By clinching the Club World Cup via a 2-0 win against Raja Casablanca in Morocco, Bayern Munich captured their fifth trophy for this calendar year and their victorious weekend was completed by poor results for the nearest rivals at the top of the Bundesliga. Goals from Dante and Thiago Alcantara sealed their triumph in North Africa to add to the league title, DFB Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Champions League titles, and there is little evidence of the Munich bandwagon slowing in the near future.
When Pep Guardiola succeeded Juup Heynckes in the Bayern Munich hot seat, he was immediately tasked with a difficult act to follow as his predecessor had lifted three titles in his final season at the helm. The ex-Barcelona manager has wasted no time in imposing his own style on the team while also continuing the current phenomenal success rate.
Bayern are unbeaten in the domestic league for this campaign and won their Champions League group despite showing a hint of complacency in the final group match when beaten 3-2 by Manchester City at Allianz Arena.
Additionally, as the Germans clubs enter their winter break, Guardiola must barely believe his good fortune as his team cemented their lead back home while competing in the World club tournament. Both Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen were surprisingly beaten at the weekend allowing Bayern to take a seven point lead into January, having played a game less than their nearest challengers.
2012 champions Dortmund have lost three successive home matches and have only won game from their previous six, with injuries continuing to affect their season ambitions. Two consecutive 1-0 defeats have also dented Leverkusen’s title hopes with last season’s leading Bundesliga striker Stefan Kiessling failing to score in the last three domestic fixtures.
Last season, Bayern Munich clinched the title by a 25 point margin with only one defeat in 38 matches and it now seems likely that another league triumph beckons with only the margin of victory seemingly available for betting purposes. Having secured the signature of Mario Gotze from Dortmund during the summer and with rumours abounding that striker Robert Lewandowski may also move in the same direction in June, it appears that Bayern are becoming the increasingly dominant force in German football.
Whether they can maintain a similar stranglehold in Europe is yet another challenge for the new boss. Having drawn Arsenal in the next round of the Champions League as per last season, they will have been reminded of the Gunners winning the return leg in Munich before being eliminated on away goals. That result may prevent any degree of complacency hampering the efforts of the Bavarian team as they strive to retain their crown.
The ensuing 12 months will most certainly reveal whether Pep Guardiola can maintain Bayern Munich’s domination of world club football and few will bet against him succeeding.
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