Football: Bayern splash the cash to buy Bundesliga title
AFP · 5 May 2008, 08:47
Published: 05 May 2008 08:47 GMT+02:00
No other Bundesliga side is remotely capable of copying Bayern's feat of splashing out €69 million ($100 million) in a summer spending spree to recruit names like Ribery from Marseille and Toni from Fiorentina.
The pair gave an almost instant return, long before the season was won at Wolfsburg with a 0-0 draw on Sunday with three games remaining.
Ribery, who cost Bayern €26 million last summer, bossed Bayern's midfield over the course of the season, while Toni has scored 21 league goals so far for the winners.
Bayern bought in seven players last summer including Germany defender Marcell Jansen and striker Miroslav Klose, the top-scorer at the 2006 World Cup who came to Bayern for a cool €12 million.
Over the course of the season, Toni and Klose have scored 31 league goals between them so far.
Veteran striker Roy Maakay and midfielder Owen Hargreaves were both sold to cater for the new arrivals, while Ze Roberto was brought back from Brazil to give the midfield a harder edge alongside Ribery.
Before the season began, club manager Uli Hoeness had predicted a massive gap between his team and the rest of the league once the action started.
"They will need binoculars to see us," he boasted with only a hint of irony.
While the other Bundesliga clubs watched the spending spree with the green eyes of envy, Bayern blasted their opponents and finished with a 10-0 goal difference with a maximum 9 points after the first three games.
Bayern were only beaten twice in the league this season - at VfB Stuttgart and Energie Cottbus - after lacklustre performances.
The defeat in Cottbus was the biggest shock of the season as the Bundesliga's bottom side beat the top team in March - on the day Bayern barely put up a fight.
With a salary of €10 million a year - or more than €192,000 ($296,500 ) per week before tax - there were mutterings of discontent in the Bayern ranks on the rare occasions Toni failed to score.
But Toni and Ribery proved their worth in the title run-in when defending champions VfB Stuttgart were hammered 4-1 at the end of April when Ribery came off the bench and lit up the Allianz Arena.
After Toni put Bayern ahead in the eighth minute, Ribery made his entrance in the 57th minute, picked up an immediate yellow card, curled in a shot from 35 metres and smashed home a second a minute later to seal the win.
"He is an artist when the ball is at his feet," beamed club manager Uli Hoeness.
"You may congratulate us on winning the title."
But Bayern's illusions of greatness were blown apart when a side containing the likes of Ribery, Toni and Klose were blown apart at Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Cup semi-final on May 1.
The 4-0 hammering was fully deserved as the Russians ruthlessly exposed Bayern's poor defending.
Even though club president Franz Beckenbauer had descibed the UEFA Cup as a ‘losers’ competition, Munich failed to impress in their European campaign.
New coach Jurgen Klinsmann will need to make sure his side are far more consistent next season if Bayern are to threaten in the Champions League.