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Feb 26, 2014

Watzke: State of Bundesliga is not good

Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke has warned that Bayern Munich’s dominance is damaging the health of the Bundesliga.

Uersfeld: Lewa helps BVB past Zenit
Marcotti: Bundesliga imbalance

Bayern, who won the title by a record 25-point margin last season, are currently 19 points clear at the top of the table after winning 20 and drawing two of their 22 league games under Pep Guardiola so far. In the process, they have scored 61 goals, conceding only nine.

Dortmund, who lost to Bayern in last year’s Champions League final, had won the Bundesliga title in 2011 and 2012 but have been unable to mount a domestic challenge this season and currently find themselves in third place.

Watzke had claimed last month that Bayern, who have moved to sign key BVB players Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski over the last year, were “out to destroy Dortmund ... by taking our players so that we no longer constitute a threat for them.” He has now warned that Bayern’s dominance threatens to undermine the Bundesliga’s standing in world football.

He told FAZ: “Over the past 30, 40 years, no German club has been able to build a platform like Bayern Munich has done. It’s a different story in Spain, England and Italy. You’ll find this monopoly only in Germany. The current state of Bundesliga is not good.

“For the development of German football, it is imperative that there is another club challenging alongside FC Bayern.”

He added that Dortmund want to be the team challenging them and also called on the other “bigger clubs” to try to change the status quo, but he said many have abandoned hope of a title charge for the foreseeable future.

“Big clubs like Dortmund, Schalke, Hamburg or Stuttgart aren’t allowed to lose sight of the Bundesliga title in the long run, but that’s extremely difficult,” he said. “Some clubs have put that issue to one side for many years to come.”

Watzke acknowledged that Bayern’s advantage over their rivals was predominantly down to other clubs failing to manage their finances effectively, but he takes encouragement from the fact Dortmund have bounced back after being the brink of bankruptcy in 2005.

“We and the other clubs need to find a way to close the gap,” he said. “Economically, we have been able to considerably narrow the gap although, at the same time, it is still huge.”

Bayern president Uli Hoeness had said last year that his club did not want to see competition diluted in the Bundesliga and Sport Bild reported on Wednesday club executives have now resolved not to buy any further Dortmund players.

The magazine said this is in part due to a desire not to weaken their biggest rivals of recent years but also due to concerns over the club’s rising wage bill, which represents just over 200 million euros from an annual turnover of 432 million euros.

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