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20 Nov 2011 17:46
Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said at the beginning of the week that it was much too early to start thinking about trophies.
“Football is only ever about a snapshot in time. Let me repeat my warning: it’s November, and the trophies are handed out in May,” he said.
Rummenigge’s statement proved to be rather prophetic as the 22-time German champions slumped to their third Bundeliga defeat of the season, losing 1-0 at home against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Juergen Klopp, who last year guided Dortmund to their seventh title, said before the match that no other club in Germany would say before playing in Munich that they are going to win.
“But we are certainly not going to Munich to lose,” Klopp said.
His words too proved prophetic as Mario Goetze’s second-half goal threw a title race, which had seemingly been heading towards boredom, wide open.
Like in the earlier defeats against Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hanover 96, there was no late-goal that rescued Bayern.
The writing was on the wall earlier though and in their last Bundesliga match, which they won 2-1 at bottom-placed Augsburg, the club from the Bavarian capital were outplayed at the end and Augsburg were unlucky not to come away from the game with at least a draw.
There will be those who point to the absence of inspirational German midfielder Bastian Scheinsteiger, out for several weeks after breaking his collarbone during a Champions League match, or the injury to Dutch midfield maestro Arjen Robben, who is only coming back from a seven week lay-off, as the reason for the defeat.
But given the quality of the players on the bench - five internationals were on the bench against Dortmund - any team that claims to be invincible should be able to find the reserves to keep winning -irrespective of missing a few players or not.
But then, if truth be told, it was never Bayern players or officials that claimed they were invincible.
It was the German media who were already making comparisons with Barcelona after Bayern had rushed from victory to victory.
After losing their opening game of the season at home to Moenchengladbach, Bayern embarked on a run of 13 games without defeat, scoring 33 goals and conceding just one in their run, which included only two draws.
All of that led to the media describing them as the team to challenge Barcelona—that is, until Saturday.
Of course, it would now be just as premature to say the Bayern season is collapsing, as it was wrong to describe Bayern as invincible.
Borussia Dortmund showed that they are not invincible.
Bayern Munich are, undoubtedly, a very strong team and can take on the best Europe has to offer.
However, whether they are good enough to beat the best—like Barcelona—remains to be seen.—Sapa
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