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Bundesliga — the most boring league in Europe?!

Lewandowski, the only player to score 4 goals against Real Madrid in European competitions

Lewandowski, the only player to score 4 goals against Real Madrid in European competitions

Just yesterday, FC Bayern officially announced the signature of Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer from league rivals Borussia Dortmund. In the meantime, media and football fans around the world launched a scathing attack against Bayern Munich, accusing them of once again employing tactics to turn the Bundesliga into a boring one-horse race.

Yawn.

These accusations against the Bundesliga have long been going on, mostly catalysed by ignorance of what’s going on in the league combined with looking at Champions League results. In fact, in the last 20 years, only 3 German clubs made it to the Champions League final. Dortmund made it in 1997 (won) and 2013 (lost), Leverkusen made it in 2002 (lost) and Bayern made it in 1999 (lost), 2001 (won), 2010 (lost), 2012 (lost) and 2013 (won). So, from the aspect of European competitions, FC Bayern blew their Bundesliga counterparts out of the water. In the Bundesliga, however, the competition has not been so one-sided.

Fuelled by my desire to kill this common misconception of the Bundesliga being boring, I took a look around at the other top leagues in Europe. There, to my lack of surprise I found out that the grass certainly isn’t any greener on the other side. Let’s take a look at the competitiveness of these leagues then.

In order to be as fair as possible, I looked at how the leagues were dominated by a single club since the 1990-1991 season, and also at how many different teams were crowned champions during the last 10 seasons. Here are the results:

League # Distinct champions in last 10 seasons Dominant team since 1990-91
Bundesliga 5 Bayern Munich (11 wins)
Premier League 4 Manchester United (13 wins)
La Liga 3 Barcelona (12 wins)
Serie A 3 Juventus*, AC Milan (7 wins)
* Juventus had two titles removed from them due to the Calciopoli scandal, one that is still disputed to the day. As such, they were crowned champions 9 times during this period.

This table clearly shows that FC Bayern have indeed been dominating their league, but it’s not to the extent that Manchester United and Barcelona have dominated their respective ones. On the other hand, the Serie A used to be highly competitive with no single club dominating, however in the last 10 seasons there have only been 3 different champions, two of which hail from the city of Milan. The situation is no different in Spain, where Real Madrid and Barcelona have together won the last 9 La Liga titles, with the latter winning 12 titles since 1990-91.

OK, perhaps FC Bayern are really strong this season. Maybe they’ll be even stronger next season with Lewandowski on board. However, the reason they’re dominating the league at the moment is precisly that: they’re great, and they’re dominating on all fronts, including in the Champions League. With all probability, if Bayern could be granted permission to transfer to La Liga or the Premier League, perhaps they’d be dominating there as well. Yes, they’re that good, but that doesn’t make the league any more boring than any of the current top leagues in Europe. But perhaps the haters would have rather that Lewandowski joined Manchester United or Barcelona, because you know, they’re REALLY in need of wins, right?

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  • FCBayernMunchen says:


    That’s what I’ve been saying for ages. We would dominate anywhere. Having some statistics added to the mix doesn’t hurt. 🙂

    • MUTU says:


      My point is actually that we’re not anymore dominant as others have been in the league in past years, but at this very point in time the reason why we’re dominant in the league is only because we’re the most dominant club in Europe.

      • FCBayernMunchen says:


        Yes, exactly. My post was a bit ambiguous but this is what I’m saying too.

  • welcomehoam says:


    The Bundesliga does not only consist of the title race.

    • MUTU says:


      You’re right. The battle for Champions League spots is more competitive than in other leagues. In fact the Bundesliga consistently has more distinct Champions League participants than any other league in Europe, despite spending a long time with only 3 teams qualifying.

  • Badger says:


    Great point, very well put. I really wasn’t aware how dominant certain teams were in other leagues.

    Aside from all that, apart from this year when teams like Everton, Southampton and Liverpool have increased the number of entertaining teams in the English Premier League, the league was littered with unwatchable teams. Give me Hoffenheim v Berlin, etc, to watch any day ahead of West Ham v Stoke v Sunderland v Villa v Chelsea v Palace, etc, in any combination.

  • krkla says:


    Great blog, this is a discussion i’ve had with my friends over and over again. And even though i use the same argument as above they don’t seem to find it valid until they see it written by someone else than me, so thank you.

  • FCB general says:


    Yes, it’s a boring league, but not the most boring league. Croatian league along with Scottish are probably the most boring leagues of Europe. Every single year the same league champion with a big point difference.

    In the year 2013 Bayern dominated the whole football, lost only against Arsenal(2nd match in eighth finals) and Dortmund(German Supercup).

    It’s not a problem with Bayern yet with the rest of the competition. They have a lack of result consistency every single season.
    Dortmund were on top level for 3 years, in the 4th they couldn’t handle with Jupp’s revange and follow the Bavarian machine. This season they are having a lot of misfortune with player injuries and still a problem called short bench with less quality players.

    Schalke were always playing cold-warm in the last 13 years and that’s not Bayern’s problem.

    Wolfsburg fell down right after Magath’s departure, too many novice mistakes, first with the sport director and Steve McLaren, then with Magath and buying average players.

    Yes, we are stronger than ever. Both quality and quantity are way too obvious in our roster. We can compete with every team in this world but that doesn’t worth the same for the rest of BuLi teams. Thanks to Premier league, Real M. and Barcelona, all those clubs like Ajax, Anderlecht, Dynamo Kiev and from the rest of Europe can’t present anything today.

    They have to INVEST, CATCH UP with us they want something in this competition. We want to be the best in Europe every single year, 17 German teams want to be the best in Germany. Now that’s what a call separated worlds.