Domestic bliss for Real and Bayern, but what about Europe?

May 5, 2008

Hitzfeld gets soaked

Two giants of European football, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich wrapped up their respective league titles with plenty of room to spare this weekend.

Real, the nine-times European champions, snatched a dramatic 2-1 win away to Osasuna in the teeming rain to clinch their 31st Spanish title.

Things were also getting soggy in Wolfsburg, after Bayern secured their 21st German league title, completed a domestic double for the third time in four seasons and celebrated by soaking each other with good Bavarian Weissbier (see photo above).

Neither side was seriously challenged on their way to their triumphs and they are both clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the domestic opposition.

But the celebrations will be that little bit more muted because neither side made their mark in Europe this season. Once again Real limped out of the Champions League in the first knockout round, while Bayern, who had to content themselves with participation in the UEFA Cup, were almost knocked out in the quarter-finals by humble Getafe and were then humiliated by Zenit St Petersburg.

What will it take for these two sides to become forces in Europe once again?

Real have not exactly been shy about buying in big names of late, while Bayern have a galactico coach coming in the shape of Juergen Klinsmann, and he will presumably want to strengthen the squad.

Would they better off sticking with what they’ve got, bringing on some youngsters and hoping to gradually build on their domestic triumphs? Or do you now need truly world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Kaka to win the Champions League?

PHOTO: Combination of pictures showing Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld getting showered with beer by Luca Toni as they celebrate winning the German title in Wolfsburg, May 4, 2008. REUTERS/Christian Charisius


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Looking at the last 4 in the Champions League this season; how much money they’ve spent over the past few years in signings, you have your answer right there.

However, it’s fair to say that Manchester United’s (or should I say Alex Ferguson’s) policy has had a fair contingent of home-grown talent. However, this is born of the stability that having the same manager for 2 decades gives you. Sadly, perhaps, this kind of faith on the same person to see you through good times and bad is extremely rare. Ferguson won nothing with United in his first four seasons as manager, I believe. How many top European sides would have that kind of patience nowadays?

Posted by Gonzalo | Report as abusive

Inter nearly made it a trio of champions on Sunday but a 2-1 defeat to Milan means they’ll have to wait for next weekend, when Manchester United should wrap up the Premier League crown.
I think Bayern will do well in the Champions League next term. Zenit was a bit of a freak result and it is hard to see how they could buy anyone better than Toni and Ribery.
Rumours here in Italy say Bayern are eyeing Gennaro Gattuso, who is considering leaving Milan but wont go to another Serie A side.
There still seems to be something missing at Real though, but whether that means a big new player Im not sure.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

The main problem for Bayern is that level of competition is very low therefore they would find it very tough in Europe.

Of course players like Luca TONI and Frank RIBERY can help them on that but just how much.

As for the UEFA Cup defeat, something tells me that Bayern were not wanting it as much as Zenit did. 8/05/hola-madrid-cheers-in-bavaria.html

Posted by john | Report as abusive

[…] league championships by commanding margins, but feeling a bit poignant, on the whole, that they didn’t win their European tournaments. Oh, there were celebrations, songs, and dousings with Weißbier in the gray continental rain, but […]

Posted by Write It Like Disaster – The Run of Play | Report as abusive

I actually think that the time has now come where England will once again dominate Europe, as we did in the period of our pomp in the late 70s, early 80s.

Finally, Sir Alex Fergusons Manchester United has learnt how to play in Europe. After 20 years of very little success in the competition, he has realised that the all-out attack that works so well in the league is simply not effective in the CL.

Against Barca, we saw two solid lines of four, stout defending, and playing on the break. In the second leg, we witnessed a midfieleder scoring an early goal, and then the team soaking up the pressure for 90 minutes. It was eeriely like watching Rafa Benitez’ Liverpool!

Englands top 4 is undoubtedly the strongest in the world, and United are the best team. The money is in England, as are the best players.

Posted by Football Bets | Report as abusive

@ John: the level of competition Bayern faces is ‘very low’ are you kidding me? Sure Bundesliga is in a bit of a down time, but to use ‘very low’ to describe the competition is simply a bit much. There is no team as bad as Derby or Reading in the Bundesliga.
Bayern simply needs to shore up the backline and get a solid CM (Michael Bradley is being rumored to be heading there) I am sure they will pick up some more pieces and mount a very strong challenge for the Champion’s League.

Posted by papa bear | Report as abusive

There’s no reason why they shouldn’t do well in the Champions League but if they want to win it I think they might need a bit more pace in the team.
Borowski is coming on a free from Werder but I think they might need a really speedy striker, and of course they might need to replace Lahm if he goes this year rather than next.
I worry a bit about Rensing, too. He’s a good keeper, doesn’t make too many mistakes, but he maybe doesn’t have too many spectacular, match-winning saves in him.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive