Just eight weeks into the German Bundesliga and the season is pretty much done and dusted. Bayern Munich are running away with yet another title – it would be their fourth in a row and 26th overall. Also, if they win just one more game, the Bavarians will have beaten their record for best-ever start to a season. Bayern have so far won eight out of eight games, and few would dispute the fact that their recent run is largely thanks to one player: Robert Lewandowski. He’s the league’s leading scorer, with a tally of 12 goals this season, 9 of them over the last three games! He scored no less than five goals in nine minutes against Wolfsburg and was at it again when facing rivals Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. Bayern‘s rivals that is, not Lewandowski‘s. For it was Dortmund that the Polish striker called home before moving to Munich last year. It didn’t even cost Bayern one dime to pry him away from Signal Iduna Park, since his contract with Borussia was ending and he was able to sign on a free transfer. Not a bad deal, considering he was valued at about $60 million then and Real Madrid are ready to pay $70 million to have him now.
Lewandowski was up to his clinical best when facing his former team this weekend, and secured an emphatic 5-1 win for Bayern in front of their home crowd. Thomas Muller had made it 2-0, but Pierre Aubameyang – Bundesliga‘s second highest goalscorer this season – pulled one back for Borussia, before Lewandowski stepped up to score twice in the opening 13 minutes of the second half. Mario Gotze (also an ex-Borussia player) then sealed it for Bayern. A night to forget for the visitors and manager Thomas Tuchel. Barely accustomed to life at his new club – having taken over from Jurgen Klopp in the summer – Tuchel finds himself seven points adrift his Bavarian rivals and just one ahead of Schalke, who are 3rd in the standings. A world away from his previous job as manager of lowly FSV Mainz, Tuchel has aquitted himself well in Dortmund, all things considered. But he certainly was expected to mount a more serious challenge to Bayern.
Nothing but smooth sailing for Tuchel‘s counterpart Pep Guardiola, who has put to rest any doubts about what was going to happen in the Bundesliga this season and can focus on bigger things. Like the Champions League. It’s the one silverware that’s missing from Guardiola‘s trophy cabinet in Munich. The one thing that still makes his predecessor, Jupp Heynckes, better than him as manager of Bayern, at least on paper. Heynckes ended his reign in spectacular fashion, winning the treble in 2013 (Bundesliga, domestic cup, Champions League). Of course, the 44 year-old Catalan is no stranger to continental success himself, having won the top European competition twice, as manager of FC Barcelona. There is hardly a name more synonymous with success in football over the past decade than Guardiola‘s. In just seven years managing Barcelona and Bayern, he’s already won ten major trophies. 19, if you count supercups and the Club World Cup – which I never do. No wonder he’s being payed $24 million per year in Munich.