The last four seasons have seen Bayern Munich stamp their authority on the Bundesliga title, as the club have strolled their way to the top in every single campaign.
Bitter and eternal rivals, Borussia Dortmund, have been forced to watch on helplessly as Pep Guardiola has made light work of their threat and competition ever since stepping onto German soil.
Unable to deliver the Champions League trophy in his three seasons in charge of the Bundesliga giants, Guardiola has now opted against renewing his contract however, in favour of a new challenge at Manchester City.
His successor, Carlo Ancelotti, has made his intent known; to win a 5th consecutive league title for the club with one hand in his pocket. So where does this leave Dortmund?
Is is possible for them to win a 6th title next season and stop Bayern from landing their 26th?
Given recent activities of both sides and some other factors, these are the reasons why the Black and Yellows can potentially edge the Bavarians out next season.
Recent Summer Business
Despite not being as much of a financial power as FC Bayern, Dortmund have embarked upon a spending spree this summer, recruiting as many as eight players and paying a total of over €110million.
These additions were quite imperative given that Dortmund have lost Gundogan, Hummels and Mkhitaryan to Manchester City, Bayern and Manchester United respectively. Rather than seeing this negatively though, BVB look to have seen this as a chance for a minor rebuilding process, as Tuchel has managed to build himself a squad almost of a quality that matches Bayern.
Mario Gotze has returned after an unsuccessful spell with their rivals, Portuguese explosive full back and set piece expert Raphael Guerreiro got added to the ranks before the Euros, and talented and very promising youngsters, Emre Mor and Ousmane have also been snapped up.
Former Barcelona defender, Marc Bartra has been saddled with the responsibility of replacing former captain Hummels due to his ball-playing abilities as a defender, and André Schürrle will hope his reunion with Tuchel yields positive results on the pitch. Mario Gomez and Moussa Sissoko are also being linked with possible arrivals.
Bayern Munich also haven’t been quiet in the transfer window, notably beating suitors to the signing of Euro 2016’s best young player awardee, Renato Sanches. Yet based on transfers alone, Dortmund look set to at least have the potential to mount a very stiff title challenge next term.
Ancelotti’s History as A First Timer
There’s no denying that the Italian’s tactics and playing style are top notch and enviable, but winning the title based on reputation alone won’t be enough. Bayern Munich will have to adapt to a new playing method under the veteran manager who has always taken his time to imbibe his players into a set system upon arrival at clubs.
With the exception of his spell at Chelsea, Carlo has never won a league title in his debut season with a club. Across time spent with Parma, Juventus, Milan, PSG and to Real Madrid, it has never happened.
Tuchel has already made Dortmund a formidable force once again following their initial stumble during Klopp’s last term in charge. Last season, his team scored 82 league goals and amassed 78 points out of a possible 102. Although it was 10 points behind Bayern’s 88, this was a points tally that would have won them the title in 49 of the past 53 seasons.
If Dortmund continue their form and hit the ground running in this new term, they can win the title while Munich are still taking some time to get used to a new way of life.
The Motivation Factor
Other than bragging rights and trying to set another record, there is little to motivate Bayern players to pursue a 5th consecutive title. The story is different for BVB of course.
For example, Dortmund’s defender, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, is determined to break Bayern’s firm grip on the title. The Greek international said:
“Without Bayern, these monsters in the sporting sense, we would have long since been league or cup champions. I am about to start my sixth season in the Bundesliga and have yet to win a title apart from the super cup. That annoys me. It’s time to win a title.”
With both teams set to battle it out for the German Super Cup on August 14, it could be the beginning of Dortmund’s mission to overthrow the reigning champions next season.