Straight away, we kick off with a preview of the Bundesliga, the home of the reigning European Champions.
After a heartbreaking 2012/13 season, Bayern Munich wrestled the league title from Dortmund in grand style breaking almost all records in Germany’s top division.
This preview will discuss the title challengers, European place (UCL/EL) challengers and the relegation dog fight.
Title challengers/Possible winner
First off, the title-winner will most definitely be Bayern Munich. The triple winner will be too strong for the rest of the league. They should win around 95% of their matches and then it comes down to the two ties they play with Borussia Dortmund.
Even if Dortmund would come out on top due to their counter-attacking style which caused Guardiola’s system trouble in the past, the champions are still adjusting to Pep Guardiola’s short passing approach but I feel they will gel as the season goes on.
Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara’s arrival to an already packed midfield will give the former Barcelona coach a variety of option.
Dortmund lost Götze and have adequately replaced him with Armenian goal scoring midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined the Yellow and Black army from Saint Etienne and should ease the goal scoring burden on Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who may be moving to the Allianz Arena next summer. Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan’s availability in the middle will be crucial for Dortmund.
I still think Dortmund will lose more points than Bayern against the rest of the league.
European place contenders
Bayern and Dortmund will share the top two spots. Schalke 04 and Leverkusen do have the best chances to finish 3rd and 4th and to qualify again for Champions league football, which will help in attracting better players and more revenue from the UEFA’s big pot.
Schalke did hold on to top starlet Julian Draxler but same cannot be said of Bayer 04, who lost Andre Schurrle to Europa League winners – Chelsea. Stefan Kießling should guarantee goals at Bayer Arena.
To predict who will get the other Europa League starters is a tough one. Normally I see Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Gladbach competing for those. The middle of the pack is quite unpredictable. There are one or two teams which you wouldn’t think can challenge the established sides however, like last season, they might surprise you.
With European distraction this season, last season’s achievement may be a tall order for Freiburg. Same goes for Mainz, who lost good players in the form of Adam Szalai and Jan Kirchhoff.
Expectedly, Werder Bremen and HSV Hamburg would challenge the European spots but last season and probably this season, they will struggle a bit. Hamburg does have financial problems (and a bad coach) and for Bremen, it doesn’t look much better. I don’t expect much from both of them.
This group will probably provide us with the most interesting scenes this term. I expect Braunschweig and Hertha to struggle but as with the norm lately, promoted teams tend to have some extra motivational bonus and survive the first year.
Augsburg were almost relegated last season and I think they will battle to avoid relegation from early on. Then there will be the likes of Nürnberg, Mainz and maybe Freiburg, who could all end up in the relegation battle.
The interesting thing from the past season was that always, one or two quite established clubs were brought into the relegation fight. Last season’s candidates were Hoffenheim and Bremen, the season before, it was Hamburg and the year before, it was Stuttgart and Schalke.
I do not expect Hoffenheim and Hannover to get involved into relegation worries as well as to fight for Europa League. A mediocre season for both.