The 2011-12 season was all about Borussia Dortmund as the yellow brigade won their eighth Bundesliga title, set a record for most points ever gained in one season and completed the domestic double for the first time in the clubai??i??s history. Perennial powerhouses Bayern Munich were left ruing their mistakes as they finished in second in all three competitions they took part in.

Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund

The Yellow Wall will be eagerly awaiting a repeat of this triumph

Bundesliga

Borussia MAi??nchengladbach proved to be the surprise package of the Bundesliga, while the likes of KAi??ln and Werder Bremen failed to impress. Germanyai??i??s youngsters were in full flow last season, with Marco Reus, Mario GAi??tze, Marc-AndrAi?? ter Stegen and Mats Hummels setting the league ablaze with their energy and brilliance.

With the new season right around the corner, TheHardTackle takes a look at what the Bundesliga could offer in terms of the fights for the title, European qualification and relegation, the players and coaches to watch out for and a lot more.

The Race For The Title Has Reached a Whole New Level

The recently concluded DFB-Supercup, between Bayern and Dortmund, is just a sneak peek at how competitive this season is going to be and also a warning to JA?rgen Kloppai??i??s side. Dortmund will have their work cut out in their second consecutive title defense. Bayernai??i??s Supercup victory ended a five game winless streak against Dortmund and is a sign of things to come. With Matthias Sammer having taken over as the sporting director of Bayern, they appear a revived squad and the reinforcements brought in this summer will be keen on helping the most successful German club back to the top of the ladder.

Dortmundai??i??s summer hasnai??i??t been half as lively as Bayernai??i??s, and their losses could far exceed their gains. A lot will depend on whether Marco Reus can fill in for Shinji Kagawa in that pivotal attacking midfield role. Klopp will also be hoping that injuries do not plague his side, given their comparatively weak bench. A third consecutive triumph seems somewhat unlikely right now, but after last seasonai??i??s brilliance they surely cannot be written off.

Under the very successful Huub Stevens, Schalke will be looking to get their hands on silverware once again. Theyai??i??ve had a fairly quiet transfer period, bringing in just three players. The departure of RaA?l will be a massive blow to Die Knappen, and Stevensai??i?? hardest task will be getting one of his youngsters to replace the Spanish legend. The good news for Schalke is that their new signings, Tranquillo Barnetta and Roman NeustAi??dter have a lot to offer to Stevensai??i?? side and will be very welcome additions. A huge onus will be placed on more experienced players like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Benedikt HAi??wedes and Christian Fuchs. A title triumph seems most unlikely, but they will be thereabout come the end of the season.

There will be a few dark horses in the fight for supremacy this season and the names that pop up in this category are Wolfsburg, Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen. Like Dortmund and Schalke, Leverkusen and Stuttgart have had a relatively quiet summer. Both clubs will primarily be looking to get a Champions League spot, but a good run of form and managerial stability could see them pushing for the title. On the other hand, Wolfsburg have had an explosive transfer period making seven signings, all of whom are fairly reputed players. Under the disciplinarian, Felix Magath, Wolfsburg have to be considered the real dark horses for the coming season. Beware of Die WAi??lfe!

The Battle For European Football

As mentioned earlier, Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg will surely be fighting for the last Champions League spot this season. With these three teams vying for that coveted final spot, the battle for Europa League qualification will also heat up. Joining these three teams in this potpourri of unpredictability will be Hannover, Borussia MAi??nchengladbach, Hoffenheim and Nuremberg.

Hannover have had two stable seasons under Mirko Slmoka and even managed to cope up with the pressures of both domestic and continental football. With the same challenge in front of them for another season, Slomkaai??i??s side seems to be hot favourites to grab a Europa League spot. Emanuel Pogatetzai??i??s departure from AWD-Arena will be hard to deal with, but seasoned players like Karim Haggui and Mario Eggimann will surely help Slomka in their bid for European football. A lot will also depend on their attacking trio of Jan Schlaudraff, Lars Stindl and Mohammed Abdellaoue.

Hoffenheim and Nuremberg were not too far from European football last season and will be keen to build on 2011-12. Hoffenheim were one of the most lively clubs in the transfer market and big names like Eren Derdiyok and Tim Wiese will have huge expectations on their shoulders. They arenai??i??t going to be favourites for European qualification but surely cannot be written off. Nuremberg are also in a similar position, and it could be their quieter transfer period that separates them from European football.

Gladbach will be looking to repeat their miracle from last season, but the losses of Reus, Dante and NeustAi??dter seem too much to handle. Their new signings are undoubtedly very good, but their lack of experience coupled with the pressures of European football will make things extremely hard for Lucien Favre and his boys. A repeat of last season isnai??i??t on the cards and a safe prediction of a sixth or seventh place finish seems fair.

