Football fans finally have something to get excited about, with the Bundesliga resuming this weekend after its postponement as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. With eight (or in a couple of cases, nine) matches remaining, it’s all to play for at both ends of the table and as we gear up to the long overdue climax of this campaign, let’s take a look at some of the battles teams and players are facing.
The title race
This prolonged Bundesliga season has been closer than most in recent years. Of course, there’s no surprises as to who is top of the table – Bayern Munich. The current reigning champions have won the league for the last seven years and are four points ahead of their nearest rivals, Borussia Dortmund. Understandably, you’ll find Bayern the favourites in the latest Bundesliga odds from Paddy Power. But it’s also tight between the other sides within the top four – with RB Leipzig in third on 50 points, and Borussia Mönchengladbach, a further point behind them, in fourth. Bayer Leverkusen could also finish in the Champions League places, as they are two points behind in fifth – but all teams in the top six have played an equal number of games
The relegation scrap
As things stand, Werder Bremen and new boys Paderborn occupy the two relegation places, with Fortuna Düsseldorf sitting in 16th, which is the relegation play-off spot. Bremen have a game in hand over their rivals, but are four points away from that play-off and a further four points off safety. The two bottom clubs boast the worst form in all of the division – failing to win any of their last six matches. In fact, both clubs have won just one game since the turn of the year – and have won four times all season.
As things stand, Düsseldorf would face Hamburg, who currently sit third in the 2. Bundesliga, in that play-off decider. The club were relegated in 2017-18 and failed to bounce back at the first time of asking, having finished fourth. But the second tier of German football is equally as tight, and any of five teams could easily nab that coveted third place.
The battle for Europe
As we mentioned, the top of the table in the Bundesliga is tight and there are a number of teams tussling for a top six finish and a place in Europe next season. As things stand, Gladbach are fourth and currently hold the final Champions League spot. They’re on 49 points, and Bayer Leverkusen are just two behind them. With six points separating the top four, it’s all to play for and the table could easily change before the end of the season.
Further down, Leverkusen are in fifth – which would secure qualification to the Europa League. There’s a massive 10 points between them and Schalke who sit in sixth – consigning them to a place in the second round of qualifying for the same competition. But here’s where things get interesting. Mid-table is equally as tight as the top, with about six teams battling for that sixth place – and anyone from Wolfsburg in seventh (36 points) to Union Berlin in eleventh (30 points) are in with a shout. Prior to the league being suspended, of all the clubs vying for that place in Europe, Wolfsburg boast the best form with three wins in their last five. But with the season being so heavily disrupted, and teams effectively on a level playing field, it’ll all be down to who regains momentum quickest in these final matches. It’s sure to be a thrilling finish.
The Golden Boot
Like the top of the league, there’s no surprises when it comes to who leads the way for the Torjägerkanon. Robert Lewandowski is a four-time winner of the Golden Boot (with three of those accolades coming with current club, Bayern) and he’s scored 25 goals this campaign – more than he amassed last term. Lewandowski has been the most-feared frontman in German football for a decade now and his record speaks for itself.
However, hot on his heels is Leipzig’s Timo Werner, who is four goals behind with 21 scored. The striker is wanted by a number of clubs including Liverpool and while there are a few matches remaining, he could well leapfrog Lewandowski to win the Golden Boot. It’s fair to say it’s a two-horse race for the Torjägerkanon, with Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho sitting in third place on 14 goals.