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Whatever the destination of the title this season – and yes, it’s probably still heading south – let’s hope that the campaign is peacefully observed, without dimming the spirit that makes the Bundesliga experience such an enjoyable one.
Sometimes, in recent years, it has felt as though those predicting genuine competition for German football’s dominant club at the beginning of a Bundesliga season are clutching at straws.
Another season begins tonight, two weeks after a man in a bow tie and a panama hat made his way across Spain and two days after Piqué admitted: “In the nine years that I have been here, it is the first time that I feel inferior to Madrid.”
There had been no real legal grounds to refuse the cheque in Madrid, but the league president Tebas talked about financial fair play and said he could not accept money that had come from he-didn’t-know-where. Besides, this Spanish patriot, viscerally opposed to Catalan independence and, he admits, a Madrid fan had vowed to fight Barcelona’s corner on their behalf, an unlikely temporary hero for the Catalan club.