Today we look at the German Bundesliga. Bayern Munich look set to repeat as champions, but they suffered a bit of a setback. In the preseason DFL-Supercup, Bayern Munich squared off with VFL Wolfsburg, who won the 2014-15 DFB Pokal. Arjen Robben put Bayern Munich ahead early on in the second half, but then a Kevin De Bruyne cross was finished off by Nicklas Bendtner in the 89th minute. The game would go on to penalties and the only player to miss his was Alonso, giving Wolfsburg the trophy. Could this be a sign of change in the Bundesliga?
Bayern Munich are set to win their fourth straight title as the 2015-16 season is about to get underway. They have been one of the most dominate teams in the league for the last three years. They have won the league with about a month to spare the last couple years. They will be clear favorites to win again as they have strengthened their squad with the arrivals of Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal. They should be a tough team to beat with many different options as Robben and Ribery are both fit again. Many believe that this season could be tougher for Bayern as their rivals become stronger and stronger. One team that is tipped to push them this season is Wolfsburg. They finished second last season and have looked to strengthen their team in the off season. Max Kruse was their big addition as the forward hopes to continue his great scoring record from last season. They also have held on so far to Kevin De Bruyne. If he stays then they can make a serious run at the title. Bas Dost and Andre Schurrle will attempt to add goals as well. Borussia Dortmund are hoping to have a better season this year and have a very talented team, but also have a new coach in Thomas Tuchel. It will be an interesting new season for them.
FC Ingolstadt – Ingolstadt won the league last season to earn automatic promotion to the Bundesliga. This Bavarian team was founded in 2004 when two teams merged into one. This will be their first ever season in the top league. They were the top scoring team in their league last season, winning by 5 points. Lukas Hinterseer and Stefan Lex were the leading scorers. They may find it difficult, but they should be a great watch and tough opposition.
SV Darnstadt 98 – This team has been on a stunning run over the last three years. In 2013, they barely survived relegation to the fourth division. Now they are in the top flight of German football and their fans must love every moment of this season. However, their coach claimed that they don’t belong in the league. They should be a great watch this season as they have nothing to lose this season and will have a ton of support at home.
Hamburger SV defeated Karlsruher SC so they remain in the top flight of the German Bundesliga.
5 Major Storylines to Watch this Season
- Can Bayern win the title with a month to go again? – Bayern is the strongest team in the league and will try to add a fourth title. Pep Guardiola will look to make it three in three years as manager of Bayern Munich. However, the club will aim to add some European success this season as well. Will the European challenge open the door to other teams in the league or can they win both of them?
- Can Wolfsburg hold on to Kevin De Bruyne? – This will be a huge part to their season and could be the difference between them challenging for the title or not. They will also have the added matches from Champions League as a challenge. Look for Wolfsburg to push Munich but fall just short of the title and make it out of the group stage.
- Will any of the promoted sides stay for more than 1 season? – I think the answer to this question will be a no, but you never really know. Last year, Dortmund was in a relegation fight so you never know what teams can slip into danger. Paderborn went up and then back down last year but Koln was able to survive. Look for one of the two to make a serious run at staying up.
- Can Hamburger avoid the relegation playoff this season? – After a seventh place finish two years ago, Hamburger have finished 16th the last two years. This means they have had to play in the play-off match against the third place team from the second tier. They will look to push on this season and climb up the table. Unfortunately for them, hey do start their season against Bayern Munich and they are already out of the DFB Cup this season. Here is to hoping for a successful season.
- Can Borussia Dortmund rebound and return to the Champions League? – After what was a terrible season for the black and yellows, they are entering a new era post Jurgen Klopp. Thomas Tuchel is the new manager for the team and he will look to reshape the team. He is going to try to make them less one-dimensional and focus on how to best use his very deep and strong squad. Marco Reus is going to stay for at least one more season. Dortmund should be a good watch this season and will look to make a deep run in the Europa League.
5 Key Additions
- Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich) – This dynamic midfielder should provide Munich with a new option and some grit when needed.
- Max Kruse (Wolfsburg) — He will add a new dimension to Wolfsburg and some much needed depth.
- Christoph Kramer (Bayer Leverkusen) – He could be a huge part of the new look Leverkusen as they look to replace their midfield.
- Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich) – He is a fascinating player. He will give them another attacking option when Robben or Ribery get injured or need a rest.
- Gonzalo Castro (Borussia Dortmund) – Very experienced midfielder who will provide Dortmund with the experience and a cool head to help them get back to Champions League
While there is still a ways to go in the transfer market, here are five players to watch who could be on the move and really make an impact either leaving or coming to a top team.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg to Manchester City) – This could be a huge move in the world of football. After not having a great time at Chelsea the last time he was in England, De Bruyne could return to the EPL. He was amazing last season.
- Abdul Baba Rahman (Augsburg to Chelsea) – This looks like a done deal, but the transfer fee is yet to be sorted out. He will be the replacement for Filipe Luis.
- Gokhan Inler (Napoli to Schalke 04) – The midfielder is going to leave the Italian city and is going to make a choice between Schalke and Leicester City.
- Alen Halilovic (Barcelona to Hamburg) – This will most likely be a loan move for the youngster. He will be getting more playtime with the move and the club has confirmed he will be loaned out.
- Julian Draxler (Schalke to Juventus) – The attacking midfielder is the big name addition on the top of Juve’s list. He is a dynamic player that could give Juve a stronger midfield following the departures of Pirlo and Vidal.
Like I mentioned in the last blog, this season I will be having a good friend of mine, James, making some predictions this season and will be giving his insight on some of the big games.
Top 4 Predictions
Mine – Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund, and Borussia Monchengladbach
James – Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund
Mine – Koln, Hannover, and Darnstadt 98
James – Hamburg, Darnstadt 98, Ingolstadt