Lovell's Lowdown

A few weeks ago I suggested that Bayern Munich were a shoe-in to regain the Bundesliga title which has become the exclusive property of Borussia Dortmund in the last couple of years. The truth is in their quest to quench a trophy drought stretching back to 2010 any silverware will do for Bayern this time around.

Bayern remain Bundesliga certainties, unless coach Jupp Heynckes decides to adopt a strict rotation policy and start playing his reserves in key games. It doesn't pay to take liberties and underestimate any Bundesliga opposition. This is the lesson Bayern learned at the weekend, conceding their first away goal of the campaign in a sloppy 1-1 draw in the Franconian-Bavarian Derby in Nuremberg. Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm were among those rested as Heynckes made six changes to the side that defeated Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich last weekend. Despite taking an early lead through Bundesliga top scorer Mario Mandzukic, the Reds could only force a draw after Manuel Neuer was deceived by a swerving long range shot.

"It's not the end of the world," summised Heynckes afterwards.

There were also some decidedly extra sour grapes from midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who accused 1. FC Nürnberg of unsporting behaviour after the disappointing draw. "They were constantly trying to influence the referee and were provoking him by time wasting, staying down after fouls, and other little things, all of which had an influence.''

This is besides the point. Bayern's stand-in captain Schweinsteiger was showing his frustration at the two points dropped. The cynic in me thinks some of these qualities will definitely be needed by 'Schweini & co' in the tribal atmosphere of the Mestalla in Valencia on Tuesday evening as Bayern endeavour to keep their Champions League campaign on track.

Bayern were expected to coast comfortably through their 'easy' Champions League group but a shock defeat against BATE Borisov has left them in a precarious position. Defeat against Valencia would leave the Bavarians facing the unthinkable. By the time Bayern kick off in Southern Spain there is likely to be a log jam at the top of Group F with the Belarusians expected to overcome a limp Lille side in Minsk to join the record German champions and 'Los Che' on 9 points.

Mario Gomez will be itching for a return to Champions League action after bagging four goals in his comeback game in midweek. Gomez's goalscoring prowess fired Bayern all the way to the final last year, but unfortunately for him personally and the club, he chose the final to have a stinker on his home patch.

Bayern have undoubtedly been over-reliant on Gomez's goals and the reaction from the hierarchy this summer was to purchase Mario Mandzukic from VfL Wolfsburg and bring Claudio Pizarro back to his old stomping ground, via Werder Bremen to increase competition. 'Golden Oldie' Pizarro notched a hat-trick last time out in Europe in Bayern's 6-1 demolition of Lille to show he is still a force to be reckoned with. It's a different story for his Croatian striker partner. Despite having turned into a prolific domestic striker, Mandzukic has struggled on his European forays. The latter may well have to make way for the more established 'Super Mario' in Spain.

Off the pitch, Bayern announced massive after-tax profits of EUR11.1 million - their 20th successive year in the black. Uli Hoeness has continued his verbal sparring with ex-Bayern coach Louis van Gaal and former German FA (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger. Hoeness will be delighted at his re-election as President after a landslide victory (97.1%) at the recent club AGM -something American politicians can only dream of! A buoyant Hoeness announced further impressive figures. Club membership is thriving with 187,865 members compared to last year's 171,445. There are a further 250 officially affiliated fan clubs, pushing the total to over 3,200 worldwide. ''These are unbelievable numbers,'' Hoeness beamed.

Riding high in the Bundesliga, millions in the bank, all is apparently well in the Bayern camp. However, I still sense an emptiness and pain emanating from that bitter Champions League final defeat in their own backyard against Chelsea. How else can you explain paying over the odds (EUR40 million) for an unproven Spanish water carrier? This has all the signs of being retail therapy for Bayern. The fans would have you believe he is the final piece of the jigsaw but so far it seems as though he might not even be from the right puzzle, let alone the right piece. In my opinion, with financial fair play lurking like a bad smell in the rest of Europe, it was more like Bayern showing the rest of Europe how they can throw their petty cash around.

Meanwhile, Arjen Robben is injured again. But that's not really news.


Add comment
Name
Smile Sad Huh Laugh Mad Tongue Crying Grin Wink Scared Cool Blush Unsure Shocked Confused Thumbs up Thumb down
Comment

Manchester Utd Drops Out of Football's Top Three Richest Clubs

This chart shows football clubs' revenues by source 2012/13 (in million euros)
Manchester United's crumbling fortunes on the pitch are now being reflected in football's financial league.according to a report from Deloitte, as the...

Dominant Vettel takes down Canada GP

All smiles for Sebastian, who looks well on his way to another title. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Montreal has not been kind to Sebastian Vettel in the past. This time though, the German comfortably controlled the race from the front and banished...

Bayern's treble-winning coach Heynckes says goodbye

A sad farewell from Bayern but maybe not from football... At least, not just yet. Photo: Flickr
The world's media assembled in Munich on Tuesday lunchtime to discover the truth behind the much-speculated future of Bayern Munich's outgoing coach...

Champions League Final: The TME verdict

First Arsenal, then Juventus and then Barcelona. Now to see off Dortmund and make the year complete? Photo: Jonathan Harding
Ahead of the all-German UEFA Champions League final featuring FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, TME's sports writers give their predictions.

Mark...

Record-breaking Bayern Munich tune up for Champions League final

Thank you Jupp. Farewell but maybe not for long... Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Bayern Munich warmed up for the forthcoming Champions League final with a breath-taking 4-3 win against Borussia Monchengladbach. An impressive...

Taxing times as Bayern board backs Hoeness

Sign here please Uli. Oh wait... Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Despite an on-going tax evasion investigation, under-fire Uli Hoeness is set to remain as president of the supervisory board of treble-seeking Bayern...

Guardiola's first day looms

There's a new face in town on Monday. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The off-season in football is quickly become a nonentity. The overhanging World Cup in Brazil has undoubtedly played a role in altering the fixture...

The weeks after and the time before

More celebrations to come next year? It's hard to think otherwise. Photo: Jonathan Harding
After weeks of rain, the sun has decided to arrive in southern Germany and with it a momentary pause before another chapter in the illustrious story...

Robben delivers late to make Bayern champions of Europe

It proved to be a red evening in London as Bayern went one better than last year. Graphic: Matt Hardy
Bayern Munich avenged last year's traumatic final defeat by beating a brave Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Wembley thanks to a late Arjen Robben winner....

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund: Head to head

Will it be a red day or a yellow dawn? Photo: Daniel Richardson
Ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the decade, Jonathan Allott looks at the head-to-head battles for the UEFA Champions League...

Party time in Munich after routine win

The trophy is now back in their hands after a long two-year absence. Photo: Jonathan Allott
FC Bayern Munich completed their home fixtures for the season with a routine 3-0 win over FC Augsburg. The game itself was expectedly overshadowed by...

Domestic appetiser promises much for European main

Proved the hero on the day with a fantastic penalty save. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In a tempestuous Bundesliga affair, Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 with Bayern München in a result that leaves the Champions League final all the more of...

Advertise with The Munich Eye
Advertisements
Allianz - Munich financial services Web Site Optimisation