The 2018/19 Bundesliga season concluded with Bayern Munich pipping Borussia Dortmund at the post. The monopoly of the German league remains in the Bavarians’ hands with their seventh-straight title, extending an unparalleled record and will mean those inspecting the history books in the years to come will see the early chapter of the 21st century of Munich domestic dominance; 14 of the past 20 seasons post-millennium have gone their way.
Neither side however is wasting time in preparation for the 2019/20 campaign, with Munich and Dortmund managers Niko Kovac and Lucien Favre already gearing up for a challenging sophomore season, with their inaugural not as plain-sailing as desired.
An ageing squad saw Bayern Munich’s earliest exit from the Champions League in almost a decade despite their domestic success, whereas early promise from Dortmund that had initially gained plaudits from across Europe dissipated as the season progressed.
The destination of the Bundesliga was all but confirmed with Bayern Munich’s comprehensive 5-0 mauling of Favre’s men at the beginning of April which saw Munich finally leapfrog Dortmund at the top of the table. Munich lost just one game from November onwards.
Munich have acted quickly in the transfer window too - buying defenders Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, both World Cup winners with France in Russia in summer 2018.
The Bavarians have proven they’re not messing around; James Rodriguez and Thiago Alcantara arrived promptly in recent years as other continental behemoths were circling, the former on a rare two-year loan deal as rivals mulled and pondered.
Similarly this year, Munich have made moves for Manchester City’s Leroy Sané - the former PFA Young Player of the Year - who has found himself cast out of a regular starting berth under Pep Guardiola though still manage to procure an impressive double-figure tally for both goals and assists in the 18/19 campaign. The Guardian has reported that the 23-year-old former Schalke winger is Munich’s number one priority, with the departures of both veterans Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
At Dortmund, Jadon Sancho’s growth in the BVB setup allowed Christian Pulisic to be sold for €64million (£58m), making the forward the most expensive American player of all time, while the revitalized Paco Alcacer has already been made a permanent fixture after the club exercised their option to sign the loanee from Barcelona earlier on in the season. Alcacer scored 18 league goals in 26 games.
Favre recruited his former Borussia Mönchengladbach left-back Nico Schulz from TSG Hoffenheim in a reported €27million (£23.85m) move. The defender has signed a five-year-contract. 20-year-old Achraf Hakimi impressed in the full-back position during the first of his two-year loan spell from Real Madrid, though his season was cut short with a broken metatarsal in March. Abdou Diallo was called to deputise, but Schulz’ arrival will certainly ease the defensive burden and allow the recovered Hakimi to play on his favoured right flank, and both potentially offer the most rapid full-back partnership in the Bundesliga.
Before the end of May BVB pulled off a double-deal, one of them with another Favre-reunion in Thorgan Hazard leaving Borussia Mönchengladbach after five years for €25.5million (£22.5m), and Julian Brandt from Bayer Leverkusen in a €25million (£22.1m) deal. They have also acquired La Masia product Mateu Morey from Barcelona. The 19-year-old right-back arrives on a free transfer, having missed the last year with a knee injury.
In total, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have accumulated seven signings between them in the fortnight since the 18/19 season concluded. If this has set a precedent for the summer ahead, then this will not only certainly be a transfer window to watch, but perhaps also a clear marker for the Champions League incentives for Germany’s two colossi.