Bundesliga 2019/2020 season preview (starts 16th August)
The big question in Germany this season will be can Dortmund overtake Bayern? As, realistically, they are the only two sides who can win the title. Last season Bayern prevailed by two points and they were twelve points clear of Leipzig in third.
Dortmund have been very active in the transfer market and look to have been a little more ambitious than their rivals, having brought in Thorgan Hazard from Gladbach, Mats Hummels from Bayern, Nico Schulz from Hoffenheim and Julian Brandt from Leverkusen which certainly strengthens their squad. Hummels will tighten up their defence and that was the big difference in the two sides last season with Bayern conceding twelve goals fewer, apart from that statistic, they were pretty much equal in everything else. Bayern will need to replace Ribery and Robben and they have taken 19-year-old forward Jann-Fiete Arp from Hamburg, plus they have strengthened at the back by getting in the young French defender Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid and his compatriot Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart. I think this is a lot closer than the betting has it with Bayern around 1.33 and Dortmund at 5.0.
The only side who could get anywhere near these two over the course of a season would be Leipzig, but they would probably need to take four points off both of them and also go on a great run of their own. They have taken Hannes Wolf from Salzburg and the Brazilian defender Luan Candido from Palmeiras, and defensively they were solid last season conceding the least amount of goals in the league. What let them down were too many draws, nine in total.
The rest of the clubs are almost certainly playing for European places with Leverkusen and Moenchengladbach the probable challengers for the fourth-place spot although the former have got Champions League football this season and that may affect their domestic form. Leverkusen have recruited Diaby and Demirbay but have lost Brandt to Dortmund and scoring goals may be their downfall in the race for fourth place.
Frankfurt were a side that impressed many last season, but they need to come to terms with the loss of their leading goal scorer Luka Jovic to Real Madrid and also Sebastien Haller to West Ham and players who score 27 and 14 goals respectively, in a season, are difficult to replace. My big fancies to do well last season, Schalke are under new management with David Wagner the ex-Huddersfield boss taking over. He is a former player at the club, but it might take him a few months to get the players he wants and a settled side, for moving forward.
Relegation looks just as cut and dried as both Paderborn and Union Berlin will struggle from day one, the only question to answer is who else may go, with any one of half a dozen sides being realistic candidates. Freiburg, available at 11/4, might have a tough season ahead.
It is difficult to recommend any ante-post action, Dortmund have a chance but 9/2 (5.50) is hardly a giveaway, unless you can get on each-way first two places, but that is unlikely, so if you really need to get involved then Borussia Moenchengladbach to finish top four at 3/1 (4.00) might be a back to lay back at a later date.
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