How Bayern won its 5th straight Bundesliga title

Bayern Munich's players celebrate after winning the Bundesliga following their match against VFL Wolfsburg on Saturday. (Reuters(
Updated 30 April 2017

How Bayern won its 5th straight Bundesliga title

BERLIN: No team had ever won the Bundesliga more than three times in a row before Bayern Munich extended it to four last year.
Now make that five.
As expected, the Bavarian powerhouse extended its record with its fifth straight title Saturday, beating Wolfsburg 6-0 away to wrap up its 27th German championship overall with three games to go.
How did Bayern do it and what makes the club so dominant in Germany?
Here are a few reasons:

Best squad
After taking over from Pep Guardiola last summer, Carlo Ancelotti inherited a squad of Germany’s World Cup winners such as Thomas Mueller, Philipp Lahm and Jerome Boateng, as well as stars like Robert Lewandowski, Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. Germany defender Mats Hummels arrived from league rival Borussia Dortmund, and exciting Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches from Benfica. Ancelotti has had enviable talent at his disposal, with some of his stars forced to spend time on the substitutes’ bench due to the fierce competition for places.

A great start
Ancelotti began his tenure with seven victories across all competitions — the best start ever for a new Bayern coach — and did not taste defeat in the Bundesliga until a 1-0 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund in the 11th round. It proved to be just one of two defeats on the way to the title.

Late goals
Bayern was able to dig itself out of trouble with narrow victories and late goals maintaining its title push when it seemed the side’s intensity had dropped after Christmas. Lewandowski scored in injury time for a 2-1 win at Freiburg, Manuel Neuer made a number of saves to secure a 2-1 victory at Werder Bremen, and another injury-time goal from Lewandowski — in the 96th minute — salvaged a 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin. Other sides complain of Bayern’s “luck” but it is the undying will to win that pushes the side to the very end of games.

Financial clout
Much is made of Wolfsburg’s backing by Volkswagen, Bayer Leverkusen by the pharmaceutical company, or Leipzig by an energy drinks company, but Bayern can count on the backing of three major partners: sportswear giant Adidas, insurance company Allianz, and car-maker Audi. They each hold an 8.33 percent stake in the club, which boasts revenues unrivaled among any other side in Germany.

Hard work
Money and players alone are not enough to win the championship. Bayern dug deep when it had to, turning draws into narrow wins and defeats into draws. Ancelotti’s patient approach has been appreciated by his players, who were given more freedom than under predecessor Pep Guardiola. The Italian coach has an excellent backroom team including assistant coaches Hermann Gerland and Davide Ancelotti (his son), technical director Michael Reschke. Perhaps even more importantly, Ancelotti can count on unwavering support from club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeness.

Poor competition
While Wolfsburg offered no resistance on Saturday, the fact that a promoted side, Leipzig, was the one to push Ancelotti’s team the hardest says a lot about the level of competition Bayern faces on a regular basis in the Bundesliga. Dortmund’s challenge faded due to inconsistency, and expected challengers like Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Schalke all faltered badly. Schalke started with five defeats, while the others are still fighting relegation.


Dakar Rally stars gear up for ‘thrilling’ Saudi race challenge

The first stage of Rally Qassim began in Umm Sidra covering a distance of 170km. Several drivers are keen to test before the Dakar Rally crosses the country for the first time in January 2020. (SPA)
Updated 19 October 2019

Dakar Rally stars gear up for ‘thrilling’ Saudi race challenge

  • French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally, revealed that he was initially surprised to hear that the competition had been moved from Africa to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Dakar Rally drivers are gearing up for a “thrilling and exciting” challenge when the world-famous desert race is staged in Saudi Arabia for the first time next year.
The Kingdom will host the event from Jan. 5 to 17, 2020 with top racers from around the globe traveling thousands of kilometers through inhospitable terrain in cars, trucks and on quad bikes and motorcycles.
The rally will begin in Jeddah and follow a tough route through desert, sand dunes and mountainous areas taking in NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Riyadh and Qiddiya.
French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally, revealed that he was initially surprised to hear that the competition had been moved from Africa to Saudi Arabia.
“However, after doing some research, I realized that Saudi Arabia was a very wonderful and suitable country for the rally. It has different terrain types, and I expect us to have a perfect track. The vast desert gives me hope that the 2020 Saudi Dakar Rally will be more thrilling and exciting than Africa,” he said.
Five-time Dakar Rally winner and fellow French driver, Cyril Despres, said that racing in Saudi Arabia would be a new adventure that could only be experienced by those who lived up to its challenges.
“When I heard that the Dakar Rally was moving for the first time to the Middle East, I remembered the words of its founder, Thierry Sabine, who said that if you liked exploring the African continent, you would also love exploring other parts of the world,” he added.

Positive move
British rally raid motorcycle rider, Sam Sunderland, who won his category in the 2017 Dakar Rally, said he was delighted to be participating in the Saudi race. “I believe that this change is good, as I have lived in Dubai for 10 years, having adapted well to the Middle East’s atmosphere.

When I heard that the Dakar Rally was moving for the first time to the Middle East, I remembered the words of its founder, Thierry Sabine, who said that if you liked exploring the African Continent, you would also love exploring other parts of the world.

Cyril Despres, French driver

“Exploring a new area is a positive move for the Dakar Rally, and I am certain that everyone who practices this sport is excited to explore a new ground for racing,” Sunderland added.
ED Racing Team driver, Issa Al-Dossari, said the main reason he had taken part in Rally Qassim was to prepare for the Dakar challenge.
“We will be using two cars in the rally. We look forward to raising the level of preparedness for many coming global events. But this does not mean that we will not compete for the top places.”
Al-Dossari invited sports fans to visit the team’s headquarters at Date City to see equipment and meet its members.
The team must participate in two different cars, the first driven by Al-Dossari with his French navigator Sébastien Delaunay, and the second with Emirati Abdallah Al-Huraiz behind the wheel and Ali Hassan navigating.
The first stage of Rally Qassim began on Friday in Umm Sidra covering a distance of 170 km, with stage two raced over 200 km.
Meanwhile, entry registrations for the Dakar Rally are still open in all categories at https://www.dakar.com/en/the-competitors/register.