Borussia Dortmund players Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji have been fined undisclosed sums for violating the Bundesliga hygiene rules, with England winger England winger Sancho branding the decision an “absolute joke”.
The German Bundesliga is currently 26 weeks old with powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund equal top of the table, boasting 60 points each, while RB Leipzig sit third on 49.
It’s been a tense season amongst the top tier, with Dortmund nearly ten points clear during the height of the German winter.
However, the gap was closed by Munich, arguably one of the best clubs in the world, having leapfrogged their bitter rivals into first place on goal difference at the pointy end of the competition.
However, in the Champions League, both failed to make it past the round of 16.
Bayern Munich lost 3-1 to English Premier League frontrunners Liverpool FC, while Dortmund endured a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Meanwhile, the national team’s World Cup campaign last year was a 2014 hangover, the reigning champs failing to get out of the group stage.
Joachim Low’s side registered just one win – against Sweden, thanks to a Toni Kroos stoppage-time free kick – but were defeated by South Korea and Mexico to finish last in group F.
Between the failure of Germany’s biggest clubs in the Champions League and the national team’s disastrous World Cup, are we seeing the end of a dominant era?
Perhaps some senior players need to make way for youth, with the likes of 23-year-old superstar Leroy Sane scoring 15 goals accompanied by 13 goal assists across all competitions for Manchester City.
Or perhaps other nations and leagues are improving across the globe? Perhaps Germany has taken a step back, while the rest of Europe has taken a step forward?