Jerome Boateng has warned anyone ready to write off Bayern Munich's Bundesliga title defence to think twice, insisting "there’s no changing of the guard in Germany".
After finishing 21 points clear of the field to pick up a sixth successive Bundesliga crown last season, Bayern started the 2018/19 campaign as hot favourites to maintain their stranglehold on the German top flight.
The opening to new coach Niko Kovac's reign has not been as smooth as hoped, however, and the reigning champions find themselves in fifth place, seven points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund 11 matches into the season.
Watch: Bayern Munich feel Der Klassiker pain in Dortmund
'No changing of guard'
That advantage was reinforced by Dortmund's recent 3-2 victory in Der Klassiker, but Boateng rubbished talk of a new era being ushered in and insists no-one should be foolish enough to expect Bayern to play only a bit-part role in the title race this season.
“For a changing of the guard, BVB first has to win the championship by a wide margin for six or seven years consecutively. Or win games against us with scores of 4-1 or 5-1. They haven’t done that," said the Germany international centre-back.
“That’s why there’s no changing of the guard in Germany. It’s a phase in which Dortmund is deservedly out in front."
'Tide can turn'
Those unexpected slips have allowed Dortmund to ease clear, but after falling five points behind BVB last season after just seven games and eventually overhauling the Ruhr Valley giants to finish 29 points ahead of them come full-time on Matchday 34, Boateng knows fortune can be fickle.
“We brought this down on ourselves because we didn’t win our home games, among other things," said the 30-year-old former Hamburg and Manchester City centre-back. "But the tide can quickly turn, too."