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Bayern Munich crowned for the tenth time in a row, a record but regrets

Bayern keep their property! By winning against Dortmund (3-1) on the 31st day of the Bundesliga, Saturday April 23, the Bavarian club won a 32nd German championship title. A tenth coronation in a row which allows the rekordmeister to better their own record of consecutive titles, becoming the first team from the Big Five leagues to achieve such a streak. But this new national success does not erase the painful elimination in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. And the title celebrations won’t stop German football fans from wondering about Bayern’s future.

Champions League, a failure that does not pass

When we crush the national competition for a decade now, the attention paid to the Champions League is increased tenfold. PSG knows something about it, but Bayern are not left out. It is by the yardstick of Europe that we judge a Bavarian season. And this year, the failure was resounding. The Munich residents stopped in the quarter-finals, eliminated by Villarreal (1-2 over the two games).

Besides the result, the way marked. Winners in the first leg (1-0), the Spaniards multiplied their chances against Bayern for a shaky time before regaining their senses. On the way back, the Bavarian waves cracked the “yellow submarine” but failed to sink it. And Samuel Chukwueze punished this inefficiency in the 88th, sending his team to the semi-finals with a dazzling counter (1-1). “Stopping in the quarter-finals is not enough for Bayern, the semi-final was our minimum goal“, recognized Julian Nagelsmann, the Bavarian coach, after the meeting.

Nagelsmann, the prodigy still has to convince

After this setback, the fingers were quickly pointed at the former Leipzig coach, the designated culprit. Becoming the youngest coach in the history of the Bundesliga in 2016 (at 28 with Hoffenheim), the little coaching genius, who arrived in Bavaria without any record, still has to adapt to the requirements of the Munich giant. In Leipzig, which he led for two seasons, his attacking style of play was praised but his lack of titles was also highlighted (a German Cup final lost to Dortmund, 1-4, in 2021).

By title, Bayern will have to settle for just one. In the German Cup, the Bavarian course came to an abrupt end in the second round, with a 5-0 defeat against Mönchengladbach. Nagelsmann has proven his ability to push his teams to surpass themselves, which allowed Hoffenheim to qualify for the Champions League (in 2017 and 2018) and Leipzig to reach the semi-finals (in 2020). He now has to manage a star squad, who regularly have to be convinced to accept his demanding playing ideas.”I am not afraidsoberly said the Bavarian about his future. There is worse in the world.

With the best attack and the best defense in Germany, its team is no worse than its predecessors. He nevertheless remains far from the crowning of the 2012-2013 season, the first of the series of ten, where the men of Jupp Heinckes had finished with a single defeat on the counter in the league, while achieving a quintuple Bundesliga-Champions League-Supercup UEFA-German Cup-Club World Cup.

Lewandowski, serial goalscorer with an uncertain future

If Julian Nagelsmann concentrates some of the criticism, the construction of the Bayern workforce is also under attack. The departures of former executives (David Alaba, Thiago, Javi Martinez, Mats Hummels, etc.) have been replaced numerically, but not necessarily qualitatively. French international Dayot Upamecano, who arrived from Leipzig, alternates high-level performances and moments of absence. And Bayern’s recent transfer windows have had their share of disappointments: Bouna Sarr, Michaël Cuisance, Marc Roca… Result: Bayern’s bench depth has been greatly reduced. And the many injuries experienced this season have only underlined this problem. This freshness, normally brought by substitutes, was lacking in Bayern against Villarreal.

And the situation could get even more complicated. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, 48 goals in 42 games this season, will only have one year left on his contract at the end of the season. And negotiations are stalling for an extension, while Barça openly court the six-time winner of the Torjägerkanone (the Bundesliga top scorer trophy). The management of Bayern will have to make a choice. Extend his 33-year-old star at a golden price, sell him this summer and try to replace him or take the risk of seeing him go free next year. A crucial decision for the future of the club with six C1s.

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