievement: killing the Bundesliga." Jan-Henrik Gruszecki, a founder of Borussia Dortmund's largest fan group, The Unity, said, "The Bundesliga is the most boring league in the world for me now." These "are historic levels of dominance." Brilliant as Bayern has been, however, "this season's chasm atop the German standings is more an indictment of the Bundesliga than anything else." Borussia Mönchengladbach Sporting Dir Max Eberl said, "We have to do everything [so] that Bayern's not the dominating team for the next five years. That's our work." According to Deloitte, Bayern "is by far the richest club in Germany and the fourth-richest club in the world." In '11-12, the most recent season for which there are figures, it raked in €368M ($507M) in revenue -- "more than its two closest financial rivals, Dortmund and Schalke, put together." Still, the Bundesliga's so-called 50+1 system, "which requires almost every team to be majority-controlled by the club's members, is the envy of soccer purists." The model "has helped stave off massive debt and kept away the free-spending sugar daddies who rock the competitive balance overnight, all while maintaining affordable ticket prices." Before last season's Champions League final, news broke that the club had agreed to sign Dortmund playmaker Mario Götze in the summer -- "a transfer market power play if ever there was one." Bayern "will also pick up Dortmund's best striker, Robert Lewandowski, at the end of this season and is rumored to be interested in Schalke wunderkind Julian Draxler." None of these players "are exactly bargains." So the silver lining for rivals "is that they can charge top dollar when they see Bayern coming." But that does not change the fact that the Bavarians can acquire finished products -- and hold on to them -- "while others must grow their own world-class talent, while rebuilding every year" (WSJ, 3/20).
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