The 2024 Royal Rumble is fast approaching which signals the start of the road to WrestleMania, but it appears we were already thrown onto that road by Bayern Munich and Union Berlin.
It’s been a bumpy road for Bayern so far this season who, not for the first time, are dealing with a pesky and exciting side trying to dethrone them and bring an end to their unshaken domestic dominance.
Bayer Leverkusen are flying high atop of the Bundesliga and fans across Europe are literally foaming at the mouth to see Xabi Alonso’s side finally defeat the side who are slyly football’s biggest villains, giving them a much-needed comeuppance.
They’ve heard it all before, though, have Bayern. Last season, they had to wait until the dying embers of the last game of the season to get their hands on the title with Borussia Dortmund folding like a deck of cards at the very final hurdle, and they’ve waived off challenges from competitors in the years before that.
This feels different, though. There’s a Cody Rhodes-esque, finish-the-story feeling in the air regarding Alonso and Leverkusen.
It’s fitting, then, that tensions boiled over on the week when the WWE will officially embark on the road to WrestleMania with the Royal Rumble.
With Thomas Tuchel’s side 1-0 up but feeling the pressure and doing what they could to extend their lead and see out the game, Sane went over to grab a dead ball and resume play swiftly.
Union Berlin manager Nenad Bjelica – whose side were trailing – seemingly took offence to Sane wanting the ball quickly, hid it away from him and delivered a clubbing blow that would be enough to start a six-month blood feud in the world of professional wrestling.
Red card for the Union Berlin coach after hitting Leroy Sané in the face!
— Bayern & Football (@MunichFanpage) January 24, 2024
Heel turn of the century. What a wind-up merchant.
Forget the result – Bjelica is so committed to the bit that he’s sacrificed that in order to make Sane look silly with the throw and then the cheap shot. Put Limp Bizkit’s ‘My Way’ over the clip and you’ve got the start of a box office rivalry that would blow The Rock vs Stone Cold out of the water.
The heel turn continued after the game for the Union boss, who watched his side lose 1-0 as Bayern reduced the gap to Leverkusen to just four points, when he came out fighting in his post-match interview (not literally this time, thankfully).
“I tried to give him the ball and he pushed me,” He claimed after the game, before conceding that he reacted in a way which may have been a ‘mistake’.
Exceptional work. The beautiful game might just have birthed a new pantomime villain and Sane is merely his first victim.
Between the exquisite football on show from Leverkusen, the title race boiling over and now Union Berlin’s manager picking fights with players on the touchline, it might finally be time to admit that the Bundesliga is the best division in world football this season.
If not from a consistent quality or competitiveness standpoint, then most certainly on entertainment value. Box office.
By Mitch Wilks