Most fans would agree that a great football league needs some key ingredients: skilful players, excitement and drama on the pitch; and off the field, passionate supporters and owners who love and understand the game.
But these days soccer is also about big business, million-dollar deals and billionaire benefactors lining up to plow money into the game.
Those seeking a balance between these sometimes awkward bedfellows will often point to Germany and the Bundesliga. With two clubs in Saturday's Champions League final at London's Wembley Stadium, high attendances, keenly-priced season tickets, equitable club ownership and the national team on an upward trajectory, German football appears to be in rude health. But is it?
In the domestic Bundesliga, Bayern finished 25 points clear of Dortmund and 36 points ahead of fourth-placed Schalke 04. If Manchester United's path to the English Premier League title looked like a cakewalk, the German champions could have taken the entire dessert trolley along with them.
Arguably the competition is beginning to resemble anything but.
Writing in the German tabloid Bild last month, Bayern's former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn expressed fears that the domination of the Munich club and Dortmund -- Bundesliga champions in 2011 and 2012 -- is here to stay, and that the gulf at the top could widen even further in the future.
Even Dortmund's manager Jürgen Klopp has remarked that the league is in danger of becoming boring.
Arguably Dortmund were unable to mount an effective challenge this season as they saved their best performances for the Champions League.
But the brilliance of both Bayern and Dortmund in their respective semifinal wins against Real Madrid and Barcelona suggests the Bundesliga needs to be wary of an emerging duopoly.
It's not hard to see why Bayern and Dortmund have become so omnipotent both at home and abroad.
"Two great managers, two teams that almost mirror each other in the way they play, the way they attack, the way they defend without the ball," former Bayern midfielder Owen Hargreaves told CNN.
"Bayern have only conceded something like 15 goals, which is ridiculous in a full season," he added.
"At Dortmund, the average age is 23, and I think Jürgen Klopp has done such a remarkable job to take that group of players and virtually dominate some terrific European teams."
Yet among German fans there are concerns.
"Of course the current situation could become unhealthy," said Stuart Dykes, a Schalke season ticket-holder since 1988, and the supporter liaison officer project consultant at fan ownership campaigning body, Supporters Direct.
"Even Bayern, while obviously delighted to have won the title so comfortably, have talked about it not being in their interests to do it every year. Ultimately the overall product of German football would suffer."
Not content with running away with the Bundesliga this season, Bayern are already laying plans to dominate next season, notably with the appointment of former Barca coach Pep Guardiola -- who guided the Catalonia club to 14 trophies in four years -- to take over from Jupp Heynckes.
Dortmund's hopes of catching Bayern next season have been further jeopardized by the loss of playmaker Mario Gotze, who recently agreed to join the Munich club at the end of this season in a $56 million deal.
Rumors of a Bayern bid for the Bundesliga's second-highest scorer Robert Lewandowski, whose four goals against Real Madrid in the semis propelled Dortmund to Wembley, suggest a strategy centered on dismantling their only rivals' chances before next season has even begun.
The consolation for Dortmund fans is that at least the club has some money to spend to try to keep pace.
Eight years ago it was on the brink of financial ruin, missing rent payments on its stadium and facing crippling losses.
Extraordinarily, a loan from Bayern played a part in Dortmund's survival -- with $2.5 million handed over to help stave off bankruptcy.
Dortmund's path back to solvency and success has been paved by Klopp's highly astute signings, such as Poland striker Lewandowski, as well as his trust in talented graduates from the club's youth academy, like midfielder Nuri Sahin.
But it has been the club's willingness to part with its top players at the height of their value that has restored Dortmund's financial health.