Dortmund’s Spanish forward Paco Alcacer (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel (C) and German defender Nico Schulz . AFP Photo
Bayern Munich will be looking to make it eight titles in a row when they kick off the new season against Hertha BSC on Friday, but Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are expected to be how on their tails throughout the campaign.
So with the new season just around the corner, here’s everything you need to know about what looks set to be the most exciting Bundesliga season in years.
It’s understandable why many are predicting Bayern Munich to make it eight in a row, especially after seeing how main rivals Dortmund threw away a massive lead at the top of the table last season to gift wrap the Meisterschale for the Bavarians. They’re entering their second season with manager Niko Kovač, who despite winning the double last time around will be at risk of losing his job as soon as results start to go against the club.
The club have spent big the transfer market to fix a number of defensive problems, while the most recent signing of Ivan Perišić will help to offer some much-needed depth in wide areas following Arjen Robben’s retirement and Franck Ribéry’s departure.
But perhaps the most important thing to be keeping an eye during the first half of the season (or Hinrunde) will be the club’s elections in November, as club president Uli Hoeness will not be running for re-election, while he’ll also be stepping down as role as chairman of the board.
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding what the Black and Yellows can conjure up this season, with manager Lucien Favre entering his second year at the Westfalenstadion.
Dortmund have spent almost €130m in the transfer market, snapping up the likes of Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt, as well as bringing Mats Hummels back to the club following his trophy-laden three-year spell at Bayern Munich.
There’s a strong feeling that Borussia Dortmund could have their best chance since the days of Jürgen Klopp to get their hands on the league title this season, as Bayern Munich for all of their investment are still undergoing a major rejuvenation project.
They haven’t offered a serious threat to the Bundesliga’s duopoly just yet, but the 2019/20 season could see Leipzig – 10 years after they were formed – finally achieve their goal of securing silverware in Germany’s top flight. The Red Bull backed project are still among the most despised clubs in the Bundesliga and are widely seen as the antithesis of what makes German football so attractive, but the club has assembled an all-star cast of players and staff in Saxony which should give Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund a run for their money.
Only €52m has been spent by Leipzig as they look to fine-tune an already fantastic squad, but crucially they’ve been able to hold onto the likes of Dayot Upamecano, Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner – the latter still hasn’t signed a new contract and is set to become a free agent in 2020.
It is, however, the introduction of new manager Julian Nagelsmann which could see RB Leipzig come as close as they ever have to winning the Bundesliga title this season.
While some were tipping Leverkusen for a title challenge last season, Die Werkself actually found themselves around the relegation zone at times and they didn’t really find their feet until Peter Bosz was brought in to replace Heiko Herrlich.
After a full pre-season and some smart investment in the transfer market, however, Leverkusen will be confident that they can at least match their fourth-place finish from last year.
Just like RB Leipzig will be hopeful that they can enjoy a new manager bounce this season, Gladbach are heading into the new campaign with former FC Salzburg boss Marco Rose in the dugout at Borussia-Park.
They missed out on Champions League football by just three points last season, and so far Borussia Mönchengladbach have been able to hold onto the majority of their star players, only being forced to sell Thorgan Hazard to Dortmund
Far from a modern-day heavyweight in German football, Werder Bremen have actually lifted four Bundesliga titles and one as recently as 2004.
Fans in the north-west won’t be expecting much more than last season’s eight-place finish, but with the likes of Maximilian Eggestein and Milot Rashica continuing to improve under manager Florian Kohfeldt, Die Werderaner could break into the European places sooner rather than later.
Just not being involved in (another) relegation battle was somewhat of a success for Wolfsburg last season, but they actually went on to qualify for the Europa League group stages.
They’ve made very few changes to their first-team from last season, but new signings Xaver Schlager and Kevin Mbabu could help take manager Oliver Glasner – he took over this summer after four years with Austrian side LASK – to the next level.
The Bundesliga is as big as it’s ever been and it looks set to be one of the most exciting seasons in the competition’s history, with at least three teams eyeing the league title while a handful of other sides battle it out for the remaining European places.
Although 17 out of the league’s 18 managers have predicted Bayern Munich to win an eighth consecutive Meisterschale, both Florian Kohfeldt and 90min’s Ben Carter are backing Borussia Dortmund to end their wait for the trophy. Bayer Leverkusen should make up the rest of the top four alongside Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, while promoted Paderborn and Union Berlin will be lucky to finish outside of the Bundesliga’s automatic relegation slots.