With excitement and anticipation surrounding Friday’s opening Bundesliga fixture between Bayern and Leverkusen, it begs the question, will the reigning champions have more competition in the race for the title this year? Let’s break down my predictions of who will finish where.
1st place – Bayern Munich
Bayern has gone through a pretty tough pre season losing some pretty important games in the build up to this anticipated 17/18 season. And with all the chops and changes regarding members of the backroom staff, Carlo Ancelotti enters his 2nd season with a considerable amount of pressure on his shoulders. But even though it seems like the hierarchy is watching closely at the goings on in the dressing room, training ground and on the pitch, Ancelotti remains ice cool. I feel the additions of Rudy and James could be significant come the end of the season. Even with all the doubts and uncertainty at Bayern, I still feel they have just enough to win the title. However, I think it will be much closer than they would hope. I feel that 1 point will be the only difference between them and 2nd place.
2nd place – Borussia Dortmund
A week ago, I would have picked Dortmund to be able to capitalise on Bayern’s transition season following Alonso and Lahm’s departures. The additions of Dahoud and Philip fill me with excitement and am intrigued how Bosz can impact these new signings. The problem Dortmund are up against, and something that I feel will mean they miss out, is the whole uncertainty surrounding Ousmane Dembele. His whole disappearance, his suspension and most of all, will he still be a Dortmund player come the end of the transfer window? Unfortunately, I feel this and the fact that they still look a little ropey at the back, will mean that they will be incredibly close but lose out to the title by a fraction.
3rd place – RB Leipzig
After stamping their mark on the Bundesliga last campaign, and now competing with the European big boys, Leipzig go into this campaign with some very interesting young additions. These will be valuable to their success as with the Champions League, all of a sudden games will be coming thick and fast. This will be something that I will be keeping a close eye on, can they cope with the influx of competitive fixtures?How will opposition sides set out against them now knowing what their game plan is? Bearing all this in mind, I still feel that will have enough in the tank to put up a title challenge, as long as they can keep hold of Naby Keita. I feel they will be very much part of the title race, whether they will be up until the final week I’m not sure, but still closer than last year. A three horse race, just what the Bundesliga needs!
4th place – Hoffenheim
With the impressive campaign last season, I feel that Hoffenheim will have another impressive season. Yes, they have lost Rudy and Sule but Julian Nagelsmann has recruited reasonably well given they are such a young club. With the incredible innovation that Nagelsmann can get his side to produce, the enter each game with a huge unpredictability about them. For such a young coach, Nagelsmann is such an intelligent young man with the tactical nuance to keep his side improving and lighting up German and hopefully European football. I feel they are strong enough to grab that last Champions League spot for the second year in a row.
5th place – Bayer Leverkusen
Yes, you have read this right, Leverkusen in 5th. Last season in my eyes was a nightmare of a season, a managerial change, big players departing and stuck in a rut. This time around I feel there will be vast improvements, not enough to put them in a title race by any stretch but I do feel they will be challenging for the 4th Champions League spot. the fact they have managed to keep hold of all their young talents is very promising for Bayer, this in addition with the signing of Sven Bender from Dortmund will add excellent experience. Narrowly missing out on 4th and a solid 5th place finish with Europa qualification will be an excellent season.
6th place – Borussia Monchengladbach
Since the arrival of Dieter Hecking during the middle of last season, Gladbach made some vast improvements. I can only see them going from strength to strength especially with the additions of Ginter, Griffo and co, the foals are building a very interesting young squad. do not rule out Gladbach, if they get off to a good start – which will be tough with their opener the Rhine Derby – then they could push all the way for the 4th place. I think they have what it takes to get European football, not enough to get over the hurdle of 4th place but it will only be a few points in it.
7th place – Wolfsburg
A 16th place finish last year and a relegation playoff was simply not good enough for the wolves and a drastic improvement is needed. The only shining light in their season was the goal scoring prowess of veteran striker Mario Gomez. This summer has seen some very interesting signings arrive at the VW, Brooks, Camacho and Hinds, just to name a few. Things can only get better for the wolves and I am predicting much better stuff from them and depending on who wins the Pokal, could possibly nick a Europa spot.
8th place – Schalke
Last season, Schalke were plagued with injuries and just rotten bad luck. Subsequently, Martin Weinzierl was dismissed during the summer break and in comes young Domenico Tedesco. Now, he has a very tough job on his hands as the expectations and pressure at Schalke are huge but with the return of Breel Embolo from injury, it will feel like a new signing for them. I don’t think they will have enough to get themselves into a European spot this year, but if they start to build a team here then next season they could break into those valuable European slots. Keeping hold of Leon Goretzka could be vital in their attempts to rebuild. He was excellent during Die Mannschaft’s Confederations Cup win and could be instrumental in Schalke’s revival. Guido Burgstaller also gave Schalke hope last year grabbing goal after goal following his step up from the 2. Bundesliga. Let’s hope he can build a partnership with Embolo and help lead Schalke’s charge.
9th place – 1.FC Koln
With Anthony Modeste departing to China, the weight of responsibility will now be on new signing Jhon Cordoba’s shoulders. Does he have the ability to carry these expectations? We shall find out. He certainly does have the physicality to cause a threat but can he replace Modeste’s goals? Only time will tell. Another signing that Koln have managed to bring in is Jorge Mere, a young talented Spanish defender who lots of big clubs were looking at. Potentially this could very well be the bargain of the season, yes that’s right, bargain of the season. He is very composed on the ball, much like all top Spanish defenders, something that will inspire the Koln fans and to build attacks out from the back.
So there we round up my predictions of the top 9 places of this coming Bundesliga. Stay tunes for places 10-18 coming tomorrow. Who will go down?