The German Bundesliga is all set to start in the coming weekend and despite the fact that it doesna t have the same chauvinism as the Premier League, the quality of football is in no way inferior. Last season, the Bundesliga did surprise us to a certain extent as the likes of Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach had brilliant seasons to displace Schalke and Borussia Dortmund in the top four places.
In the upcoming season, expect the unexpected once again, well apart from Bayern Munich winning the title that is. Ahead of the Bundesliga Hinrunde, we jot down what the Bundesliga fans can expect.
Bayern once again favourites to win the League
Surprising? Not really. Both Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach were brilliant last season. Dieter Heckinga s side were perhaps the only side who challenged Bayern Munich for the title, but leta s be honest, everyone knew who was going to win it despite the way Heckinga s side dismantled the Bavarians in the late January.
This season, Wolfsburg have strengthened in attack after signing Max Kruse from Monchengladbach for a 12m. However, can they really compete with Bayern Munich from a financial point of view and one the pitch? The simple answer is no. Bayern Munich can afford to pay bigger wages to players thanks to the massive amount of money they generate. Bayerna s highest earning player based on a report is Mario Gotze who earns roughly A?14,666,667-a-year. When you compare that to their closest title challengers based on last season, then the reading shows a massive difference. Kevin De Bruyne is Wolfsburga s highest earner player with A?6,160,000-a-year.
Wolfsburg are a good attacking side, but when you look at their defense, it doesna t exactly ooze with quality. Bayern, on the other hand, have a well-balanced team and are massive favourites to retain the title. The club have let Bastian Sscweinsteiger go but have arguably signed a better player in Arturo Vidal. In addition, Douglas Costaa s purchase has added more bite in their attack. Wolfsburg won’t be the only challengers to Bayern of course as Borussia Dortmund have the squad to compete with the Bavarians. However, with a new manager at the helm, even Dortmund are outsiders for the title.
Last season was undoubtedly a poor for both Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. Although Dortmund somewhat resurrected their season in the Ruckrunde as they finished seventh and made the Cup final after spending their time in the relegation spot during the winter break, the whole season was still pretty much a failure. There have been quite a few changes at the club as Jurgen Klopp has left and so have a few players who failed to perform last season.
Thomas Tuchel, who is heralded as the next big manager in German football, will have the task of leading his side back into the top four at least. Gonzalo Castro has been the sidea s most expensive signing so far and the German had a good game against Chemnitzer FC.
Dortmunda s rivals Schalke too had an awful season last time despite finishing above their rivals. Roberto Di Matteo left the club in the summer and in came Andre Breitenreiter from Paderborn. The royal blues have signed some exciting players this summer including Johannes Geis from Mainz and Franco Di Santo from Werder.
So what can we expect from the two Ruhr-based sides? Well for starters, much better football at least. Both Tuchel and Breitenreiter are coaches who are attack-minded and with the backing of the fans and the new set of players, the battle for the top 4 places will be very intense. If Dortmund start well, they have the players to even push Bayern Munich as we have seen in the past.
Can Leverkusen and Monchengladbach impress again?
Both Roger Schmidt and Lucien Favre impressed last season as their counter-attacking and pressing approaches saw the sides play some attractive football. Although Leverkusen were leaky defensively, Schmidt tinkered with the formation to ensure that the side had a stunning second half of the season and finish in the top four. The return of Christoph Kramer from Monchengladbach will strengthen Leverkusen and make up for the departure of Castro.
Monchengladbach boss Lucien Favre has had a decent transfer window so far. Although the club lost Kruse and Kramer, they have gone ahead and signed two really good players in Josip Drmic and Lars Stindl.
The upcoming season will be a tricky one though, especially for Monchengladbach as they now have to turn their attention towards the Champions League as well. Having said that, they have a good squad to stay in the top four. With Schalke, Leverkusen and Dortmund to contend with, it will not be easy.
Can the Hamburg run go on?
We still dona t know how Hamburg keep doing it again and again. They were down and out last season, only to survive via a relegation playoff spot after they beat Karlsruhe on aggregate. However, can they keep taking that route to ensure the title of the only club never to have been relegated in the German league? Bruno Labbadia has his work cut out which certainly wona t get any easier after their DFB Pokal exit at the hands of fourth division side Carl Zeiss Jena.
Hamburg have made some decent signings so far to try and preserve the continuity of the ticking clock at Imtech Arena that now reads more than 52 years since the club were last relegated. With the likes of Emir Spahic, Sven Schipplock and Gotoku Sakai being some of the big-name signings, the fans will hope that their side performs well and not survive just by the skin of their teeth.
Duck season will soon be back as the second ever edition of the BunDucksliga will most likely take place in January. The notion of a Germans dona t have a sense of humoura was put to bed after the bizarre yet refreshing duck race took place in January this year. Apart from Otto the frog (of Werder), the rest of the race had 17 ducks representing 17 teams.
The hipster frog failed to win the competition, however, as Hertha Berlina s Zecke won the inaugural competition. Can Zecke defend his crown this next year? Maybe. One thing is for certain, ita s much more exciting than the Bundesliga title race!