What is going on at Bayern Munich? Usually by now, Bayern have all but wrapped up another title and the club is starting to turn its attention to the resumption of the Champions League.
That is not the case this season as Bayern have struggled mightily since play resumed after the World Cup break. They have drawn three league games in a row 1-1, against Koln and Frankfurt at home and away at Leipzig. The run of draws has opened up the title race, with four clubs within three points of Bayern, an unheard of number in recent years.
All teams go through difficult spells during a season, but this feels different as Julian Nagelsmann’s team is not playing well, not defending well, and as a result is not winning.
And it’s not just the on the pitch issues that are causing sleepless nights in Munich. Bayern is living up to its FC Hollywood moniker as Serge Gnabry was reprimanded and benched for going to the Paris Fashion Week on his day off. Tony Tapalovic, the goalkeeping coach and Manuel Neuer’s best friend, was let go last week in a power move from Nagelsmann. And Neuer is out until next season after breaking his leg skiing while on holiday after the World Cup.
In the meantime, the competition is gearing up for more misery for Bayern. Union Berlin, the surprise of the season, are second just a point behind the leaders. Then Leipzig, rejuvenated by manager Marco Rose, are just one behind Union with Freiburg and Dortmund another one behind. The top five of the Bundesliga within three points of each other in February has never been seen before, and it puts all the more pressure on Bayern.
It is all very exciting for fans of the Bundesliga. There is a rare midweek slate of games this week and Bayern have a tricky away trip to 11th placed Mainz. The pressure on Thomas Muller & Co. will be massive if they fail to secure all three points.