A few days ago, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness voiced concern that the Bundesliga was becoming a duopoly, with the two powers being Munich and Dortmund, and that this concentration of power would ultimately hurt the league. At first glance, this makes sense. Everyone is sick of how top heavy the big leagues are, and while everyone envies the evergreen success of Real Madrid and Barcelona, no one particularly wants their league to be so out of whack. Good entertainment requires more than two possible outcomes (actually I’m not sure that’s true; worth revisiting later).
But what on earth would a president of a big club want beside a never-ending parade of victories? They want to win, and win forever. Ideally, the victories would be hard-fought and well-earned, but they’d all be victories nonetheless. So what a club president would honestly want in an ideal world, I think, would be a league in which he could consistently win without an aura of corruption (Serie A…) or the impression there wasn’t real competition (La Liga). (Does this bring us to Man U and the EPL? Maybe). So when a club president says his and his rival club should take action against the concentration of power, what does he mean?
Today, the day before Dortmund plays Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals, it was announced that Bayern are triggering Mario Gotze’s buyout clause and bringing him over this summer. They’re simultaneously buying their rival’s most promising young player and moaning that the league isn’t competitive enough. The announcement has been timed to inflict maximum psychic damage before Dortmund’s most important game of the season.
What these guys want is to win. When they talk about anything else, they’re still talking about winning.