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‘Bayern Munich have lost their fear factor’ - Club legend Matthaus expecting tough title defence

10:17 AM EST 12/10/19
Ivan Perisic Bayern Munich 2019-20
The Bundesliga giants have slipped off the pace again in the German top-flight, with it no longer possible to sweep aside all before them

Bayern Munich’s rivals have “lost their fear and awe” of the Bundesliga giants, claims club legend Lothar Matthaus.

The Bavarian outfit remain the dominant force in German football, with seven successive title wins having been savoured over recent years.

It was expected that a serious challenge for eight in a row would be staged in 2019-20, but the current campaign has not run as smoothly as those at the Allianz Arena would have hoped.

Niko Kovac has already been relieved of his managerial duties, with Bayern currently sat seventh in the table after suffering four defeats through 14 games, with 18 points dropped in total.

Matthaus believes Bayern are no longer viewed as invincible in the eyes of their opponents, with there a sizeable challenge now facing the reigning champions if they are to once again defend their crown.

A man who took in two memorable spells in Munich during his playing days told Sky Deutschland: “The opponents have lost their fear and awe of Bayern Munich.

“Even if teams fall behind, they still believe they can win, and some even manage to do so. This was extremely rare in the past.

“If Bayern continue to weaken, and Gladbach, Leipzig or Dortmund continue to play consistently well, it will be tense until the end of the season.

“Except for Bayern and their fans, everyone is happy. But everyone should know that you can never write off the record champions.”

While refusing to rule Bayern out of the title race, despite seven points separating them from top spot, Matthaus admits there is much for them and interim boss Hansi Flick to do.

The 1990 World Cup winner added: “Overall, the team of Hansi Flick lacks balance. 

“The formation at the weekend [in a 2-1 defeat to leaders Borussia Monchengladbach] surprised me. 

“Why did [Joshua] Kimmich suddenly have to play at right-back? Why was [Thomas] Muller on the right wing, where his strengths do not come into their own, and why was the fast [Benjamin] Pavard ignored? I did not understand those decisions.

“Now, Munich are six points behind Leipzig and seven behind Gladbach. The four other teams standing in front of them are not that far away. 

“It will be much more difficult this season than in recent times to take the lead again. 

“Last year, they only had to hunt down the Dortmunders. Currently, there are two teams with a big gap and then Leverkusen, Schalke, Freiburg and the resurgent BVB.”

Bayern will be in Champions League action on Wednesday against Tottenham, before then returning to domestic duty with a home date against Werder Bremen.