Bayern Munich ran away with the Bundesliga in 2017-2018, the champions’ sixth league title in a row. The team’s domination is unlikely to be halted in 2018-2019 but after Germany’s surprising early exit from World Cup 2018 at the Group stage, and the national side’s reliance on Bayern producing many of its stars (seven members of the underperforming team made Joachim Low’s 23-man squad) it’s fair to say the Bundesliga might be suffering a hangover that’ll open the door for others. But if Bayern Munich stumble this year, who’s going to take their crown?
Nearest Challenger: Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund came up short in 2017-2018 but expect them to provide the main challenge this season. The year started with a lot of promise but Bayern proved to have better players, more cash for investments and more resources to call upon. Dortmund slipped up and couldn’t recover the ground. This season they’ll hope to find the consistency they previously lacked. But Bundesliga winning is only likely to start favouringthe Westfalenstadion club, who are currently 7/1 for the league title, if one or two new players come into complement its stars, Christian Pulisic, Mario Götze and Marco Reus. With the pair coming back to full fitness after time out of the game, there’s hope amongst fans that the best of them will be seen, pushing Dortmund closer to their Munich rivals.
Outside Chance: Schalke
Schalke have been a consistent team over the last few years and finished second behind Bayern in 2018. The team from Gelsenkirchen won more matches than any other German side apart from Bayern last season and will hope to continue that sort of form in 2019. Playing a solid brand of football that made them difficult to beat and strong defensively, Schalke will hope to find their goalscoring touch in order to have any hope of dethroning Bayern.
Champions League Place But No Title: RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig join teams like third-placed finishers last season Hoffenheim and fifth-placed finishers Bayer Leverkusen as teams who could make the Champions League places. They’re unlikely to challenge for the title but with exciting talents like frontman Timo Werner in their ranks, the club which plays its football at the Red Bull Arena will hope to improve upon last year’s successes.
Smart Money’s On: Bayern Munich
The smart money’s on Bayern Munich to retain their title. They have the experience and the players, when on form, to dominate the Bundesliga just as they have done for the last 6 years. Not only did they have the toughest defence in 2017-2018 but by the far the most potent attack, scoring 92 league goals. To put that into perspective, the next best was Hoffenheim with 66. And despite Germany’s struggles in World Cup 2018, Bayern’s national team contingent can be boosted by acquisition thanks to the financial strength of the club.
We thought last season was going to be closer than it turned out to be but yet again Bayern Munich proved to be better than everyone else. The same optimism will come as the 2018-2019 Bundesliga gets underway with Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Schalke knocking on the door.