Bundesliga Considering Format Change to Counter Bayern Dominance

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By Martin Graham | 12th Feb 2022

The management of the Bundesliga is considering a playoff format for the league, according to reports.

Prior to the creation of the Bundesliga in 1963, German football champions were clubs who emerged victorious after competing in regional leagues and national play-offs.

However, since the creation of the league over 50 years ago, Bayern Munich have won it 31 times, with a meager five wins being the second most titles won by another club in the German top flight (shared by Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach).

Bayern Munich is currently on course for their tenth consecutive Bundesliga title and their 13th in the past 15 years, and this development seems to be worrying the Bundesliga chiefs.

Bayern are currently nine points clear at the top of the league table and could go 11 points clear after Saturday’s trip to league minnows VfL Bochum.

The reports claim that the Bundesliga chiefs are currently engaged in discussions about introducing end-of-season play-offs to help make the league more exciting and the title race more engaging.

German football league CEO, Donata Hopfen, spoke to BILD newspaper on the issue. “There are no taboos for me. If play-offs will help us, then we’ll talk about play-offs.”

Bayern Munich in support of playoff system

Hopfen got some unlikely support in Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn who claimed that Bayern is open to new suggestions.

“A format with semi-finals and a final would mean more excitement for the fans, so it makes sense to explore these ideas. We’re always open to new suggestions,” Kahn told Kicker magazine.

“Of course, the league would be more attractive if it had more competition at the top. There are no sacred cows for me. If play-offs help us, then we’ll talk about play-offs.”

The playoff system is still very much in use in many other continent, most especially the Americas. In Europe, a number of smaller leagues have also adopted the format, most notably the Belgian Pro League.

The Bundesliga would be the first major European league to introduce playoffs in recent times, which will also see them go back to how champions were decided in the country.

The suggestion has been met with skepticism, however. German supporter advocacy group “Unsere Kurve” flatly rejected the proposal on Thursday and argued that the league should ensure for stricter measures in finance distribution especially funds that emanate from television sponsorships.

Kicker also reported that many of the current Bundesliga teams oppose the idea, with Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin at the forefront of the opposition.

The German football league, however, have called for open discussions on the issue.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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