Survival Of The Fittest – The Relegation Battle

As always the title race is accompanied by an equally entertaining battle among the lowest teams in the league to determine where they play their football a season later. In the upcoming Bundesliga season, new boys Greuther FA?rth, Fortuna DA?sseldorf and Eintracht Frankfurt will have a hard time staying up. FA?rth’s and DA?sseldorfai??i??s lack of experience in the Bundesliga could also be a factor in making their stay in the top flight a short one. The one thing that DA?sseldorf probably has over the rest is an undying sense of grit and determination. This was showcased in their relegation play-off victory over Hertha Berlin earlier this year. Frankfurt will be returning to somewhat familiar territory and with an experienced coach like Armin Veh at the helm, their survival seems a lot more likely.

Augsburg will also be sucked into this treacherous battle and the loss of last seasonai??i??s tactician, Jos Luhukay, will prove to be very hard to deal with. Another irreplaceable loss is that of Axel Bellinghausen, leaving FuggerstAi??dter in a very precarious situation. The likes of Freiburg, Mainz, Hamburger SV and Werder Bremen should manage to stay adrift of the relegation zone as long as they maintain some level of consistency. Only some major slip ups and internal disturbances could see this quartet falling into the inescapable relegation battle.

THT Predicted Table

1. Bayern Munich

2. Borussia Dortmund

3. VfL Wolfsburg

4. Schalke 04

5. VfB Stuttgart

6. Hannover 96

7. Borussia MAi??nchengladbach

8. Bayer Leverkusen

9. TSG Hoffenheim

10. FC Nuremberg

11. Hamburger SV

12. SC Freiburg

13. Eintracht Frankfurt

14. Werder Bremen

15. Mainz 05

16. Fortuna DA?sseldorf

17. FC Augsburg

18. Greuther FA?rth

Who Needs To Beware Of The Manager Eaters?

The safety of a managerial position is most unpredictable in the world of football. The Bundesliga has been no exception to this so here is a look at which managers will need to provide the goods more consistently than the others in order to hang onto their jobs.

Markus Weinzerl (Augsburg)

Weinzerl comes into this job after Augsburg went through a brilliant spell under Jos Luhukay. The 37-year-old manager will be expected to keep Augsburg afloat for another season and too much teasing with the relegation zone will not be acceptable. Also, his lack of experience will not prove to be a hindrance in sacking him if the results fail to come by. Tough times lie ahead for the former Jahn Regensburg coach.

Sascha Lewandowski and Sami HyypiAi?? (Bayer Leverkusen)

There is no doubt about the expectations surrounding this Leverkusen side. European qualification will be their primary goal and anything better is a huge bonus. The question is whether this managerial duo will stay at the club even if Neverkusen are unable to achieve a top seven finish. With a young squad at their disposal and their lack of experience in managing, it will take an unexpectedly solid season to see these two at Leverkusen for another year.

Thomas Schaaf (Werder Bremen)

Bundesliga

Werder Bremen_Thomas Schaaf

Will he finally bid farewell to Bremen?

Bundesliga

It seems almost ridiculous to believe that the ever lasting relationship between Schaaf and Bremen can come to an end. The man has been associated with the club for the last forty years and it seems impossible that this bond can be broken. But one cannot put love ahead of success in the competitive world of football and Schaaf has struggled to deliver over the last few years. Another season outside of the European spots could spell doom for Thomas Schaaf.

Frontrunners For Player Of The Year

To be able to predict which players are going to do well over the course of a season is even harder than predicting the future of teams. But here is a look at some of the players who have the ability to leave Bundesliga fans in awe.

AndrAi?? SchA?rrle

The 21-year-old Leverkusen attacker didnai??i??t have the most productive 2011-12 season and will look to start afresh this time around. Given the talent at his disposal, there is no doubt that he can set the top flight of German football on fire. Defenders better beware – this will be SchA?rrleai??i??s breakthrough season.

Franck RibAi??ry

Bundesliga

The Frenchman will return hungrier than ever

Bundesliga

Sensational last season, but finished the year trophy-less. Being a part of this new and rejuvenated Bayern side, RibAi??ry will be looking to have another cracking season and pick up some silverware this time around. Hopefully his season is free from any spat with his own teammates.

Mats Hummels

This list would be incomplete without the German center back. There is not the smallest doubt about his importance to Dortmund and if they are going to be challenging for the title, Hummels is going to be bringing his A-game. It will be interesting to see if anyone can break down this German wall.

Patrick Herrmann

Gladbach was all about Marco Reus last season, but there was a lesser known sensation in Patrick Herrmann. The 21-year-old winger will be expected to replace Reus and carry forward this young and supremely talented Gladbach side. This is his time to shine.

Who Could Be Topping The Goalscoring Charts?

