Bayern Munich dominates Germany’s top-tier league, the Bundesliga, yet again this season, ensuring the top spot at the mid-season break for a record fifth time and strengthening its standing among the world’s top clubs. But a couple of rival clubs are on its heels, hoping to knock the Bavarians from their throne and also win a place in the European Champions League, where the Bundesliga has placed four clubs over the past few years.
Bayern has lost only one game so far this season and enjoys an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund. The club is on track to win a record fifth consecutive league title – it already has 25 – and is still in the running to win the German Cup year-end tournament of all domestic teams and the Champions League. Winning all three championships in a season is a feat last accomplished by Jupp Heynckes in 2013.
But the team will spend the second half of the season with a coach whose bags are packed for England’s Premier League – Pep Guardiola. The 44-year-old Spaniard, who is rumored to have clinched a deal with Manchester City, will be replaced by the Italian Carlo Ancelotti in summer. The planned change of guard could be disruptive, especially if the team is knocked out early from the Champions League, its Holy Grail.