Bundesliga Preview: Bundesliga is back and what a run-in we have to look forward to

Benjamin McFadyean  |  Talk Talk!!  |  3 Months Ago

The second half of the German Bundesliga season kicked off last night and Bayern got off to winning ways with a comfortable away victory at Hoffenheim, narrowing the gap at the top to three points. The pressure is back on the ‘Schwarz-Gelben’ from Dortmund to keep up their challenge for the title campaign. 


We have a lot to look forward to in the Bundesliga over the next 17 Bundesliga games. Why? Ben McFadyean, Bundesliga correspondent takes a look for Jersey Football magazine.


Let’s backtrack for a moment, August 2018, when all of Germany was sweating it out in one of the hottest summers in decades, FC Bayern cruised past Eintracht Frankfurt in the Supercup final just before the start of this current Bundesliga season, which is the 56th edition of the prestigious tournament, winning 5-0 in Frankfurt. On paper any expert would have agreed, that nobody could prevent Bayern from winning the seventh German Championship in succession, another predictable season in the Bundesliga.  


Just over five months later, well, a paradigm shift has shaken the canon, large parts of Germany are covered in snow, football experts like World cup winner Lothar Matthäus, Real Madrid and BVB legend Christoph Metzelder and former Liverpool and Bayern star Dietmar Hamann are in agreement on a very big change of scene indeed, their conclusion: in the end only one team can take the championship this year: Borussia Dortmund. We have a genuine title race brewing, there’s a team that can stand up to Bayern, and the former mighty German champions are struggling to regain their foothold under the chaperonage of Nico Kovac. 


The outlook for the second half of Season 18-19? Spectacular like seldom before. 


With Bayern’s win last night at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, things have got off to a flying start. After years of endless boredom, there’s a genuine title fight going on, this promises turbulence ahead...


Whatever the final outcome is, Bundesliga fans across the league can look forward to the next 17 games. The season so far has seen an engaging combination of more attacking football, more goals and a tighter fight for Europe at the top. Sancho, an archetype of wunderkinds the Bundesliga is packed with, wanting to prove themselves and the relegation battle looks as tight as ever, promising high drama. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves one after another

The title fight:


 BVB leads the table, with the win at RB Leipzig, pundits have got their money, the lead will be back to six points over the weekend. 


Nevertheless, BVB managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke says: "Favorite is always Bayern. I cannot be persuaded otherwise. "National coach Joachim Löw agrees: " Six points are not the world, that can always be made up."Nevertheless, Bayern lacks the dominance of past years. BVB, in turn, has yet to prove how consistently they can shine over an entire season’ - the tension is on.


And the situation is no less tense in the fight for Europe. Behind the top duo, ambitious teams are fighting for the European Cup places. A bolstered Borussia Mönchengladbach, ever ambitious and more importantly super capitalised RB Leipzig and more of a surprise VFL Wolfsburg and a reinvigorated Eintracht Frankfurt under new coach Adi Hütter as well, are crossing swords with European giants to make the cut for the elite fray of the continent. 


3.04 goals have been scored on an average per game this season, more than in England, Spain and Italy. Bundesliga season 18-19 has given us goals in spades, the second highest on record over the past 30 years in fact, only in the 2013/14 season did the fans have more to cheer about. The time of a standstill at the top and predictability in the hunt for Europe is over at least for now - this season fans and pundit alike agree, is really worth watching.


Say hello to three spectacular new talents


The Bundesliga, along with France’s Ligue 1 has become Europe’s talent machine and it’s no surprise to see talents like Jadon Sancho choosing BVB over Premiership giants Manchester City, the Bundesliga has become the springboard for stardom.  All eyes on this half of the season are on three players and not one of them is over 20 years old. 


Bayern’s 10 million euro signing of Canadian forward Alphonso Davies (18), Boca Juniors transfer to BVB defender Leonardo Balerdi (19) who joined the 'Schwarz-Gelben' for around 16 million euros and Amadou Haidara (20), the 15m euro signing who will bring much-needed stability in midfield to RB Leipzig, are just three of the many new faces to look out for in the second half of Bundesliga 18-19. 

The rock-bottom of the table has been decorated with another enthralling cut and run encounter. The club that took all the naysayers by their horns and has been waging the best bet to stay in the league: Fortuna Düsseldorf. 


Coach Friedhelm Funkel, a Bundesliga old warhorse with 17 years of Bundesliga coaching under his belt including 5 years at Eintracht Frankfurt whom he led to the DFB Pokal cup final in 2010, is looking like a wily choice and has just extended his contract. 


Fortuna with a spectacular win over BVB on the penultimate match of the first half of the season now sits comfortably four points ahead of the relegation play-off 16th place. A great starting position but the competition doesn’t sleep: 1. FC Nürnberg, Hannover 96, VfB Stuttgart and FC Augsburg will be hot on Dusseldorf’s heels, and what about Schalke? Tedesco’s team have shown glimpses of quality in Europe but in the league have looked anything but stable, could Schalke be drawn into the relegation fight yet? 


Robben says goodbye


The season is set to go out with a bang for one player that is already confirmed. Arjen Robben will leave Bayern in the summer after ten spectacular successful years, the Dutchman has shaped the league like few others, Robben has divided opinions like few others, the winger has his admirers, but also opponents, and for Bayern fans at least his farewell will hurt.


This half of Bundesliga 18-19 has got to look forward; the VAR experiment has yet to be optimized, there are always at least two opinions when it comes to tricky decisions. Monday matches are set to be banned from season 2021/22, are still causing controversy and the never-ending wage spiral and transfer millions remain big talking points among fans. 


The Bundesliga is back and as the season rushes towards its climax this coming summer. This write up is sure will not be for the faint-hearted in this half of the season either.


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