The Bundesliga in Germany and Ligue 1 in France have become very predictable and boring domestic competitions due to the huge difference in level between their champions and the rest of the contenders. The situation becomes contradictory in Europe .
Photos: IG-fcbayern, IG-PSG
LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño
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Leer en español: Bayern y PSG: un dominio local que aniquila a sus ligas
History repeats itself year after year and the beginning of the 2022-23 season does not seem to show any changes in this regard. Bayern Munich, in Germany, and Paris Saint Germain, in France, are destined to repeat the league title, because in the first days they showed the enormous differences that they mark with the rest of the teams that make them up.
In the Bundesliga, Julian Naggelsman's team crushed Bochum on the third date as visitors 7-0. Meanwhile, in Ligue 1, PSG, also as a guest, passed the roller 7-1 over Lille, the only team in that country capable of snatching a title from the Parisians in the last six years, in the season 2020-21.
FiveThirtyEight, an American website that uses statistical models to predict events in politics, economics, and sports, estimated that Bayern Munich have an 88 percent chance of winning the Bundesliga. In France, PSG's odds are slightly higher, only offset by the fact that Olympique Lyon won their first two games and are considered a dangerous opponent statistically.
If we add the figures of both clubs in six combined league games, they have scored 31 goals. If the German Super Cup and the Trophée des Champions are added to that, there are 40 goals, in eight games. Bayern have had 119 shots in their last five Bundesliga games. Those situations don't look like title races, but nine-month coronations.
Bavarian Rule = Boring Tournament
Money is what makes the difference, in most cases. Bayern accounted for 29 percent of all spending by Bundesliga clubs this summer. Dominant clubs are simply allowed to express their dominance and thus increase it. It is a condition that is maintained through generations, more so in Germany, where they are conservative.
Reality is detrimental to the health of a league that is one of the most traditional in Europe and is still ranked in the top 5. According to Zonadeprensaard, some research suggests that new-age fans enjoy seeing a dynasty of star players from high-profile, who dominate as much as they absorb title races. But there are still doubts about the sustainability of monopoly leagues.
In turn, Donata Hopfen, CEO of the German Football League (DFL), has insisted that the Bundesliga would be more attractive to investors if there were more competition at the top. Her idea, popular in some quarters, is to introduce the end-of-season playoff format between the top-ranked clubs to decide the champion.
In Munich, the mood is less superficial after winning the tenth consecutive league title, perhaps because the most recent, was achieved with just 8 points ahead of their escort, the smallest difference since the 2019-19 season. The 'Bavarians' have historically dominated their local championship and without relying on state property.
Unlike what happens in France with PSG, the football culture around Bayern is much deeper. That's why domestic titles have become all too common because confirmation of these domestic trophies doesn't provide the same dopamine hit in the fans, who are clamoring for European success as a replacement. Of course, they already got it in the 2020 season.
PSG Project Reduces Interest in Ligue 1
In Paris, the circus is always present with the explosiveness of Kylian Mbappé, the rumors of Neymar leaving and an attempt to change the transfer management. If Bayern represents 29% of the expenses of the German league, PSG represents 26% percent in Ligue 1.
The Parisians' argument to overwhelm the other teams in their tournament has weight, but it is at the same time arrogant. It is a super project that has brought elite players to France so that the league is more watched than a decade ago. It's true, but it's not healthy.
Zonadeprensaard highlights that fans can enjoy the repetition of titles for a while, but that feeling evaporates over time if new challenges and achievements do not appear. On the third date, Mbappé, Messi and Neymar gave a clear message as visitors by scoring a goal against Lille after nine seconds and then scoring six more.
The aforementioned media gave a good example with the most recent title of the team now led by Cristophe Galtier. In April, when the pennant was made official, its fans left the stadium 15 minutes early and celebrated outside the Parc des Princes as a sign of their anger with the players and the coach for their premature elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid.
At that time, the prestigious L'Équipe called him “A star that does not shine”. The predictable league title took Argentine Mauricio Pochettino off the bench because for the fans and the European environment, PSG has a European void that is not going to be filled by winning every year in France.
Is It the Trend?
An article published in late 2021 by Esquire.com claims that the Royal Society Open Science used a network science approach to study 26 years of football results. This determined that football is becoming boring and much more predictable.
At work, Taha Yasseri and his colleague Victor Maimone created a database of more than 87,000 European soccer league matches between 1993 and 2019, focused on matches that ended in victory for one of the protagonists. “I'm a huge fan and follower of soccer. I felt like maybe I could use some network science methods to make predictions about the outcome of soccer games," Yasseri told Esquire.
And it is that the current examples of Bayern and PSG are not the only ones in recent times of international football. In Italy until three years ago, Juventus was the lord and master with nine leagues in a row. At some point in France, Olympique Lyon won the title for eight consecutive seasons.
Merely comparing wins and losses between teams is not enough data to really capture the complexity of their interaction on the pitch, Yasseri agreed. He also added that the problem is that the teams play against rivals with different potentials.
"For me, women's football is more interesting than men's, because of its unpredictability, because it is not yet overly commercialized and because clubs can still exceed expectations," he concluded for Esquire.