Bayern Munich have secured this season's Bundesliga title with a record-setting 3-1 win against Hertha Berlin on Tuesday.
The decisive win was not a surprise. Bayern have unquestionably dominated the Bundesliga this season.
Will their financial might, squad quality, and Guardiola's positive influence ensure their dominance for years to come?
Here are a few reasons it will.
(1) Adaptable Squad
Pep Guardiola took over Germany's most successful team this season with expectations to improve on last season's run placed on his shoulders. With a squad as versatile as Bayern's current one, it was much easier for Guardiola to implement his style of football.
There are a few key differences between Jupp Heynckes' Bayern and Pep Guardiola's Bayern. But, the German side have been successful despite the changes they've had to make under Pep Guardiola.
For one, the team has had a successful defense under both managers, though implemented in completely different fashion.
Guardiola has implemented a Barcelona-style defensive tactic at Bayern, in which he urges his squad to play a high-pressure game and win back the ball through aggressive pressing. As soon as Bayern lose the ball (if ever), their forwards and midfielders work hard to win the ball back immediately which is why it's rare that opponents ever get between Bayern's back line and Manuel Neuer. On the other hand, Heynckes' Bayern had a more risky defensive style in which they defended more in their own half rather than pressing high.
A result of "The Guardiola Effect" (possession football combined with a high-pressure defensive system) is a 62 percent possession rate over the course of the season - a four percent increase from their last season under Heynckes. More impressive, however, is how infrequently Bayern concede control of the ball. Last season they won back possession a little over 14 times per match through interceptions, compared to this season's 10 interceptions a match (a 26 percent drop).
Another example of Bayern's adaptability (due to the versatility of individual players on the squad) would be their ability to successfully shift from Heynckes' balanced offensive play to Guardiola's famous "tiki-taka" style.
(2) Squad Depth
Bayern Munich are lucky enough to have one of the deepest squads in world football today.
It's obvious that their quality in depth was a big reason they were able to win the treble last season. The players that come off of Bayern's bench regularly are as capable of playing first team football as the players they replace and Bayern's acquisition of the likes of Mario Gotze and Thiago this summer has made their squad even more menacing.
It's notable that the Bavarian team has been this dominant without the likes of defensively vital players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, both of whom have been absent through injury for long spells.
(3) Money, money, and more money
Bayern are currently world leaders in commercial revenue. (What is it they're not leaders of, again?) Their annual report this year has come in impressively due to prize money from the Champions League, DfB Pokal, and Bundesliga titles. Combined with match day income from a usually sold out Allianz Arena, sponsorship and such, they've made a hefty turnover of €368 million this year.
What does that have to do with their potential dominance, though? The Bundesliga is already a two to three horse race. With Bayern's bank accounts filled to the brim, it gives them the opportunity to cut that number down to one.
Aki Watzke, Borussia Dortmund's CEO, has accused Munich of using their innumerable funds to "destroy" opposition by taking their players so that other teams no longer constitute a threat to them. It's a legitimate complaint from the bitter Dortmund CEO.
But, there's not much that can be done to stop Europe's most dominant team. They've taken one of Dortmund's star players after the other (Robert Lewandowski will be the second player to leave in the span of two seasons) and it has effectively reduced the amount of threat Dortmund poses as a title contender.
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