Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the UEFA Champions League group D football match between FC Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in Munich, southern Germany, on December 6, 2016.
GUENTER SCHIFFMANN / AFP
Carlo Ancelotti and Bayern Munich will be a laughing stock if they fail to lift the Bundesliga title this season, according to Lothar Matthaus.
Bayern have had uncharacteristic stutters in the first half of the 2016-17 campaign with Champions League defeats to Atletico Madrid and Rostov and a 1-0 Bundesliga loss to Borussia Dortmund.
There were also surprise home draws with Cologne and Hoffenheim, but a run of six wins in a row – including a 3-0 victory over surprise title contenders RB Leipzig – ensured they reached the mid-season break with a three-point lead at the summit.
Matthaus expects the second-half of the season to be just as tough for Bayern, but says they must win a fifth successive league title to avoid ridicule in Germany.
“The laughter in Germany will be enormous if Bayern fail to win the Bundesliga title with this great squad,” the Bayern great told TZ.
“Ancelotti would fail to do something that [Pep] Guardiola has done in passing. That’s why officially the Bundesliga title is the top priority.
“Although I think that this looks different internally. If you guarantee Bayern a title right now, they will opt for the Champions League.”
He added: “I am really looking forward to the second part of the season because finally the Bundesliga has not been decided in the winter.
“That’s good for football, for the fans and for FC Bayern, too. They are now forced to give 100 per cent in every match of the second half of the season.
“And there are some reasons for that, Leipzig is one of them. Although most of them you will find at Bayern itself.
“The new manager is one of them. The transition from Guardiola to Ancelotti has not gone as smooth as expected. The players have needed some time to get used to Ancelotti’s ideas.”
“And after having won the Bundesliga four times in a row there can be some percentage missing in your performance.”