Bas Dost

This will be the Dutchmanai??i??s first season in the Bundesliga, but he is far from lacking in terms of talent. The former Eredivisie top scorer will be looking to continue his brilliant form and top the charts in Germany as well. Dost will be an integral part of Magathai??i??s dangerous looking Wolfsburg side and will be looking to wreak havoc across the Bundesliga.

Mario Gomez

Second highest goalscorer last season and in the recently concluded European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, Mario Gomez will be looking to put his name right at the top this season. The frustration of finishing second and also being termed a big game flop will surely spur on the big German towards winning this title.

Vedad IbiA?eviAi??

The former Hoffenheim striker is no stranger to scoring goals and his short spell with Stuttgart last season is proof of this. 8 goals in 13 games last season, a number that IbiA?eviAi?? surely wants to improve on and cement his place in the Stuttgart side. Also, Julian Schieberai??i??s departure from the Mercedes Arena will see IbiA?eviAi?? as a far more central figure, thus giving him more playing time.

THT Predicted Team Of The Year

Manager of the year – Felix Magath (Wolfsburg)

***

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8 Responses to “Bundesliga 2012-13 : Season Preview And Predictions – Bayern Munich Or Borussia Dortmund?”

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  1. iankip58 says:

    You got the table prediction all wrong Bayern,schalke, bvb, Stuttgart,bmg…..and I’ll put more faith in tuchels Mainze. I also won’t be too optimistic about magaths wolfs. Player of the year REUS REUS REUS!!!!!!

  2. Wendrich says:

    I would put werder higher. They had a great transfer window but lost some key players. Still, they are
    now younger and hungrier. Plus they have performed great in preseason.

  3. Vishal T says:

    Hi, as a regular Bundesliga follower and avid watcher and analyzer myself, I predict for current season.

    1)Bayern Munich, 2) Borussia Dortmund, 3) Schalke, 4) Bremen, 5) Gladbach, 6) Stuttgart, 7)Hoffenheim, 8) HSV, 9) Leverkusen, 10) Hannover.

    • Igor says:

      I Agree with Vishal. His prediction is much more realistic than the one from Aditya Balarman. I am not a fan of Bremen but wouldn’t underestimate their potential this season.

      • Aditya Balaram says:

        I fail to see why you think Bremen will do well. They have lost five key players (Pizarro, Rosenberg, Naldo, Marin and Wiese) and their only commendable new signing is only Gebre Selassie. Lukimya might not be a bad option, but replacing Naldo will be a mammoth task. Petersen and de Bruyne are unproven, while Elia is going to be difficult to handle. He’s already had problems with Schaaf.

        Also, Schaaf’s unwillingness to shift away from the diamond could cost him. Their reasonably well touted youngsters (Affolter, Fullkrug and Trybull) weren’t most impressive last season and have a long way to go. Fighting for Europe (leave alone fourth place) is what seems most unrealisitic!

        And if it’s the LIGA total! Cup that has made you’ll jump to this conclusion, your prediction is far from justified.

        • Igor says:

          I would say Pizarro is the only key player bremen lost. It is not a Huge loss because of his age. Bremen has allways been selling great players and they allways will. Wiese will be replaced by melitz who is a good young keeper. Rosenborg only scored a few goals last season and was never a key player. Naldo hasn’t really played in the past 2 seasons due to injuries. Selling him to Wolfsburg for 4.5m was a good transfer for Bremen. Players like Junuzovic, Hunt, Ekici, Elia, and De Bruyne are as good as good as Marko Marin. Marko never really made it into the National team because of his performance at Bremen. I believe Bremen did a great job in the last few month putting a young team together with a lot of talents like Arnautovic, Selasie, Sokratis, Junuzovic, Hunt, Ekici, De Bruyne, Peterson and Elia. Untill the end of the transfer period a good experienced striker will come as well and maybe a defender too.
          Schaff is a great coach, do not forget that Bremen has been a regular club in the Champions league untill two years ago.
          Your prediction seems to be based on the performance of the last season.
          What makes you believe that HAMBURG, FRANKFURT, FREIBURG, HOFENHEIM, NUEREMBERG AND HANOVER will end above BREMEN.

          • Julian says:

            Wiese and Marin are fairly key not to mention Borowski? Spot on about Bremen in my opinion. Why are people so negative about Leverkusen – new vision under Hyppia will see them push for 3rd wth the likes of Kiebling, L.Bender, Rolfes and Schurrle and have signed some good young players. Dortmund will have Gotze back from injury and will continue to improve so deserve to be favorouties as they have a superior defence to Bayern. Schalke will finish about the same.

  4. Igor says:

    1. Bayern 2. Wolfsburg 3. BVB 4. Bremen 5.Schalke 6. Gladbach 7.Hofenheim