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Neo-Bayern Munich: A lesson on how to be Consistently Inconsistent

“Inconsistency is the only thing in which men are consistent”

 

Well,  there is no denying to the above Horace Smith quote but when those men are supposed to be the integral part of one of the most celebrated football club in Europe, inconsistency is the last thing they can afford. After all that is what separates the best from the rest. In fact, it is the very consistency that makes them the great team they are, in the first place. Any deviation from this usual behaviour raises more eyebrows than usual and brings out the pens of the harshest of critics. Unfortunately for Bayern Munich, this has been the exact case. Having been knocked out of the Champions League by their old nemesis Inter Milan and lying a distant 4th in the domestic league after winning the Double last season, Bayern Munich is a club in certain CRISIS.

Crisis time at Bayern!!

Founded in 1900, the Bavarians have been undoubtedly the best football team in Germany. Tasting overwhelming success in their homeland, they launched their assault in Europe when they finally managed overcome the so called “Dutch and Latin dominance” to lift the European Cup for three consecutive times in the mid 70s. A dominant European powerhouse since then, they have always left the world awe-struck with their extremely intricate and organized brand of football. It is quite safe to say that the legacy of the great Bayern sides is left behind for the fans to adore and the rivals to envy.

Can they match the old greats??

 

However, it has been their performances over the last few years that has made many football lovers wonder whether the successors are suffering from the ‘too big a shoe to fill syndrome’. Certainly the Bayern team of the present has never been quite able to match the consistency and brilliance that their predecessors were known for.

Ok, now firstly let me clear off one illusion . Considering their brilliant display last season and the calamity of the present one, many people might think it is a dramatic “rise and fall story” of Bayern Munich. However, that’s surely not the case. The incredible double feat and the Champions League final appearance last season was not a start of a new “Bayern Munich era” or neither the slump this season an jaw dropping downfall of Bayern. It is in-fact nothing but the continuation of their weird series of topsy-turvy performances over the period of past 5-6 years. A phenomenon which is quite hard to explain. A disastrous season was invariably about to follow after the euphoria of last season and the fact that it happened, does not surprise me at all. An wider perception to their performances rather than just looking at the last two seasons, will reveal on just how Bayern have managed to maintain their rather ridiculous run of form.

Right from the 2003-04 season, Bayern have been very inconsistent in their domestic campaigns with the likes of Werder Bremen, Stuttgart,Wolfsburg  and now Dortmund successfully managing to overcome the Bayern supremacy in Bundesliga. So much so was the the inconsistency that Bayern failed to even qualify for the Champions League in 2006-07 after having finished as the winners of  Bundesliga the season previous to that. However, it did not take long before they managed to regain their homeland supremacy, only to lose it again to Wolfsburg in 2008-09 . Quite astonishing indeed!

The latter half of the past decade saw the advent of the English and  Spanish domination in Europe and evidently Bayern had a rough patch in the Champions League. In fact, after their success in 2001, it was only last season that they again resurrected some of their European status with a runners up finish. And thus again given their sinusoidal performance curve, they were unsurprisingly knocked out early this time around.

So the million dollar question is quite clear. Just what the hell is wrong with Bayern team of the present? Is it just that their player are not good enough or poor management or is it something else?

Well, one interesting co-incidence that pops up in my mind is that mostly all of their bad seasons have come just after a major International tournament. It was after the Euro 2008(where Germany reached the finals), that they failed to qualify for the Champions League and the 2010 Fifa World Cup, also seems to have taken the toll on the Bavarians. With the country’s most important players coming from Bayern itself, is it the player fatigue that is proving such an nemesis for them? Might well be! This article here by a Bayern fan gives an in-depth analysis on just how the World Cup has affected Bayern’s cause this season.

Graph showing the relation between disadvantage index and the performance level this season. The Disadvantage Index is based on how many of the team's players have participated in FIFA WC 2010. More the number,more is the disadvantage index. The graph clearly shows how teams with greater disadvantage index have poor performance.(Details courtesy- redrobbery)

Anyways fatigue cannot alone explain such weird inconsistency of Bayern. It has also to do with the team balance which very clearly is attack-heavy and lacks quality defence. Poor Transfer policies have also led to their problems. For an instance after a glorious season last season and their re-establishment as a European power-house, Bayern should have used that to their advantage to lure “very good” players. However, the marquee signing never came. Again selling players such as Matt Hummels have cost them dearly with defence proving rather unstable. And the whole saga behind the change of a certain coach haven’t helped either.

Here is the "certain" manager!

Bayern must soon find the cure to their problems if they are to match their old reputation. Germany’s favourite footballing son must rise soon. It remains to be seen how they overcome this serious crisis. After all they don’t call Bayern a champion team for nothing.

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