Bayern Munich and the weight of expectation


Tomorrow, Bayern Munich welcome Borussia Dortmund to their Allianz Arena for the 2012 DFL Supercup, the beginning of the Bundesliga season, and the resumption of German football’s great modern rivalry.

Yet, the contest – although as provocative as ever – has been a stale dispute in terms of a victor for the best part of two years now, with Dortmund comfortably beating Bayern Munich in each of their past four encounters, the most symbolic of which coming in last year’s Pokal final when Dortmund routed the Bavarian side by five goals to two, reducing the proud club to nothing more than bystanders.

The power struggle, or lack thereof, for Germany’s Bundesliga title initially encourages the casual fan to presume that a simple exchange in fortune and quality between constant Bavarian oppressors Bayern Munich, and the young, hip Borussia Dortmund is all there is to the last two years of underdog rule. Yet, a closer look would suggest otherwise.

In terms of quality on the pitch, few would argue that Dortmund are light years ahead of the Munich side. In fact with the recent run to the Champions League final, and the national team’s dependency on Bayern’s German contingent, a stronger case could be made that the Bavarian side do indeed possess more World class players, and a larger squad to boot. What’s more, the acquisition of Xherdan Shaqiri alongside Claudio Pizarro and Euro 2012 hero Mario Mandzukic, should make their attacking options even stronger, while Dante from Borussia Moenchengladbach offers a vital alternative to the sturdy, yet susceptible, central defence pairing of Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng.

Yet the real difference between these two sides isn’t a matter of market values, or international caps; it’s an issue of two separate mentalities. One empowers the boys club from Dortmund, while the other cripples the powerhouse from Munich. Expectation, and the pressure that comes with it, is the very commodity that defines them both.

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