Bayern Munich are once again Bundesliga winners. The 28-time Champions’ seventh successive win was certainly the hardest and most unlikely, all thanks to Borussia Dortmund.

 The Westphalia giants made a push for their first title since 2012 but ultimately came up short to the Bavarians. Beyond the disappointment of losing it despite Bayern’s early-season slump, this was by no means an expected title push.

 It was meant to be a transitional first season at Dortmund for manager Lucien Favre. He utilised a tantalising mix of youth and experience. Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, Christian Pulisic, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Abdou Diallo and Manuel Akanji are young players who had telling impacts in 2018/19. Alongside BVB legends Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and 33-year-old Lukasz Piszczek. Sancho had a breakthrough season with 12 goals and 14 assists for the 19-year-old; while Marco Reus was able to stay fit for most of the season and notched 17 goals and nine assists.

Paco Alcácer was a goalscoring wildcard for Lucien Favre. Image: 2019 DFL

 It was certainly a successful summer on the recruitment front as new players became vital members of the team. Paco Alcácer netted 18 league goals, 12 of those as a substitute, a Bundesliga record. Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney formed a solid midfield partnership; Hakimi was proving himself to be Africa’s finest fullback until his season-ending injury and Diallo was consistent in defence.

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 The first Klassiker between the title-chasers was a resounding 3-2 win for Dortmund; and I recall reporting it felt like a pendulum shift. Having topped the league for most of the first half of the season; Dortmund had a six-point advantage at the start of the year that became nine. The 5-0 trashing in the second Klassiker was the decisive moment in the title race for a much-improved Bayern.

Manager Niko Kovač is doused in beer during Bayern’s title celebrations. Image: Reuters

 The Bavarians overcame several squad issues with their new manager and had to win 18 of their final 22 matches. Bayern are used to winning the title with a handful of matches to go; and infact had not seen the title decided on the final day since 2009. It is huge credit to Dortmund for pushing them this far in what surpassed a transitional season. Despite some disappointment that would linger in BVB hearts, Bayern have shown their status as continental giants with an incredible fightback.

Franck Ribéry enjoys a passionate goal celebration on his final appearance for Bayern Munich. Image: DFL via Getty Images 

 The champions would be sure to face a brighter, more experienced Dortmund looking to add to their five titles next season. As BVB plot Bayern’s downfall over the summer, so are the giants unwilling to rest on their laurels. The Bavarians are up for a fight and have already secured France’s world cup-winning pair of fullbacks.

 Now I suspect you already can’t wait for the start of next season. How have the dying embers of the outgoing season gone so far? Transfer rumours and what-nots as we count down to the summer international tournaments.

 Available at this time of the year; I took in a legends game in Lagos state that featured Nigeria veterans against Africa veterans. It was refreshing to see the Likes of Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Emmanuel Amunike, El Hadji Diouf, and Christian Karembeu strut their stuff; And boy have they still got it. Class is permanent, just ask Bayern Munich

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
May 19, 2019
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Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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