FT 2019 Preview: Dortmund's youth ending Bayern’s Bundesliga dominance
After winning six straight Bundesliga titles, from the 2012/13 season to the most recent one, Bayern Munich had almost rendered the German top flight, a predictably boring contest. But now, half way through the season as the league paused for the festive break, with Dortmund six points ahead of the champions, there is hope for a twist of fate.
Lucien Favre’s men have been outstanding, outscoring everyone and nothing short of spectacular as they lost only once in seventeen Bundesliga appearances. There is a reminisce of Jurgen Klopp’s Die Borussen who won back to back championships between 2010-12, also reaching the UEFA Champions League final. It comes as no surprise with strikingly similar features accompanying the current team, young blood all around the pitch and a few immaculate seniors providing the balance. More interestingly is one of their young full backs, Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi. Three assists in three champions league matches and three more in twelve Bundesliga appearances is not bad for the 20-year-old defender on loan from Real Madrid. In fact, transfer rumours suggest that the German club will go all the way to tempt Los Blancos to sanction a permanent move for the youngster. He really is one of the best young full backs in the world right now, has been important in Dortmund’s electric form and will continue to be as the new year unfolds. Nineteen-year-old Dan-Axel Zagadou and twenty-year old Abdou Diallo, the French internationals of Ivorian and Senegalese descent respectively are also part and parcel of the Bundesliga leaders defence that is linked up to the attack with those who need no introduction. The eighteen year-old Jadon Sancho and USMNT’s Christian Pulisic who is twenty and soon to depart for Chelsea. The team also had a “midas-touch” effect on former Barcelona forward, Paco Alcacer who misfired at Camp Nou but became a scoring freak at Signal Iduna, scoring a remarkable twelve goals in seven matches. Even the prodigal son Mario Gotze, returned and got rejoined with former pitch-partner, captain Marco Reus.
Make sure you have Dortmund on your watchlist for 2019, they are definitely paving the way for many other great things to come.