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.


Prince Abdullah wins legal battle to control Sheffield United

Updated 17 September 2019

Prince Abdullah wins legal battle to control Sheffield United

LONDON: A Saudi prince has won a London court battle for full control of Premier League club Sheffield United.

Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad and co-owner Kevin McCabe were locked in a legal dispute over ownership of the northern English team after their business partnership broke down.

The prince, through his firm UTB LLC, took McCabe’s company Sheffield United Ltd. to court in a bid to enforce a sale agreement reached in December 2017.

Judge Timothy Fancourt said McCabe must sell his 50 percent share of the club to the prince for £5 million ($6 million).

In a 138-page judgment, delivered in London on Monday, the judge said the club is now worth “in the region” of £100 million ($124 million).

In a statement after the ruling, Prince Abdullah said he is “fully committed to continued investment in both the first team and the academy and to bringing best practices and the highest standards of management to the club.”

UTB will have to buy the club’s property assets, which include the Bramall Lane stadium and the Sheffield United hotel, from Sheffield United Ltd.

The judge says McCabe was introduced to Prince Abdullah in 2012 by a third party. 

They reached an agreement to split control of the club, then in the third tier and in need of investment, on a 50-50 basis in return for the prince investing £10 million  over two years.

After relations soured following disagreements over funding, McCabe offered to either buy Prince Abdullah’s stake or to sell his to the prince for £5 million.

The sale was not completed however, prompting Prince Abdullah to bring legal action against McCabe to enforce the contract of sale.

In return, McCabe sued in a bid to have the contract declared void or set aside and also sought damages for breach of contract. 

The team has opened the Premier League season by collecting five points from five games to sit 15th in the 20-team standings.