Football fans and bettors around the world rejoice! The Bundesliga is set to re-boot this coming weekend.
The German league’s governing body confirmed the news last week and we will finally be treated to some high-quality games from one of the most entertaining domestic competitions on the continent.
Things were getting very tense both at the top and the bottom of the table when the coronavirus pandemic hit and shut everything down. So, now is the perfect time to revisit what has happened so far and analyze what the future may hold for the 18 Bundesliga teams.
I will examine the key battles which will be settled during the remainder of the 2019/20 and share my thoughts on how they may pan out.
Which Teams Can Win the Title?
Everyone who has followed the Bundesliga closely knows full well that Bayern Munich has established an absolute hegemony on the domestic football scene in Germany.
The Bavarian machine has won seven consecutive titles and last failed to clinch it during the 2012/2013 when Jurgen Klopp led his Borussia Dortmund players to the gold medals for the second time in a row.
Since Klopp joined English side Liverpool, no team has been able to effectively challenge the Munich club in the league.
Despite that, this season may be a lot different not only because it was shut during the pandemic but because Bayern is not in the position they are used to being after 25 games.
The team is indeed occupying the top spot again but teams like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are right on their heels after the Bavarians’ poor start to the season.
The early drop in form prompted the club’s board members to sack manager Niko Kovac and install Hansi Flick as a temporary option in an attempt to stabilize the atmosphere in the dressing room and get back to winning ways.
Flick was successful in doing so and this won him a permanent deal with the Munich side which pretty much guarantees that he will be the one to finish the season as head coach if nothing too extraordinary happens down the line.
Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig will be the main threat as they are 4 and 5 points off from the leaders respectively.
The Dortmund outfit will be itching to unleash its attacking duo of Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland once again but have had a lot of problems in defense that manager Lucien Favre should look to eliminate early if they want to stand a chance.
On the flip side, RB Leipzig’s main strength has been their defensive solidity and they are currently at the top of this chart alongside Bayern Much with only 26 goals conceded so far.
Their chemistry and tactical awareness make them a big candidate to upset the odds and you’re always in with a chance when you have a great all-around striker like Timo Werner as your attacking focal point.
Although the race is far from over, history suggests that the Bavarians should be viewed as a heavy favorite to repeat the feat once again, and if you look at any odds for the Bundesliga outright winner market, you’ll see that every football bookmaker seems to agree with that.
Which Teams Will Be Competing for a Place in the European Tournaments?
Naturally, these three teams will be going for the title so missing out on a Champions League spot will be viewed as a huge failure. It is highly unlikely that this will happen to any of them but we also have to acknowledge how good teams like Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Leverkusen have been.
They have displayed quality and determination in both defense and attack and currently sit two points apart in 4th and 5th place.
I believe we are yet to see the full potential of their young and vibrant teams and if they can get off to a good start, I expect they will be able to put some pressure on Dortmund and Leipzig at some point.
Schalke 04 looks like another likely candidate for automatic qualification to the European tournaments but will have to improve on their performances if they are to stay in the race for the CL spots. Most likely, the team will nail a spot in the Europa League but might need to add a bit of quality to the squad if they are to get to the level of the current leaders.
It gets very bloody looking down the standings as all Wolfsburg, Freiburg, and Hoffenheim are all within touching distance of Shalke and given their offense is on a similar level to the Gelsenkirchen’s team, they will be pumped up to continue their ascent.
Watch out for Freiburg as they can be this season’s big surprise package and will certainly command very high odds for a Top-5 finish.
Who Is Most Threatened by Relegation?
Without a doubt, Paderborn has been the worst team in the Bundesliga this season and their tally of 16 points after 25 games doesn’t look too good.
Werder Bremen, once a formidable force in the league, is also in big trouble after accumulating just 18 points so far. Their attempt to beat the drop will be the most interesting thing to watch at this end of the table for sure.
The relegation zone is also occupied by Fortuna Dusseldorf who has scored the least amount of goals so far but their better defense has ensured that they are just 4 points away from 15th-placed Mainz 05.
Jurgen Klopp’s former side does have a bit of a cushion but the players will need to be on their toes for the remainder of the campaign as they can easily slide into the bottom spots with a bad run.
Augsburg is also threatened but the inspired form of striker Florian Niederlechner has ensured that the team has the best offensive stats from all the bottom-dwellers and they should be fine if their number 9 continues to terrorize defenses with his physical presence and clinical finishing.
Which Player Will Snatch the Golden Boot?
The top scorer chart sees Robert Lewandowski at the top once again. His club has scored 73 goals, 25 of which have been the Pole’s doing.
He is undoubtedly one of the best center-forwards on the European scene right now and it’s no surprise that he is the betting sites’ heavy favorite to come away with the prize once again.
He has won it six times since joining Borussia Dortmund in 2010 and the last man to outpace him was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who now plies his trade in the English Premier League with Arsenal.
Timo Werner of RB Leipzig is a close second right now but he is still 4 goals behind. The German has every chance of continuing his good scoring form but we must also acknowledge the fact that Lewandowski has superior quality surrounding him and Werner does have a more combinative style in front of goal. As his 7 assists so far will attest to.
English sensation Jadon Sancho occupies the third spot with 14 goals and despite being Dortmund’s most deadly weapon upfront, I fail to see how he will get to Lewandowski’s numbers.
I feel that his teammate Erling Haaland might have an off chance here. The Norwegian goal machine raised eyebrows with his impressive start to life in the Bundesliga as he racked up 9 goals in just 8 games since arriving on the scene in January.
I’m certain he will be one of the first names on this chart next year but it might be a bit late for him to catch Lewandowski this season.
However, if you’re shopping around for high odds, I guess backing Haaland to continue with this tempo is not the worst thing you can do. With Lewa’s dominance, you are bound to get a great price for the Norwegian to take the golden boot award.