Bayern Munich wins the top game at Borussia Dortmund 4-0, and Thomas Müller is happy to have stuck with Bayer Leverkusen. The front runner won in Hoffenheim.
“We kept pace with Leverkusen.” After ten match days, Müller’s sentence describes quite well what a championship race is taking place Football Bundesliga – one in which it is not the record champions from Bavaria who sets the pace, but rather the Leverkusen team, who have never become champions.
Dortmund is no longer the biggest threat
The fact that the Bayern striker said this after a confident 4-0 win against BVB, which was also highly rated, also shows that the Dortmund team in Munich is currently not perceived as the biggest threat to their own title ambitions. Borussia have been runners-up in four of the past five seasons and third once.
We got a very nice three points.
Bayer coach Xabi Alonso after the 3-2 win in Hoffenheim
Something that the Leverkusen team, who were once denigrated as “vice-runners”, have not been able to do for a long time – between 1996 and 2002 they were runner-up four times. The last time they finished a season in second place was in 2011. But now more and more people are thinking that after the UEFA Cup victory in 1988 and the cup victory in 1993, the championship could finally work out.
Bayer has not yet lost a competitive game
14 wins and one draw from 15 competitive games fuel this hope. In addition to a club record at the top of the table, this currently gives Bayer two points ahead of Bayern. By the way, Leverkusen suffered their only point loss in Munich on matchday 4 – when Exequiel Palacios scored a penalty in added time to make the final score 2-2.
According to sporting director Simon Rolfes, there are two main reasons why things are going so well for Leverkusen, who had a much harder time winning 3-2 in Hoffenheim on Saturday than Bayern did in Dortmund: “We have wonderful kickers. But they are also ready , hard to work.”
Our great quality is that we can throw different things into the mix.
Simon Rolfes, sports director in Leverkusen
In addition to the highly talented Florian Wirtz – scorer for the 1-0 win – the “wonderful kickers” also include 28-year-old Alejandro Grimaldo, who became the match winner with his brace at TSG Hoffenheim. “He has a fantastic shooting technique. That’s no coincidence, he can just do it,” said Rolfes about the Spaniard.
Bayer keeper Hradecky praises unity in the dressing room
However, a lack of good kickers has never been Leverkusen’s problem in all of their failed attempts at the title to date. The question arises as to what could be different this season and what has made Thomas Müller realize that it is more important to keep up with Leverkusen than to verbally celebrate a 4-0 win against Borussia Dortmund.
Captain Lukas Hradecky has a possible answer to this question after the narrow win in Hoffenheim: “Last year we wouldn’t have won the game, but with the run and the unity in the dressing room it’s possible. That’s the biggest development.” According to an initial interim conclusion, whether this development will make Bayer look down on Bayern from the top of the table not just after ten but after 34 match days could be the most exciting question of the season.