Bayern's Bundesliga dominance gets unexpected extension after Dortmund slip-up

football27 May 2023 16:11| © Reuters
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Bayern Munich had written off the Bundesliga title before Saturday's finale in Cologne with coach Thomas Tuchel labelling their season 'unsatisfactory' this week.

The coach had taken over in late March after the surprise sacking of Julian Nagelsmann and with club bosses saying their season goals were at risk and that a change was necessary.

But Bayern then crashed out of the German Cup and the Champions League quarterfinals with fans left fuming at the club's decision and Tuchel under mounting pressure almost from the start.

Bayern's start to the season was by no means memorable but they still did enough to lead the standings even though they clearly lacked the attacking punch, with forward Robert Lewandowski having left to join Barcelona.

They had a four-point lead going into the World Cup and winter break in November and with early rivals Borussia Dortmund nine points behind in sixth, few would have bet against Bayern increasing that lead in the second half of the season and retaining the title.

Instead, their season was almost derailed with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer suffering a broken leg skiing in December and the team slumping to a bad start to the year with three consecutive draws.

New signing Sadio Mane did not live up to expectations and what was once a well-oiled machine was now far more error-prone.

Bayern looked to be leaking badly which led to Nagelsmann's sacking during the international break in March and following a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.

They did beat Dortmund in Tuchel's first match in charge but then were eliminated by Freiburg in the German Cup and Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinals.

They slipped up again twice more in the league to surrender the lead to Dortmund, including a 3-1 loss on the penultimate matchday to RB Leipzig.

They recovered just in time, snatching a last-gasp 2-1 win at Cologne on Saturday thanks to Jamal Musiala's 89th minute winner and gladly accepted Dortmund's failure to beat Mainz at home, to win the league on goal difference and rescue a difficult season with some silverware.