bundesliga

Bundesliga 20/21 Season Preview/Predictions

Title Race (Outright Winner Price)

Bayern (1.17) continue to go from strength to strength. They clinched their eighth straight Bundesliga title and followed that up with the Champions League trophy, as they became the 14th side ever to complete the European treble in a single season. Indeed, that’s now the second time in seven years that they’ve managed that feat and much of the credit has to go to their current manager Hansi Flick. The German took over as interim manager back in November following a 5-1 hammering given to them at Frankfurt and they’re yet to look back. Indeed, a record of W33-D1-L2 from his 36 games in charge, including a run of 21 straight victories, makes it difficult to see who’s going to challenge them this term.

The addition of Leroy Sane only looks to make them stronger, further supplementing the likes of Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and the illustrious Robert Lewandowski. The latter tallied up 55 goals last season and should the Ballon d’Or be back on the cards, he’s favourite to lift it.

A slow start to the 2019/20 campaign for Dortmund (8.5) saw them drop as low as ninth place after gameweek eight and Lucien Favre will certainly want to correct that. Achraf Hakimi has headed for Inter following his loan spell from Real Madrid coming to an end, which looks a blow, but the arrival of Thomas Meunier on a free will go some way to alleviate the pain. The Black & Yellows have now finished second in the division in five of the last eight campaigns, including both the last two, and they’ll be hard to stop earning that milestone yet again.

You can only be amazed at what Julian Nagelsmann managed to do with Leipzig (23) last term. He became the youngest coach in history to coach a side in the Champions League semis after they beat both Spurs and Atletico Madrid in the last 16 and quarters respectively, whilst also guiding his charges to another third place in the league. You’d have to worried about the sale of Timo Werner to Chelsea though, as the striker bagged 28 of their total 81 league goals (35%) and contributed a further six assists, while new signing Hee-chan Hwang (from sister club Salzburg) is very much an unknown quantity at this level.

Top Four Battle (Top Four Prices)

Borussia Monchengladbach (2.75) locked in the final Champions League spot last season in Marco Rose’s debut campaign and having kept hold of the majority of their squad, they only look like getting better. It was hardly surprising they had the second-best home record in the Bundesliga last term, after Rose as head coach went his whole 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons at Salzburg unbeaten on home turf, and that looks to have transferred over. They’ll need to improve on their W8-D3-L6 record on the road if they want to push the teams that finished above them last term, but they look in a good place to do so.

Things don’t look quite so glamorous for their closest competition for fourth place, Bayer Leverkusen (2.9) They’ve lost both their best players Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland to Chelsea and Monaco respectively. That leaves new signing Patrik Schick with the burden of scoring the goals and although he’s proven he can hit the back of the net when on loan at Leipzig last term with 10, we’re struggling to see how he’s going to make up for the absence of both those stars.

None of Wolfsburg (6.5), Hoffenheim (9), Hertha Berlin (7) or Frankfurt (8.5) look capable of catching those two sides, as the Wolves have conducted the least amount of business in the league following their close-but-not-quite type of campaign last season, while Hoffenheim are under new management as Sebastian Hoeneb steps into his first ever senior role. Hertha still look to be lacking a goalscorer, with their joint top scorer last season Vedad Ibisevic (seven goals) leaving, and while Matheus Cunha has some flair, he seems to lack that killer instinct in the box. Finally, Frankfurt still look to be recovering from the exit of all of Sebastien Haller, Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic at the end of 2018/19, while coach Nico Kovac left for Bayern a year before that. They may have ended up with a top-half finish last season, but for the most part of it the relegation zone wasn’t exactly too far off.

Relegation Battle (Bottom Two Finish Prices)

Understandably, the favourites for the drop are Armenia Bielefeld (1.91)Union Berlin (3), Stuttgart (4), Augsburg (4), Mainz (5), Werder Bremen (6.5) and Koln (6.5).

Union Berlin look a little short given they had such a monumental 2019/20 campaign, having finished in 11th place after promotion to the Bundesliga. They have acquired some good players for this season too, as the likes of Max Kruse, Keita Endo, Robin Knoche, Niko Giebelmann and Andreas Luthe join the fray. It may be a tall order to match last year’s effort, but they look in a good position to at least avoid relegation. We also feel that Bremen might be safe too. Last season was their worst finish in the 39 years since being back in Germany’s top division and you’d expect them to bounce back. The arrival of Tahith Chong in midfield looks exciting, while they’ve been busy bolstering their squad elsewhere and look to have too much quality for the drop.

Stuttgart drastically tailed off in the 2018/19 season after finishing as high as seventh the previous campaign, but they’ve done well to bounce straight back up. Nicolas Gonzalez will be crucial to their chances of avoiding relegation, with his 14 goals last season being pivotal to their season, while the fact they’ve recruited in defence for the new season, with that being their downfall in the last, is promising.

The teams that look to be in trouble are Armenia Bielefeld, Koln, Mainz and Augsburg for us. The latter lost second top scorer Philipp Max, as well as Tin Jedvaj and Stephen Lichtsteiner, all of which made up three of their first XI’s defensive setup and that’ll certainly cause them problems. Koln have also lost key players in Simon Terodde, Kingsley Schindler, Mark Uth, and Toni Leistner, reducing the quality of their squad hugely, and although they recruited Ron-Robert Zieler in between the sticks, they’ll need more than that.

Mainz have been quiet in the transfer market but managed to obtain the majority of their players and there’s no reason to think they’ll do worse than a solid 12th and 13th in the two most recent campaigns. Lastly, 2. Bundesliga winners Armenia Bielefeld were mightily impressive last term, and with the recruitment of Christian Gebauer, Jacob Barret Laursen, Ritsu Doan, Mike van der Hoorn and Sergio Cordova, they look far too short in the market to yo-yo straight back down.

Conclusion

With the head of the market all but guaranteed to be fought out between Bayern, Dortmund and Leipzig, with an outside chance going to Gladbach, there doesn’t look to be too much value. The Bavarians deserve to be at the ridiculously short price that they are and with the Foals likely to take a step forward in Marco Rose’s second season in charge, the best bet looks for them to secure a top four spot. We certainly wouldn’t put anyone off getting behind the tricast of Bayern, Dortmund and Leipzig respectively to occur for a third straight season, but the threat of Rose’ charges is enough for us to swerve that.

Further down the table, the relegation scrap looks extremely exciting. We’ve highlighted seven potential teams for the drop, but the main contenders for us have to be promoted teams Stuttgart and Armenia, as well as Augsburg and Koln. Interestingly, only four of the 15 teams to have been promoted to the Bundesliga since the start of the 2013/14 season have ended up finishing in the bottom two, and considering the reinforcing and improving both Stuttgart and Armenia have done this summer, we’d be surprised if either of them go straight back down automatically. We’re therefore left with both Koln and Augsburg. Both teams have lost crucial players from their 2019/20 campaigns, while they still only came 14th and 15th respectively even with those players.

Recommendations

2pts: B. M’gladbach Top Four Finish @ 2.75

0.5 Pts: FC Koln Bottom Two Finish @ 6.5

0.5 Pts: Augsburg Bottom Two Finish @ 4

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