One 1-1 draw doesn’t say all there is to be said about what is growing to be the best rivalry in Europe. The power of the Bundesliga is on the rise, mostly because it now has two clubs to place among the continent’s elite: Bayern Munich, who’ve always been there, more or less; and Borussia Dortmund, making somewhat of a comeback, long overdue.
The 1-1 draw on Saturday between the two teams showed us how close they really are to each other when it comes to ability. It doesn’t mean Dortmund will play a big part in the race towards a third consecutive title. They’re already 11 points behind the Bavarians, winning 12 of their 15 league matches this season. Dortmund suffer from a syndrome many have gone through in the past. The huge focus and effort they’re putting in the Champions League is taking its mental and physical toll in the league, causing them to drop points at an alarming rate compared to the past. After two league titles, it’s understandable, especially in a very tough league like the German.
While it’s not improbable that Dortmund will now set out to go on a long undefeated run, it’s hard to imagine Bayern dropping so many points over whatever stretch of time. They did lose Holger Badstuber yesterday, probably for the season, but they’re good enough and deep enough to make it without the young international centre back. Even without Arjen Robben, the return to fantastic form for Bastian Schweinsteiger along with the rise of Toni Kroos seems to be the heart of everything good that’s happening this season for Bayern, while Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery and Mario Mandzukic provide the fireworks.
While everyone in Euopre is trying to win by spending the most amount of cash, there’s something perfectly sane and reasonable about the way these clubs conduct their business, showing impressive profits as their financial reward. There’s a reason why Bayern have been at the top or near it for so long, and it usually begins with how the club is run.
Dortmund had their financial woes for quite some time, but it seems they’re in the clear. With the best attendance records in Europe, they seem to be on course to be staying for a long time. Now all that’s needed is keeping the pieces tied together. Mario Gotze is a diamond to have, although his consistency is something to be improved. Still, his equalizing goal vs Bayern was a rare one, dropping the ball down perfectly on his chest, delivering such an accurate shot very quickly. He stands in complete contrast with his effortless appearance to Marco Reus, who can’t stop working and running up and down the flank, not always being rewarded for his hard work.
The 1-1 draw seemed to be something that suited both teams. Bayern Munich, after losing four consecutive league matches to Dortmund, just needed to keep the champions away from them. Dortmund probably feared an aggressive Bayern start, and only opened up in the second half, giving the fans a much better performance. More than it says something about this season, which is probably all about Bayern, it says a lot about the future and direction of German football. If these two teams keep the course, the UCL titles will be coming very soon.