The 2018/19 Bundesliga title race is going down to the wire. Bayern Munich lead Borussia Dortmund by just two points with one game to play, and remarkably the record champions are on the verge of a historic first at their Allianz Arena.
Should Bayern claim their 29th German championship – their 28th in the Bundesliga era – on Matchday 34 against Eintracht Frankfurt, it will be their 10th since moving into their state-of-the-art stadium in 2005.
How many of those titles would you imagine were secured by Bayern winning in front of 75,000 of their fans? The answer is in fact none. The Munich club have never been confirmed German champions while playing a match at the Allianz Arena.
Watch: A look around the Allianz Arena
Eight of those previous nine titles were secured thanks to Bayern winning or drawing away from home, while their 2014/15 honour became known as the ‘sofa title’ because it was confirmed with FCB not even in action after Wolfsburg lost to Borussia Mönchengladbach the Sunday of Matchday 30.
It would naturally be a first for all of this current crop of Bayern players to win the title at home. It would perhaps therefore be a fitting farewell to club legend Franck Ribery should he win his ninth Bundesliga title and become the league’s most successful player ever outright, moving one clear of Oliver Kahn, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mehmet Scholl.
The 2018/19 Bundesliga title would also be just the second time in the stadium’s history that Bayern have been able to celebrate a major trophy with their fans straight after winning it. In 2012 they beat Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena to win the Supercup. The triumph of course came just months after one of the darkest moments at their new home when Bayern lost the UEFA Champions League final – the infamous ‘finale dahoam’ – on penalties to Chelsea.
However, this strange run began long before Ribery moved to Munich or the Allianz Arena ever existed. You have to go all the way back to the 1999/2000 season – 19 years and 13 titles ago – for the last time Bayern were playing at home and wrapped up the title.
Back then the race also went down to the final Matchday with Bayern at home and their rivals – Bayer Leverkusen that year – away from home. That is where the similarities end though as FCB were the team coming from behind that season.
They beat Werder Bremen 3-1 at Munich’s Olympiastadion while Leverkusen lost 2-0 across the city at Unterhaching to see Bayern pip them to the title on goal difference.
Prior to this run of 12 titles being confirmed away from home, 12 of the record champions’ first 15 Bundesliga championships were in fact secured while playing in front of their own fans. Only two of those (in 1980/81 and 1984/85) came on the road, while 1988/89 was confirmed with Cologne’s 0-0 draw at Stuttgarter Kickers.
Interestingly, Werder and Nuremberg are the only Bundesliga champions to never have their status as winners confirmed while playing at home. Bremen have experienced the fate three times.