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Everyone was very excited about Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich this week.
Partly because the novelty of having actual football back hasn’t quite worn off yet, partly because it promised to be a terrific game, but partly because if Dortmund won then the title race would be well and truly on.
But Bayern won 1-0 through Joshua Kimmich’s chip, they went seven points clear and with six games remaining, that’s probably that.
What does the result, and another failure to win the title or even really take it down to the wire, mean for Dortmund and Lucien Favre?
“It could be quite momentous,” said Rafa Honigstein on the Totally Football Show this week. “Favre has been fighting against doubts, particularly in the second half of last season when they collapsed and only won 34 points. This time the collapse, if you will, happened in the first half of the season, when they only won 30 points.
“That basically leaves you in a position where you have to win every single game, including this one against Bayern. I don’t think they lost the title by losing against Bayern, but they had just lost too many points earlier in the season. That’s where the big doubts about his management come in.
“Dortmund realise they are the underdogs against Bayern, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be getting better results against everyone else in the league, and get close to 80 points which you’ll need to win the title.
“The accusation is that his ways are very professorial, very technical, a little bit cold – it’s perhaps not the right fit for a team and a club that wants to feel the emotions and bring the energy that someone like Jurgen Klopp used to bring.
“Unfortunately his shadow continues to loom large: everyone else has fallen short when it comes to winning stuff.
“The good news for Favre is that there aren’t many alternatives out there on the market. Dortmund kept him because they couldn’t find anyone else, as did Bayern with Kovac, and they might keep him next year because they still can’t find anyone else.”
What do Dortmund need to get close to Bayern's level?
— Anthony Borg (@IamAnthonyBorg) May 28, 2020
So how, as listener Anthony Borg asks, do they need to close the gap?
Rafa said: “The easy answer would be money. They start every season about €250million down in comparison to Bayern, which is a big gap to fill. You can do it by selling a big player every other year, but then of course you have to reinvest the money in players that will have to go back to that level.
“Bayern keep all their best players, they add more and more winners, more and more winners want to join them, and there are more players who believe Bayern is their final destination, rather than where they become the player they want to be then go somewhere else.
“Until they change that dynamic, which is going to be very difficult, they will always start every campaign as underdogs. What I would say is that this year, over the course of the season, they managed to buy half a team, and really strengthen.
“If you think about Mats Hummels arriving, and Emre Can, and Julian Brandt, and Thorgan Hazard, and Erling Haaland – you’d expect them to push Bayern close, even with the structural inequality, and they haven’t been able to do it.”
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