Bundesliga Review/Preview Including Predictions – Season 2020/21

With the German Bundesliga reaching the conclusion of Matchday 4, BSR Sports have decided to…

With the German Bundesliga reaching the conclusion of Matchday 4, BSR Sports have decided to give a full, in-depth analysis towards some of the key factors of the 19/20 season, with a predicted table for the new season ahead, taking into account the important factors, such as; experience, recruitment, the management and funds. Whether they are challenging for a spot to compete in Europe, in either the UEFA Europa League or Europe’s Elite competition, The UEFA Champions League, it is most definitely going to be a competitive season at both sides of the table, with an unpredictable relegation battle in store, as many teams become set to fight for their lives in order to avoid the dreaded embarrassment of relegation. The 2020/21 Season will to be a very interesting one, as Champions and recent treble winners, Bayern Munich, look to expand as Europe’s powerhouse. They seek to win their 9th league title in a row and it is difficult to see many teams competing to close the gap on Germany’s runaway giants. However, it was never all plain sailing for the Bavarians as it took a swift change in management to continue the clear dominance. Niko Kovac started the season with a clear indication that the main aim was to win the Champions League, with a dominant 7-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur, demonstrating their continuance in being a European powerhouse. The Bayern hierarchy are a ruthless bunch, and after an embarrassing display against Eintracht Frankfurt, a 5-1 dismantling, Kovac was sacked and subsequently replaced by Hansi Flick. It took time for Flick’s tactics to sink in at Bayern, and the club were still bridged from the top of the league going into Christmas that season, with RB Leipzig showing that their youthful side caused a threat, however it did not materialize for Julian Nagelsmann’s side, who ended up finishing 3rd. Bayern’s closest competitors, Borussia Dortmund can be pleasantly pleased with how their season curtailed. Although they may have fallen away from the title race post-lockdown, after losing to Bayern 1-0, virtually handing them the title, the signing of Erling Haaland has certainly given hope once again to BVB as the Norwegian had an excellent 2nd half to his season. After signing for the German outfit in January, the world witnessed a remarkable comeback, after a Haaland hat-trick on his debut versus Augsburg, coming on at half time, with his side down 3-1 to win the game 3-5. The big Norwegian ended the season with 13 goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances. Haaland wasn’t the only breakthrough star of the Bundesliga season, Marcus Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach played an integral part to his sides success of qualifying for the Champions League, alongside his French partner Alassane Plea. The 2 French strikers scored a combined 20 goals, with a share of the spoils granting 10 a piece, as they helped their team towards a 4th place finish and a spot in this seasons Champions League. The biggest breakout star of the 19/20 Bundesliga season was undoubtedly Canadian phenomenon, Alphonso Davies. With his blistering pace and quick eye for a pass, the wing back was a key part of Bayern’s treble winning season at only 19 years of age. The young Canadian was rightfully awarded with the Bundesliga Rookie of the Year award for his excellent season as one of the worlds best at left wing-back. At the other end of the table, it would be a season to forget for Padderborn who finished rock bottom of the table. Despite promotion the previous season the minnows finished the season with 4 wins all season ending 10 points adrift of 17th Dusseldorf as they also had a car crash season, although they seemed to put up a stronger fight. Bundesliga new-boys, Union Berlin, shocked everyone as they soared to an 11th place finish in their first ever season in the German topflight. With former Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic plying his veteran trade at the back, it brought some well needed experience to the Unions back line, as they became a tricky opponent for anyone, however, post-lockdown saw their form dip in the slightest, as they are a team that fully thrive of the fans being the 12th man. Finishing just below Union Berlin in 12th was FC Schalke, who had a season to forget by their standards. Inconsistencies for David Wagner’s side is ultimately what cost him and his team, as the struggles continued to mount for them, perhaps most embarrassingly, losing 4-0 on the final day to fellow mid-table rivals Freiburg. Wagner was relieved of his duties after a home defeat to Werder Bremen and was replaced with German coach Manuel Baum.  However, there was one positive to take from Schalke’s season and that was the breakthrough of German Midfielder Suat Serdar. Schalke quickly realised the only way to move forward was to build a team around him after his rapid claim to fame and massive contribution to the team last season. Werder Bremen remarkably survived last season by winning their relegation playoff game against 2.Bundesliga side FC Heidenheim with the help of the away goals rule. Promoted to play in the top flight this season were Arminia Bielefeld and VFB Stuttgart, replacing Dusseldorf and Padderborn respectively. Starting from 18th position, we have predicted where clubs in one of Europe’s most intriguing leagues will most likely finish and why we believe this is the case. We hope you enjoy:  18TH RELEGATED  Arminia Bielefeld Finishing rock bottom are 19/20 2.Bundesliga  Champions Arminia Bielefeld. Returning to the German topflight for the first time