Rothesay Saint wrote:I don't think you can entirely blame the Champions league, you get spells like that in football.
Getting to the playoff round before the group stage nets you at least 3 million euros in UEFA prize money alone. That is serious money, even in expensive countries like Denmark. You have to go back 10 years in Denmark to find a season where FCK weren't either first or second. There has never been a period of domination like that in the history of Danish football. In places like Bulgaria or Belarus that UCL money goes a very long way if it stays in the club. BATE and Ludogorets only need to win two ties to get that far. If they manage to get to the group stage the guaranteed income is five times that. Other teams in their domestic leagues have literally no chance to compete with this unless some crazy sugar daddy showers them with money.
I haven't run the hard numbers, but I bet the number of teams doing the double is going up right across Europe and the number of teams winning four of five titles in a row is going up too. For example, since the Bundesliga started in 1953, there have been 14 doubles in Germany. Only three of those were before 2000 and it's happened four times in the last five years. The longest period of league domination by one team is the one we are in right now. Teams have won three in a row in the past, but never four and now we are on five with basically no one predicting a change this year. The Bundesliga is such a foregone conclusion these days that Bayern's competitive season is practically only four or five matches long, around the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League.
The trophies are getting focussed into ever fewer hands. Back in the 1970's and 1980's you had teams from Greece, Sweden, Belgium, Romania getting to the European Cup final. You had well-behaved teams like Nottingham Forest, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Saint Etienne, Aston Villa and Hamburg having their fun in the final and then disappearing again into relative obscurity. Today they still might get home crowds of 30 or 40,000 and dominate their local media, but one or two good seasons in the European Cup did not propel them to dominate a generation like it would today.