The Bundesliga has acquired the reputation of being a one-horse race because of Bayern Munich’s constant dominance. While that is true to an extent, it hasn’t always been the case in the 21st century. Teams have come close to shattering Bayern’s dominance and have snatched the title away from them.
Even though they were fleeting moments in the context of history considering Bayern did come back, some remember those teams fondly. We look at some of the best Bundesliga teams in the 21st century.
5. Bayern in 2004-05
Before his managerial career went down the drains at Fulham, Felix Magath indeed was one of the best managers in Europe. He was known to be a proper military man who wouldn’t back away from using hard ways to tame his players. And him helping Bayern win the Bundesliga in 2005 was special.
The Bavarians won the title by a big 14-point margin, with Schalke finishing second. It was Roy Makaay’s second season at the club and he scored 22 goals to become the highest scorer in the division. The campaign had seen Bayern score the highest number of goals, concede the lowest and have the highest goal-difference. It was one of Magath’s best seasons as a manager.
4. Wolfsburg 2008-09
After Werder Bremen and Stuttgart earlier in the earlier 2000s, Wolfsburg became the Bundesliga Champions in brilliant fashion in 2009. Coincidentally, this came under Magath too, as he avenged his cruel sacking from the Allianz Arena.
Wolfsburg became synonymous with an entertaining brand of football. Edin Dzeko and Grafite broke records, scoring 56 goals together. Another former Bayern man in Zvjezdan Misimovic notched up 20 assists. On the way, Die Wolfe beat Bayern by a stunning 5-1 margin. They would play an attacking brand of football and blow teams away.
3. Borussia Dortmund 2011-12
Only one team could sustain the pressure on Bayern in the long-term. That was Jurgen Klopp’s hard-metal football-playing Dortmund. The first title came in 2010-11, as they sealed the deal by eight points and this came before the glamour of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski came up. But the 2011-12 season was the true manifestation of a proper Klopp team.
The campaign saw Dortmund score as many as 80 goals in the season. Lewandowski was the highest scorer in the team, scoring 22 goals. Shinji Kagawa had enjoyed a brilliant season, scoring 13 goals, while Reus came up with nine assists as well. This was the coming together of a very talented set of players, who were bound in one by Klopp’s system.
2. Wolfsburg in 2014-15
Wolfsburg’s team in the 2014-15 season was a rare case that saw the club didn’t win the Bundesliga, but it was more down to their attacking sensations Kevin de Bruyne and Bas Dost. This was before De Bruyne made a big-money move to Man City and before Julian Draxler was potentially seen as his replacement.
Die Wolfe finished second that season, coming ten points behind Pep Guardiola’s Bayern. But Dost scored 16 goals that season, with De Bruyne coming up with a hug tally of 20 assists. It was the first time that a team had challenged Bayern in strong fashion after Dortmund had done that in the beginning of the decade.
1. Guardiola’s Bayern
Any list would be incomplete without a Guardiola team in recent years. While Guardiola’s Bayern didn’t reap the European success that his Barcelona team did, they did dominate a vast majority of times. They won the 2013-14 title with a huge margin of 19 points, with Dortmund finishing closest in second.
The campaign saw them score 94 goals in the league, letting in just 23 goals. Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery got ten assists each, while Mario Mandzukic scored 18 goals too. Dortmund did trump them in goals and assists’ top-men, but Guardiola’s system had begun to tick in the very first season.