since 2008/9, Uwe Neuhaus’ side eased towards promotion last season as the club ended the season with 68 points, 10 points more than their closest competitors in Stuttgart. However, a strong campaign will not curtail for this season as they look set to go straight back down, with a lack of quality in all departments, it will be one long slog for the club, who will go straight back down. Finished last season – 1st (2. Bundesliga champions) One to watch – Fabian Klos Cause for concern – Lack of players with top tier experience Key Signing –  Mike van der Hoorn  17th RELEGATED FSV Mainz 05 Joining Bielefeld in going down to the 2nd tier is FSV Mainz. Mainz have been threatening with the thought of relegation, finishing a low 13th last season, only 6 points of the play-offs. They may however force more of a fight and could easily stay up with good quality signings in both defence and forwards. However, the lack of experience in their coach, who’s first role is the Mainz gig, which in the end will only see the downfall of the team. Finished last season – 13th One to watch – Jean-Paul Boetius Cause for concern – Manager lacks necessary experience Key signing – Dimitri Lavalee  16th Playoff VFB Stuttgart Stuttgart, alongside Bielefeld were also promoted to the top tier after a solid season in 2. Bundesliga, however, unlike Bielefeld, Stuttgart have necessary experience within the Bundesliga and have strengthened indefinitely with 9 new signings. However, this can also be seen as a negative towards the team as it takes time for players to blend in together and it could spark a downfall with disharmony a big factor for Stuttgart. Finished last season – 2nd (2.Bundesliga) One to watch – Tanguy Coulibaly Cause for concern- Excessive amount of signings will take time to blend in. Key Signing – Konstaninos Mavropanos  15th Survival F.C Union Berlin Union Berlin were the true Fairytale story of the Bundesliga last season, finishing 11th for their first ever season in the Bundesliga. However, it may be different this time out for the Berlin Club as it is clear they thrive off the fans being in the stadium, with a small, compact stadium allowing for an electric atmosphere. Now that the majority of the season in Germany only allow for small amounts of fans, it can play a huge factor for the small club and 2nd season syndrome can also play a part, sticking by their manager Urs Fischer since 2018 can be seen as a big positive with a big chunk of the players going to be familiar with his style of play. However, the loss of Sebastian Andersson could be fatal for them and veteran Centre back Neven Subotic. Finished last season – 11th One to Watch – Christopher Trimmel Cause for concern – 2nd season syndrome could affect them. Key signing – Max Kruse  14th Survival Werder Bremen Werder Bremen were another team that struggled indefinitely last season, only surviving via a playoff game at the end of the season, however, the business being made by the club can be seen as a positive with a good mix of youth and experience being brought in in order to balance the ship. It is a process however and it will again take time for the players to blend in to be able to fight any form of the drop. Finished last season – 16th One to watch – Miot Rashica Cause for concern – Time for players to blend in is needed. Key signing – Omer Toprak 13TH Afloat F.C Koln F.C Koln have a strong squad at their disposal with a fair amount of experience in the squad, however as of recent they have started to fall off, falling into unnecessary relegation battles and finishing low mid table is a common theme for the club and the business in the window can be seen as uninspiring. Finished last season – 14th One to watch – Jorge Mere Cause for concern – Lack of quality signings Key signing – Sebastian Andersson 12TH Mid-table FC Schalke Schalke have been on a downward slope for a while now and it is not showing any sign of slowing down. Confidence is low in the club and the current start of the season has them sitting bottom of the league with a -14 goal difference. The current squad is nowhere near close to competing right now and this is going to be another tough transitional season for the once tricky team. Finished last season – 12th One to watch – Suat Serdar Cause for Concern – Low confidence within the camp. Key signing – Goncalo Paciencia 11th Mid-table FC Augsburg Augsburg had a poor season by their standards, finishing 15th, however, their team have shown strong possibilities of pushing for a higher finished season, currently sitting in 2nd with 7 points, showing vast signs of improvements within the squad. With a style of play under Heiko Herrlich for a whole season, it could be an exciting season ahead for Augsburg. Finished last season – 15th One to watch –  Alfred Finnbogason Cause for concern – Inconsistencies based on last season Key signing – Daniel Caligiuri 10th Mid-table Hertha Berlin Hertha Berlin by their standards had a season that can be seen as satisfactory, they hold a strong team together and look to be on the up from previous seasons, a higher finish may be possible but its still a process within the club and the pressure will be on coach Bruno Labbadia, as he was backed this window, with over 30 million euros spent on 5 signings, including the loan signing of French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi. Finished last season – 10th One to watch –  Dodi Lukebakio Cause for concern – High pressure on the coach with a lot of incomings and good names being brought in. Key signing – Matteo Guendouzi  9th Top half Freiburg Freiburg own a strong unit within the squad, and this season could have the same kind of finish for them. A top half finish for Christian Streich’s side can be seen as the best outcome at