Germany’s Bundesliga was the first of the major European leagues to return after the global coronavirus pandemic sent countries into lockdown and after a swift and exciting conclusion to last season, the new one is now set to begin.
Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn were relegated and are replaced by Arminia Bielefeld and Stuttgart, while Werder Bremen secured their top-flight status with victory in the play-off.
Key talents have departed but there is still expected to be the same crop near the top as Bayern Munich go in search of a ninth successive title.
Will Bayern be on Cloud Nine?
The 2019-20 campaign belonged to Bayern Munich both on a domestic and continental scale. Under the stewardship of Hansi Flick, the brilliant Bavarians won the Bundesliga by a 13-point margin, destroyed Barcelona on their way to the Champions League title and won the DFB-Pokal at the expense of Bayer Leverkusen. It is unsurprising they are as short as
4/27 to defend their crown.
It is hard to make an argument for any side to come close to Bayern in the league this season given their excellent blend of quick, young talents such as Alphonso Davies, Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman and the experience of Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski, among others.
Their most likely competition will once again be Lucien Favre’s Borussia Dortmund, who forever seem to be a work in progress with youngsters Reinier and Jude Bellingham joining their ranks this summer along with versatile full-back Thomas Meunier.
They amassed only 69 points last term – seven fewer than the season before – and even at
6/1 are probably worth avoiding.
Changes Among the European Hopefuls?
Dortmund should at least fancy their chances of coming out on top in the without Bayern Munich market in which they are
10/19. They still have a ruthless attack comprising Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland and no Bundesliga side kept more home clean sheets than Die Schwarzgelben in 2019-20.
Two other sides who made the top five last campaign – Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen – have both lost star players this summer in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz respectively. Werner’s goals will be challenging to replace but the Red Bulls have at least moved for Trabzonspor forward Alexander Sorloth to bulk up their attack.
As for Leverkusen, they also lost key forward Kevin Volland to Monaco this summer and, after missing out on the top four last season because of Borussia Monchengladbach, they may struggle to justify odds of
13/10 to make the Champions League places.
8/5 to repeat their top-four success under Marco Rose this season, having recruited modestly with the additions of Hannes Wolf and Valentino Lazaro on loan, and will be hoping to continue making life tough for visitors to Borussia-Park.
Augsburg Fancied for the Drop?
At the other end of the table, newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld could well be in the mix for relegation as could Bavarians Augsburg, who finished one place above the dropzone last season and have lost key full-back and assist-maker Philipp Max to PSV Eindhoven this summer.
Werder Bremen will be hoping for a better season under new boss Marco Bode, while Union Berlin should be confident of survival after finishing 11th in their maiden Bundesliga campaign.
*All odds correct at time of writing