So there you go: the last match day of the 2010-2011 season has been played, and the 18 Bundesliga teams is divided into two camps – the winners and the losers. Nevertheless, deciding which teams belong to which category is a matter of personal interpretation – and here’s mine.
It’s been a dramatic few days, and as I write, a whole locker-room full of coaches is facing the sack, jockeying to try and find other teams or biting their nails about their first ever trip to the dole office. In fact, the kind of frenetic behind-the-scenes wrangling that’s been going on in the last couple of weeks is something of a novelty for most Bundesliga fans: Van Gaal, Magath, Veh, Skibbe, Littbarski, Dutt, Tuchel, Heynckes – 8 out of the 18 club trainers in Germany’s top football league are making more headlines than the teams they coach.
He lurks. He is patient. Praying on naivety, choosing the right moment, he makes him move. He rarely misses an opportunity. You might wish he were not there, but ignoring him doesn’t make him any less real.
The bogeyman is no other than the team people love to hate – Bayern Munich. The Bavarians are adept at snatching titles at the last minute. Ask Leverkusen. Or, for the crowning glory of the bogeyman’s triumphs, ask Schalke.
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However, in sixth place, with an indifferent start to the season, Munich are hardly cruising. Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has yet to have the expected impact. A 2-1 away victory this weekend was enough to see off Freiburg, but problems remain.