Does Battered Bayern Stand a Chance?
Yes, Bayern has lost the German Cup ‘DFB Pokal’ final against Dortmund.
Yes, it also only came in second in the league this season, again, behind Dortmund.
Yes, seeing the way Bayern played on Saturday night – they never stood a chance and made horrible rookie mistakes in the defense – one has every reason to worry about the upcoming Champions League final against Chelsea on Saturday.
And yes, hearing Philipp Lahm in an interview after the match, in which he explained that Bayern played a superb match, did leave some question marks about the soundness of his mind (remind me again – how did he manage to become captain? Can’t remember? Yeah, me neither).
Now, we could search for reasons for the club’s mediocre performance in Berlin.
Some might argue that playing in three different competitions throughout the season (plus the matches for the national team that many Bayern players face as well) simply takes its toll on the physique.
Others contest that Bayern doesn’t really care about the DFB Pokal, and only has eyes for the Champions League trophy.
It might have something to do with the fact that Bayern, when playing on national level, is automatically the favorite – and it doesn’t matter if the opponent is Dortmund or Duesseldorf (never heard of that club before? Exactly).
Whatever the reason, let’s imagine the worst case scenario: Bayern will lose the Champions League final as well.
Surely, only to read those words must be heartbreaking for every Bayern Munich fan. Not winning the Champions League at home (and Bayern has the chance to be the first team ever to do so) would be a disaster and the end to a horrendous season in which the Bavarians would have failed to win a single title.
But would it be, really?
There are worse things than finishing second. Relegation, for example. Bobbing up and down mid-table. Being on the brink of financial ruin. Coming in third or fourth. But Bayern faces none of these things.
Being the eternal runner up, of course, wouldn’t be satisfying. But there is nothing eternal about it. This is one season we are talking about. One. And everyone who regards it as unsuccessful, or even as a debacle, should get a serious reality check.
And this is exactly the problem of being the dominant team in the Bundesliga for so many years. The expectations become ridiculously high, and it is just a matter of time until the club can’t live up to them anymore.
So, everybody calm down.
Yes, there is a good chance that Bayern will lose against Chelsea as well.
Yes, all the Bayern critics will revel in joy – because, as they will say, “pride goes before a fall.”
Yes, the shocking news is that the players of Bayern Munich are human and can’t always win, win and win some more.
And yes, Philipp Lahm will certainly have more things to say after the lost – or won – Champions League final. One can only hope that his on-air time will be cut short.