remier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the big one, the European Cup – twice over – with clubs from two different countries.
Carlo Ancelotti has as close to a full flush of the major club prizes as is possible.
The new Bayern Munich manager will probably now add the Bundesliga title to the trophies he has collected at AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, just to remind that not all the most coveted European managers have made their way to the English Premier League this summer.
“Probably” may be too soft a word for the expectation around Bayern. The Bundesliga shield has been housed in the club’s headquarters at Sabenerstrasse the past four years – a sequence uninterrupted by the previous change in manager.
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For most of the other 17 clubs in the top flight of German football, it is almost a presumption that Bayern will again win the league.
Ancelotti hears that and acknowledges: “We have a very, very strong squad.” Bayern’s 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Super Cup, curtain-raiser to a season that begins with the champions against Werder Bremen tomorrow, assured him of that.
It is a squad directly strengthened, for a third summer in four, at Dortmund’s expense.
The summer ritual that sees a leading player from Bayern’s most persistent domestic rivals travel south to Bavaria has been repeated: Mats Hummels, the centre-half, is a stellar addition to Ancelotti’s cadre and a void that Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel must fill.
The outgoing Bayern manager, Pep Guardiola, has also done his former employers a favour by luring midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Dortmund to Manchester City, Guardiola’s new club.
Tuchel has also waved goodbye to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, excellent in yellow and black through 2015/16, who has headed to Manchester United.
The twist this summer is that the first of the Dortmund-to-Munich absconders, Mario Gotze, has bought a return ticket. Three years after he quit Borussia for Bayern, he is back to join what Tuchel hopes will be an attack that buzzes with guile and speed.
Fitness permitting, Gotze should get more starting minutes than he was able to at Bayern, and he has the opportunity to synchronise his passing excellence to the runs of Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle – signed from Wolfsburg – and the still speedier Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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Dortmund ought to be compelling to watch. Likewise the progress of talented younger players in Tuchel’s arsenal such as Ousmane Dembele, signed from Rennes, and Christian Pulisic.
Watching Ancelotti’s Bayern will be intriguing, too, in the degree to which they develop – or divert from – the style of Guardiola’s team.
Improvement is expected In one area. Bayern, Uefa Champions League winners in the May before Guardiola took over, did not reach a European final under him in three seasons. Ancelotti has pedigree in that.
Meanwhile, 2015 runners-up Wolfsburg seek substantial uplift on their eighth place last season and have hired Mario Gomez, 31, and back in possession of the centre-forward’s jersey for the German national team, to spearhead them.
Bayer Leverkusen, third last term, look forward to more hot scoring streaks from Javier Hernandez, while Schalke’s search for greater potency has led them to spend a record fee on recruiting the young, relatively untested Breel Embolo, a 19-year-old Swiss international and a €27 million (Dh112m) outlay.
Across Germany, investment in teenagers has been high: Renato Sanches, 19, joined Bayern for €35m. Dembele’s fee could rise well above €25m with add-ons.
Overall spending in pre-season has reached a landmark high and could even go to €500m by the close of the transfer window next week.
Dortmund, recipients of some big fees for key men, have used their income to commit more than €100m on new faces.
Whether that means they can significantly close a yawning gap at the summit remains to be seen.
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