Well, there has been written a whole lot about the upcoming Bundesliga season. The transfers, the silicon loving speeding pro at Werder, the camping holiday of Subotic etc. But, finally we can put all this miserable drivel behind us, and watch some football again when the season kicks off tomorrow with the game between Dortmund and Hamburg. And just in time before kick off I will have a stab at predicting how the Bundesliga table will look at the end of the season. Mind you, my predictions will probably be off by miles.
1. Bayern Munich: Well, you didn’t expect to see any other team up their, did you? The team has been strengthened in a number of key positions, and the new coach Jupp Heynckes has been successful at Bayern before. Bayern is as always the strongest team on paper going into the season, and putting your money on any other team would be foolish at this stage(and considered genius in two or three weeks, who knows?).
2. Borussia Dortmund: Yes, loosing Sahin is punch in the stomach, but Dortmund have still a number of good players in their squad, and have bought a few very promising players for the next season. I expect Dortmund to give Bayern a run for their money, but ultimately failing to defend their championship from last season.
3. Hamburger SV: Well, and here is my first controversial pick. I think Hamburg have made a number of good moves this summer, and the overhaul of the entire youth system under the guidance of Frank Arnesen might turn out to be one of the best ever taken in the club’s history if one is to believe some of the comments made by the club’s officials. I think that Hamburg will surprise all of us like Dortmund did last season, but ultimately fall behind Bayern and Dortmund.
4. Schalke 04: Rangnick and his philosophy has produced decent results before, and a team with so many good players should aim at a finish in the top 5.
5. VfB Stuttgart: This is probably Labbadia’s last chance of making a name for himself as a good coach. If Stuttgart fires him after a bad start, I highly doubt that we’ll see him in a coaching position at a club as big as the VfB. Labbadia has got a great team in place, from the defense, to the midfield and attack, everything seems to be in place. His team played football that was enjoyable to watch last year and I expect them to continue this trend.
6. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Stanis and Hoffenheim seems like an odd mixture at first sight. The man himself known to bleed brown and white blood from his days at St. Pauli, and excellent coach and one of the few people in German football who was respected by fans from all around the country? Why make this move to the moneybags of at Hoffenheim, and all that goes with being in charge of the team? Well, as it turns out, Dietmar Hopp wants to spend fewer of his euros on the team, leaving a considerable amount of money to his family after he is gone. Stanislawski is a man who has been known to produce great results with tiny resources, and is in addition to that one of the best coaches Germany has to offer right now(he finished top of his class when he took his coaching license). If there is one man who can instill the team spirit that Rangnick had going for the first half of Hoffenheim’s first Bundesliga season, it has to be Stanis.
7. Bayer 04 Leverkusen: The aspirin team are still amongst my contenders to achieve a top five finish. However, there are a number of problems for “Die Werkself”: Dutt struggles to integrate Ballack, the defense needs a lot of ironing out and the loss of Vidal have made this season an uphill struggle for Bayer from the start. They will definitely shine from time to time, but last year’s second place finish isn’t going to be repeated.
8. Borussia Mönchengladbach: Solid team through and through. Should do fine, and reach a boring mid-table finish, and entertain many of us with some fine attacking football.
9. VfL Wolfsburg: The town of Wolfsburg is boring, so that in itself is a good enough reason to give them most boring spot in the league table. Furthermore, a lot of trouble has been mounting at Wolfsburg, and Felix Magath will have his hands full for the next few months.
10. Hannover 96: Playing in three competitions is a tough ask for a team like Hannover. But, the squad has been strengthened, and all the important players have stayed at the club. Hannover will have some bright spots during their campaign.
11. FC Köln: Ståle Solbakken is one of the most exciting coaches in Europe right now. If he is given time he can develop Köln into a force to be reckoned with. Expecting great achievements this season would be too much to ask of the Norwegian. Having said that, I have the funny feeling Köln might surprise us all…
12. SV Werder Bremen: Marko Arnautovic talks about boobs, Willy Lemke and Klaus Allofs have a public feud and act like a couple of boobs according to many Werder fans. The defense has been strengthened, but the lack of a quality striker behind Pizarro and the Peruvian’s injury prone history makes me think that the green and whites will struggle this season.
13. Hertha Berlin: A number of quality signings, a great foundation in place from last season, Hertha have taken all the right steps to keep themselves in the Bundesliga. However, this team will need some time to find its way in a higher league, and it might take a season or two before Hertha once again can be considered to be amongst the contenders for a spot Europe.
14. SC Freiburg: Dutt is gone, so is Toprak and Papiss Demba Cisse will most likely follow in this transfer window or the winter transfer window. However, the foundation of the team is still decent enough, with players like Baumann, Schuster, Rosenthal etc. all being excellent footballers. The team from the Breisgau will be involved in the relegation battle for sure, but they’ll manage to stay in the league.
15. FSV Mainz 05: Holtby, Schürrle and Fuchs have left the team to join sides that can pay higher wages, and that are considered to be better than Mainz. Tuchel has an enormous challenge integrating all the new players Mainz have bought, and many of them will need some time to adjust. It is hard to make any definite judgements of the over all quality of the squad, I for one wouldn’t be surprised if Mainz would get relegated. This scenario seems far more likely than another top 1o finish.
16. FC Nürnberg: If you loan your success, like Nürnberg did last season there is a price to pay. Ekici and Schieber were amongst the most important players for “Der Club”, and both have left the team after their loan deals were over. This is going to be one tough ride for Nürnberg.
17. FC Kaiserslautern: Second season syndrome, team with a low budget fare often better than expected in their first season in the Bundesliga, while they tend to encounter a real struggle in the following season. Without Lakic this is going to be tough for Kaiserslautern, as much as I love their fans and the fantastic Betzenberg I can’t see them stay in the league.
18. FC Augsburg: Well, a decent squad that simply isn’t good enough for the Bundesliga. Everybody has picked Augsburg to go down, and I do believe they finish stone dead last.
Any thoughts? Well, go ahead and share them in the comment section below.