the moment for the side and it can be seen as a positive with the competitiveness around the top half really high. A Europa League spot is possible for this season, but will come just short. Freiburg will hope Nils Petersen can continue to help them grow as a side. Finished last season – 8th One to watch – Nils Petersen Cause for concern – Competition above them are high and it will be difficult to push them them further. Key signing – Vincenzo Grifo 8th Top half VFL Wolfsburg Wolfsburg have been in transition for a few seasons now and a massive positive can be seen with them gaining a 7th place finish last season. However, it did not materialize into a Europa League season for Oliver Glasner’s side, with his side losing to AEK Athens in a playoff game. The club have spent wisely by their standards bringing in necessary signings such as a centre back, right back and 2 forwards. Finished last season – 7th One to watch – Josip Brekalo Cause for concern – relatively slow start to the season with a Europa League exit. Key signing – Ridle Baku 7th Europa League Qualifier Eintracht Frankfurt Eintracht Frankfurt ended last season in a 9th placed position after a tough fought season with a Europa League campaign at hand, ultimately making their season one big slog. After losing key player the previous season in Luka Jovic, Frankfurt managed to keep a steady ship and gain a top half finish, and this season with no European football, it can allow them to push further on with less games to be concerned about. Finished last season – 9th One to watch – Amin Younes Cause for concern – Defence leaky Key signing –  Andre Silva  6th  Europa League Bayer 04 Leverkusen Bayer Leverkusen will be in for tough run this season after finishing 5th last season and the worry of having to play Thursdays again and it will be a long haul for the side who have also not started fairly well this season, yet to win a game with 3 draws so far. The biggest problem they may face however is the loss of German International Kai Havertz to Chelsea and there has been no direct replacement. Finished last season – 5th One to watch – Leon Bailey Cause for concern – no replacement for star player. Key signing – Patrick Schick  5th Europa League Hoffenheim Just missing out on a top 4 spot is Sebastian Hoenes’ side Hoffenheim, who could be in for a very competitive season with a high quality of players within the squad and therefore showing a strong unity. Having experience as well as a good mix of youth in the squad can allow them to push forward and allow the youth to grow under the experienced heads within the squad. Finished last season – 6th One to watch – Andrej Kramaric Cause for concern- European football could catch up on them Key signing – Ryan Sessegnon 4th Champions League RB Leipzig Coming in at 4th is RB Leipzig. RB Leipzig endured a great season last time out, gaining a place in this seasons champions league and also getting to the semi-finals last season. They have a very talented manager in Julian Nagelsmann, who is touted as very exciting manager across Europe and it is important Leipzig held onto him. However, a big negative for the club will be the departure of Talisman Timo Werner, who switched them for Chelsea, and any striker will find it difficult to fill in for the German and it could force Leipzig into more of a top 4 battle rather than fighting for a top 2 or a league title. Finished last season – 3rd One to watch – Christopher Nkunku Cause for concern – Pressure mounting on Strikers to replace Werner. Key signing – Hee-chan Hwang 3rd Champions League Borussia Monchengladbach Getting just onto the podium is the exciting unit of Borussia Monchengladbach, who could only be in for a good season after a positive one last season by getting back into the top 4 and gaining a Champions League place for this season. A negative however, is that they have not used this opportunity to buy more depth needed due to more games being played, however, they still hold a solid Starting 11 and could be in for an even more positive season. Finished last season – 4th One to watch – Denis Zakaria Cause for concern – Next to strengthening in depth. Key signing- Joe Scally   2nd place Runner Up Borussia Dortmund Just missing out on top spot is the always thrilling Borussia Dortmund side who once again have strengthened where it is needed in order to grow as a unit and to make youthful payers world stars again. BVB will look to potentially close the gap on their main competitors, Bayern Munich, and the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho in their forward line together for a full season, it is very much possible Dortmund could cause an upset, however, the youthful signings are important for the clubs motto, but they still lack in really more world class leaders, and in the end, this will be their biggest downfall. Finished last season – 2nd One to watch – Giovanni Reyna Cause for concern – Lack of leadership and sloppy in defence. Key signing – Jude Bellingham 1st Champion Bayern Munich Getting the top prize is none other than treble winners Bayern Munich. Fresh off of winning the Champions League in Lisbon, the Bavarian giants will be looking to do the same again this season as they look to grow even further as a European heavyweight and the only thing that may come into question is their hunger to do it again. The goals of Robert Lewandowski will only spur the team one to do even more great things, and the acquisition of Leroy Sane will only make the European champions much stronger and will take some stopping to win this Bundesliga title. Finished last season – 1st One to watch – Alphonso Davies Cause for concern – Keeping the hunger going Key signing – Leroy Sane

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