Bundesliga 2019/20: A quick recap of the season so far
- The Bundesliga is all set to return this Saturday after a two-month hiatus.
- We take a look at how the German top-flight stands ahead of the last nine rounds of the season.
Just five days from now, the Bundesliga will be back! After almost eight weeks of absence, the German top-flight is set to return on 16th May. The Bundesliga was given the go-ahead by the German government last Friday, and we've been on our toes ever since.
The official schedule for the remaining fixtures has also been released. The teams have already started prepping for the home stretch of the campaign, with only nine games to go.
So, ahead of the much-anticipated return of the Bundesliga, we take a look at where things stand ahead of the return.
Who's leading the Bundesliga table?
Naturally, Bayern Munich. The holders are four points clear at the top, and are closing in on an eighth consecutive Meisterschale. Mind you, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows for the Bavarians.
The first half of the campaign was rather rocky. Bayern won just half of the opening 14 clashes, and their dominance appeared to dwindle. Niko Kovac was also given the axe after a shocking 5-1 collapse against Eintracht Frankfurt.
His successor Hansi Flick has successfully managed to anchor the sinking ship. Bayern are unbeaten in the last 11 games. They have won 10 of these games- an upturn in fortunes that has propelled them back to the summit of the table.
Their nearest challengers, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, dropped points in the weeks leading up to the league's suspension. Die Roten still have some daunting clashes to negotiate, but the momentum is in their favour.
Which teams are in contention for Europe?
Apart from the leaders, Dortmund and Leipzig are the other usual suspects firmly on course for Champions League spots.
However, the competition is heating up between Borussia Monchengladbach, who're currently fourth and occupy the last automatic qualifying place, and Bayer Leverkusen. Just two points separate the teams, and they are also on a collision course. The sides will face each other on 22nd May, and this game is going to be a cracker.
As for the Europa League, as many as five different teams are scrambling for just two spots. Leverkusen are currently 10 points clear at fifth, so barring a monumental collapse, they're guaranteed European football next season.
That leaves Schalke, Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Hoffenheim. These four teams are within touching distance of each other, and are vying for the last remaining spot. So, the race is only going to be more intense hereon.
Which teams might be relegated?
At the other end of the table, SC Paderborn and Werder Bremen are on the cusp of going down. Paderborn, who only secured promotion to the top-flight last summer after five years of hiatus, are rock bottom in the standings. They only have 16 points, and have chalked up only four victories all season.
On the other hand, Bremen's 39-year association with the Bundesliga seems to be finally winding down. The River Islanders are eight points off safety, with only nine more games to go.
Fortuna Dusseldorf, as things stand, are heading to the relegation play-offs.
Mainz, on the other hand, were slowly pulling themselves clear of relegation the last time we saw them in action. The 05ers are four points off the drop zone as of now, but are staring at an unforgiving home stretch of the campaign. They still have Leipzig, Dortmund, Hoffenheim, and Leverkusen to come.
Who's the top scorer?
A certain Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich hit-man currently leads the race for the Golden Boot with 25 goals. He's been in imperious right from the off, and became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in the opening 11 games of the season. He will now aim to become just the second player in history to win the Torjägerkanone for a fifth time.
However, lurking right behind him is RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, who's had a prolific campaign of his own. He has netted 21 times so far, and will be aiming to become the first German player to win the Golden Boot since Alexander Meier in 2015.
But for that to happen, he will have to start firing as soon as the league resumes. The 24-year old was running out of gas in the weeks leading up to the suspension, scoring only once in his seven games, thereby losing ground in the race.
Who has been the biggest surprise so far?
From fighting relegation last year to competing for European spots, Schalke have come a long way in David Wagner's short spell.
Promoted side Union Berlin have punched above their weight, and are teetering mid-table. Unlike the other promoted teams, Berlin aren't caught up in the relegation battle. However, Cologne's spectacular turnaround of fortunes has been the biggest surprise of the season so far.
The Billy Goats were rooted at 18th until the turn of December, with just two wins from the first 14 games. Fast forward to mid-March, and they were up to 10th in the table! A series of victories, including some big ones against Leverkusen, Frankfurt, and Schalke, have steered the side away from the drop zone. Cologne now find themselves closer to the European places instead.
Who has been the breakout star of the year so far?
However, Erling Haaland is simply the cream of the crop. He joined Die Borussen in January from RB Salzburg, and has taken no time to announce himself to the Bundesliga.
In only eight appearances before the deferral, the Norwegian prodigy incredibly struck nine times, including a wonderful hat-trick on his league debut.
He's also forging an exciting partnership with Jadon Sancho, another precocious talent up Dortmund's sleeves. As the club embarks on one final push for the title, Haaland's exploits will be pivotal to their cause.