Friday 23 March 2018 / 11:58 PM

Creme de la Creme?

It has been a case of total domination in Europe’s four main domestic leagues this season, with Bayern Munich having already romped their way to the Bundesliga title and Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United well on their way towards securing wide margin successes in La Liga, Serie A and the EPL respectively.


But which team out of the quartet has impressed most in dispatching of their rivals so readily over the course of the campaign and who has indeed had the hardest task?


The EPL is now firmly established to many as the most prestigious league in world football following a wealth of multi-million pound takeovers, increased TV and media exposure and a constant influx of the best foreign stars since the mid nineties.


But in terms of strength in depth and competitiveness between all teams, the jury is still out as to whether the EPL is at the fore of the modern game.


Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are just a trio of EPL clubs with weighty continental reputations and year upon year they begin the season with high hopes of domestic triumph.


How quickly however have such teams been succeeded by Manchester City who are now arguably the primary threat to Manchester United on the field after decades of rivalry where they were merely in the Red Devils’ shadow in terms of ability.


United are 13 points clear of City with six EPL matches remaining and will sew the title up within a matter of days barring a major surprise.


More tellingly however, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are 20+ points in front of the rest of the league and the likes of the three clubs mentioned above who used to be perennial challengers.


United’s performance in 2012-13 evidently warrants a lot of respect – nevertheless, it could be said that the league has lost some of its overall quality and that the majority of their rivals are closer to the ordinary considering the lack of joy experienced by English clubs in Europe this season.


Juventus seemingly fall into the same category as Manchester United on that score having beaten off sides such as Milan, Napoli and Inter who have also flopped badly on the continent this year.


The Bianconeri appear to be home and hosed in Serie A but their competition has been far from strong – a reflection perhaps of UEFA’s decision to declassify the division based on coefficient rankings at the start of the season.


Moreover, like United, Juventus were themselves ousted from Europe and it was at the hands of Bundesliga kings Bayern who were consummate throughout their smooth 4-0 aggregate victory.


Munich’s domestic achievements in Germany are undoubtedly franked by Borussia Dortmund who they beat out of sight with eight games to go after accumulating a whopping 25 point cushion.


It speaks volumes that a team trounced that far out have themselves managed to reach the last four of the Champions League and this certainly enhances the worth of Bayern’s exploits.


The Bavarians are a team to be feared on all levels and their domestic success this season can only be matched by their forthcoming Champions League semi-final opponents Barcelona who have surged clear of the Primera Liga and runners-up Real Madrid who also hold a final four berth in that tournament.


That clash looks set to be one to savour and it may well be the only way to truly decide who has pulled off the most impressive domestic title win.


Barca have long been regarded as the best team in world football and they have clearly retained a lot of the magic which was always evident under star boss Pep Guardiola.


On the whole, however, they have not been quite as devastating despite easing clear of the La Liga field and Bayern’s method of triumph rates more emphatic after recording a number of high scoring results – epitomised by their belting of Hamburg in March.


Many will feel that Bayern are the team equipped to sink Barcelona this season and few would back against them rolling over the Bundesliga opposition with minimal fuss again in 2013-14.

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Chris Kisby

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