german title race

Beckenbauer: Bayern are no longer favourites

February 16, 2009

Franz Beckenbauer believes Bayern Munich are no longer favourites to win the Bundesliga title.

Jurgen Klinsmann's side missed the chance to go top of the table as they went down 2-1 at Hertha Berlin on Saturday, the capital club climbing to the summit instead.

Four points now separate the top five and Bayern president Beckenbauer is not too confident his club will come out on top.

"Who will be the champions? I am sorry, I don't have an answer to this question," he wrote in his column in the Bild newspaper. "I have lost any feeling for this title race.

"I reckoned that, starting back after the winter break, Bayern would finally march on to the title. Instead, having lost two games (1-0 in Hamburg and 2-1 in Berlin) I have to say: Bayern are no longer title favourites. All five or six leading teams can do it.

"Bayern? A week ago against (Borussia) Dortmund we missed to many chances, but still won in the end. In Berlin what the team offered as a whole was too little. Ze Roberto and Franck Ribery had a black day on the left side, and our right wing was limp anyway. That is not sufficient in either the Bundesliga or the Champions League against Sporting Lisbon."

Winger Ribery, who won a league and cup double in his first season at Bayern last year, admits he did not think defending the title would be so hard.

"Six, seven teams can be champions. I didn't think that it would be so difficult to win the title," he said.