Villaflor: Champs Bayern can slacken off, or maybe not

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


BAYERN Munich was hailed as Bundesliga champions last Wednesday.

Social media, at least in this part of the world, was mum on the German club’s defense of its league title, a feat it accomplished in record time.

The major football leagues in Europe, including the Bundesliga, are slated to end the season in May yet, but Bayern, apparently, has other plans.

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With seven games left, Bayern won its 24th German league title by beating Hertha Berlin 3-1, giving the club 77 points, 25 points ahead of closest rival Borussia Dortmund.

EYE ON A BIGGER PRIZE. Pep Guardiola’s wards topped the table as early as the eighth match and never looked back, piling up points with 25 wins and two draws for the back-to-back league triumph. It remains unbeaten in the league so far and is on its way to turning this season into yet another unforgettable one.

By wrapping up the season this early, Bayern Munich can now focus on winning Europe’s biggest prize, the Uefa Champions League title.

Bayern lifted the Champions League cup last season by edging Bundesliga rivals
Dortmund 2-1 in a classic match that saw precise, no-nonsense German football that was no less beautiful to watch.

Now, after making short work of the domestic league, Bayern seeks to defend the European title under Guardiola, who took over Jupp Heynckes last July 2013.

BEST TEAM EVER? Under Heynckes, the club was regarded as the “best Bayern team ever,” after becoming the first German club to win the domestic cup, domestic league and the European title to complete the treble.

As Heynckes successor, Guardiola is no slouch either.

In only four years, the Spaniard won 14 titles for the great La Liga side FC Barcelona, including four La Liga trophies and two Champions League titles.

And just like Heynckes, Guardiola led Barcelona to a treble, the first Spanish club to do so. To think this feat was achieved in his first year in charge of the Spanish side.

MORE URGENT MATTERS. At the rate the club is destroying opponents it should only be a matter of time before Guardiola’s Die Roten would be hailed as the “best Bayern team ever.”

But first, Guardiola and his wards need to win more titles and take care of other urgent matters, such as getting past a still dangerous Manchester United in the two-leg quarterfinals of the Champions League starting April 2.

Other than that, Bayern can always opt to loosen up as the Bundesliga winds down. Then again slackening off is hardly a virtue of true champions.

(nsvillaflor@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 28, 2014.

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