Bundesliga is currently considering the change of competition format by using championship playoff due to the inevitable Bayern domination.
Bayern Munich is on the verge of winning Bundesliga again for ten seasons in a row. They are sitting comfortably on the top with nine points clear from Dortmund on the second with 13 games remaining. Such is surely an alarming one for the future of Bundesliga since there has been barely any Die Roeten's contenders, even the expected Borussia Dortmund, who could provide a tighter title race or competition on the top four in general.
The new DFL (German football League administrator) CEO, Donata Hopfen, made a comment regarding the current situation in Bundesliga to the media.
"The league would of course be more attractive if there was more competition at the top. If playoffs help, then we’ll talk about playoffs. We shouldn’t forget, though, that Bayern has done a super job in the last years.”
There has been no clarity on the details yet but the most likely format would be the additional games for the top four teams in the standings. They will be seeded in two semifinals and the winner goes to the so-called Bundesliga final.
Such format should ideally excites Bayern rivals as they have better chance to win the silverware. However, the only party who is in favour of the new idea is Die Roeten themselves, while most of the top flight teams including Dortmund, Frieburg, Bayer Leverkusen, seem to be against it.
Bayern's constant superiority over the years might be the reason why they remain confident that they will still come out as the league winner in the end, no matter what the format is. Take this season for example. Julian Nagelsmann's men have suffered three defeats but none of them were from their top contenders. Their losses took place while facing off Eintracht Frankfurt, Augsburg and Gladbach. Nevertheless, only the first one was a pure shocking defeat with their full squad while the other two were mainly due to losing their key players in the wave of COVID-19 contraction within the team.
The title decider playoff system itself is not exactly popular in Europe, while in North America, it is quite the opposite. MLS has adopted this format since its foundation in mid 1990s, as well as other sport leagues. Perhaps it is the reason why most European sides are not keen on it since it would be more of adopting the American way, something which most of them might disdain.
However, it does not mean that no European nations use the format at all. Belgian top tier, The Jupiler League, has adopted it since 2009/10 season while Danish Super Liga began to use it in 2016/17 season. Their championship playoff format is yet different from what is touted to be used for Bundesliga. Their top six or four teams play in another round robin competition to decide the champions. Unfortunately, based on these two leagues' results since the first time the playoff was introduced, the league leaders of the regular season and the post-playoff champions mostly stay the same. In Belgium, such only happens three times while in Denmark it is worse. It only took place once in 2018.
The format Bundesliga pondering is more similar to Swedish top tier competition, Allsvenskan, within 1983 and 1990. Once again, it did not stop Malmo FF from dominating the league five seasons consecutively from 1985 to 1989. Furthermore, more concerning issue rose during the playoff years in Sweden. The average number of spectators dropped considerably during the early stage of the season. It would only improve when the playoff stage was held.
Surprisingly, the playoff format does not necessarily guarantee more excitement for the fans, or the end of Bayern's total domination. DFL must come up with more ideas before opting for it.