Bayern's bid for 10 aided by rivals' woes

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Bayern Munich's record 10th Bundesliga title in a row may prove to be the easiest of the lot.

The world champs are cruising unbeaten at the top of the table under new coach Julian Nagelsmann and their challengers from last season are in disarray.

Sure, it's very early - just six games from 34 played - but other Bundesliga teams have long relied on Bayern making mistakes, and there's no sign of those.

Never mind the opposition - that could be a problem for the Bundesliga.

Bayern have won their last nine matches under Nagelsmann in all competitions and scored at least three in each game, including a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup and a 4-1 dismissal of Leipzig in the league.

Robert Lewandowski already has 13 goals from nine games and is on track to match his record 41 in the Bundesliga last season.

The Champions League group stage won't be a distraction for much longer after Bayern started by beating Barcelona 3-0 and followed up on Wednesday with a 5-0 hammering of Dynamo Kyiv despite rarely playing even close to full intensity.

Ominously, Nagelsmann said Bayern were still far from their best. "We can get better and we want to," he told broadcaster DAZN after the Dynamo game. Bayern's next opponents are Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

All is not well at Germany's other big clubs.

Dortmund look like two completely different teams depending on whether star striker Erling Haaland is on the field.

They rely on his sheer energy to overwhelm opposition and cover for the team's frail defence.

That approach won successive Bundesliga home games 5-2, 3-2, and 4-2 but sometimes the attacking firepower isn't enough, as seen last month in an expected defeat to Bayern and an unexpected loss at Freiburg.

When Haaland is out, everything falls apart. The Norwegian missed Dortmund's last two games with a muscle problem, a 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach and a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Leipzig haven't recovered from losing coach Nagelsmann to Bayern and transfers of key players. Time is ticking on coach Jesse Marsch to turn things around as they are already nine points off Bayern in the league.

The teams pushing Bayern hardest are Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg.

They're both three points off the lead but have comparatively thin squads. Wolfsburg were early leaders but that form is already trailing off with no wins in their last four domestic and European games.

Another year of Bayern dominance - especially if the points race isn't close - could be a long-term problem for the league, especially as their bid for 10 in a row comes at a time when other big European leagues have seen their biggest teams' longstanding dominance crumble and title races become more competitive.

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