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Bundesliga 2018-19: Bayern Munich have come crashing down back to earth, and there may be more problems to follow

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
256   //    04 Feb 2019, 20:07 IST

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Final
Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Final

Bayern Munich have truly spoiled their fans since the 2012-13 season. That year they won the treble, consisting of the German Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League and the domestic DFB Cup.

For a long time after that, the Bavarians' dominance of the Bundesliga was overwhelming; they won the league year after year with extremely comfortable margins.

During that spell, a number of supporters bemoaned the fact that the team had failed to reach another Champions League final and that they had only won two more DFB Cups. But it is only this season that the fans are realizing what a truly problematic year looks like.

What goes up, must eventually come crashing down, as it now has. Munich are currently in third place, seven points off the pace of league leaders Borussia Dortmund.

When Pep Guardiola started coaching the team in the summer of 2013, expectations were unrealistically high among fans and experts alike. Several fans even hoped that the team would retain the treble.

After falling well short in the Champions League semifinals to eventual winners Real Madrid, many close to the club saw the current Manchester City boss as the culprit for the side's supposed lack of success. The club's board however, remained grounded and praised the Spaniard for having kept the team hungry after so many titles won.

Yet, despite their level-headedness regarding Guardiola, that very same board deserves a lion's share of the criticism for the team's current problems. They refused to gradually rejuvenate the squad, making it necessary to radically do so in the upcoming summer - when Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery, among others, leave the team.

After sacking coach Carlo Ancelotti early last season, they missed the chance to hire Thomas Tuchel, going instead with the nostalgic option of re-hiring 2013 treble winner Jupp Heynckes.

While that worked well for the rest of that season, it was only a short-term solution.

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They then took a gamble on the young and inexperienced Niko Kovac, who clearly does not have the respect of the players. The team has been underperfoming all season under him, and the fans have been put in the unfamiliar position of seeing their team struggle to stay afloat in the domestic league.

It remains to be seen if Kovac will be the one who oversees the radical transition that takes place at Bayern in the years to come. But make no mistake, a radical transition it has to be.

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