Bayern Munich kicks off the Bundesliga season at home to Hamburg today with captain Philipp Lahm eyeing an historic fourth straight German league title for Pep Guardiola’s swansong.
Guardiola will start the third and final season on his current contract with Bayern looking to maintain their ruthless recent domination of Hamburg. The Bavarian giants show little sign of releasing its iron-grip on the Bundesliga trophy, which the team has won for the last three seasons.
Now, the team wants to be the first German team to win four titles in a row. “Nobody has ever achieved that, not even the towering team of the 70s,” said Lahm. “It’s a great incentive, the players are thinking about it,” while defender Jerome Boateng added: “We desperately want to do it”.
Bayern has lost midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger to Manchester United and recruited Chile’s midfield dynamo Arturo Vidal and Brazil winger Douglas Costa, but on paper Hamburg should not present a problem for the Bavarian giants. They were pounded 8-0 on their last Allianz Arena appearance in February and Hamburg’s goalless draw at home to Munich last September was seen as a moral victory for the hosts after 4-1, 3-1, 9-2 and 3-0 drubbings in prior meetings.
Nobody has ever achieved that, not even the towering team of the 70s. It’s a great incentive.
Having only stayed in Germany’s top flight by winning the relegation play-off for a second year running, Hamburg has boosted its defence by signing Bosnian bad-boy centre-back Emir Spahic. Midfielder Marcelo Diaz, whose last-minute free-kick at Karlsruhe helped keep them up last season, was then part of Chile’s Copa America-winning side and he says Hamburg fans deserve more than to see their team struggle again.
“If a big club like Hamburg only survives relegation two years in a row, the fans can get frustrated and unhappy,” said Diaz. “I am sure things will be different this season, because the club deserves better than an annual fight against relegation.”