Bundesliga 2018-19 season preview

After the shock of their team’s early exit from the World Cup, German football fans are turning their attention to the Bundesliga again as Bayern Munich attempt to win their seventh title in a row.

The Bavarian giants have been German champions a record 28 times and, having won the 2017/18 title with five games to spare, it is difficult to see how the likes of Schalke 04, Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund can overhaul them this term.

Hamburg and Koln suffered relegation last season and have been replaced by Fortuna Dusseldorf, back in the top-flight after five years, and Nurnberg who were in 2 Bundesliga for four campaigns following their relegation in 2013/14.

Dominant Bayern still the team to beat

Bayern Munich (1.15 to win the Bundesliga) do look a little weaker this season. They have signed Leon Goretzka recently but Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal have left the Allianz Arena and they have a new coach in Niko Kovac.

There were signs in the second half of last season, and during Poland’s pitiful World Cup campaign, that Robert Lewandowski’s powers are on the wane. He has scored 89 Bundesliga goals in the last three campaigns, but is still 1.44 to be the league’s top scorer again this term.

It may be tighter at the top of the Bundesliga but Bayern will once again take some stopping with Borussia Dortmund, 6.50 to win the title, possibly their closest challengers.

In the last six years they have finished as runners-up to Bayern three times and third once and were disappointed with fourth place last season.

In Lucien Favre they have a well-respected coach who has made some solid signings over the summer, including Axel Witsel, Abdou Diallo, Marius Wolf and Werder Bremen’s Thomas Delaney.

Favre can get the best out of Marco Reus, who he coached at Borussia Monchengladbach, but Dortmund will undoubtedly miss the goals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who they sold to Arsenal in January.

Leipzig tipped for top-four spot

RB Leipzig can challenge for a top-four spot, they are available at 2.00, after finishing sixth last term although their season-opener against Borussia Dortmund could go a long way to determining how they will fare.

They have already progressed through two rounds of the Europa League, knocking out Sweden’s BK Hacken and Universitatea Craiova of Romania, with new teenage signing Matheus Cunha shining.

Naby Keita’s departure is undoubtedly a blow but Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg are still on their books and, if they can recapture the form they enjoyed two seasons ago, when they were runners-up, it could be another good campaign for Leipzig.

Volland can fire Bayer up the table

Much is expected of Bayer Leverkusen this term (1.68 to finish in the top four), after they finished fifth in the Bundesliga last term.

Heiko Herrlich has added Paulinho, Mitchell Weiser and Lukas Hradecky, a replacement for goalkeeper Bernd Leno who has joined Arsenal, to his squad and kept hold of Kevin Volland, (23.00 to be the league’s top goalscorer), who found the net 14 times in 28 Bundesliga appearances last season.

Hoffenheim, 4.00 to finish in the top four, may have to endure a season of transition as it has been announced that, after guiding the club to third spot last term, head coach Julian Nagelsmann will be leaving and taking up the managerial reins at Leipzig at the end of this season.

Mark Uth has already left the club and, while Ishak Belfodil and Leonardo Bittencourt have arrived it could be a tricky campaign for Hoffenheim as they attempt to balance domestic and Champions League football.

Schalke finished second last season and, despite, a summer of turmoil, they could enjoy another fine 2018/19 campaign.

They have been a defensive team in the last few campaigns but all the signs are they will be more attacking this season and, despite losing midfield duo Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer, odds of 2.25 on them securing a top-four spot again this season appear tempting.

Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg struggled in 2017/18 and there is little to suggest they will be able to recover from their malaise this season.

Werder will be desperate for Davy Klaassen to recapture his Ajax form following his underwhelming campaign with Everton, but having lost Thomas Delaney, Zlatko Junuzovic and Ishak Belfodil they could be set for another mid-table finish.

Wolfsburg flirted with the drop last season, eventually finishing 16th and only avoided relegation by beating Holstein Kiel in the play-offs, and since then they have sold last season’s top scorer Daniel Didavi.

Wout Weghorst netted 27 goals for AZ Alkmaar in the 2017/18 Eredivisie and, while the Bundesliga is a step up, if he hits the ground running Wolfsburg might manage a mid-table finish instead of scrambling to stay in the league.

Frankfurt fancied to struggle

Stuttgart are good value at 5.00 to secure a top-six spot after finishing seventh last term, while Augsburg could be involved in a relegation battle after selling goalkeeper Marwin Hits to Borussia Dortmund. They also struggled to score many goals despite their mid-table 2017/18 campaign and are 7.50 to be relegated.

Borussia Monchengladbach, Hannover and Hertha Berlin all appear to be solid enough to finish in a safe mid-table spot again, but Eintracht Frankfurt could face a relegation battle despite winning the DFB Pokal Cup last term.

Coach Kovac has left for Bayern, who thrashed them 5-0 in the DFL Super Cup earlier this month.

Eintracht are 8.50 to go down while Fortuna Dusseldorf are 1.80 to make an immediate return to the second tier following their promotion last term.

Freiburg, 4.00 to be relegated, look very weak this season, while Nurnberg (2.00) and Mainz (3.50) also appear to be set for a battle to avoid the drop.

Mainz were only five points above relegated Hamburg, 4.80 to be 2.Bundesliga winners in 2018/19, while Nurnberg came up last season despite losing eight matches. Manager Michael Kollner faces a mammoth task in attempting to keep his side in the top-flight.