We may have just witnessed the end of an entertaining World Cup in Russia, but in just a few short weeks Europe’s major leagues will be kicking off once again. And after a run of dominance which still shows no sign of abating, Bayern Munich remain very much the team to beat.
Can anyone catch up with Bayern?
There is really only one side who has been dominant in Germany’s top division in recent seasons. Bayern Munich have won the league crown six years in a row, all by a difference of over 10 points, and they come into the new campaign as the red hot favorites to make it seven league triumphs in a row.
To put their recent performances into perspective, it is necessary to take a quick look at last season. Bayern won the league by a barely believable 21 points, ahead of Schalke 04 who came a distant second.
Bayern won 27 of their 34 games, scored 92 goals at a rate comfortably over 2.5 goals per game and conceded just 28, less than a goal a game. It will therefore come as little shock that the Munich based outfit are at just -800 at Bovada to win the league title in May, at a price far shorter than any of their main rivals for the domestic crown.
Who are the main contenders for the title?
If anyone is to catch Bayern Munich, then it looks like old competitors Borussia Dortmund are best equipped to do so. The 2013 Champions League finalists were the last club to win the Bundesliga who were not Bayern, but have been unable to get close to them since.
Borussia are at +700 to win the league crown, and we may have a better idea of how well prepared they will be following some of their pre-season friendly games. The Dortmund club are set to take on Manchester City, Liverpool and Benfica as they prepare for their domestic campaign.
Other outside Bundesliga contenders
Last season’s runners up Schalke 04 may consider themselves having an outside chance of snatching the league crown. They are, however, out at +3300 to do just that, following a 3-3 draw in their pre-season friendly with lowly Premier League outfit Southampton suggesting there may be too many gaping holes in their defensive back line.
Hoffenheim, meanwhile, came third last season yet will come up against Bayern Munich in their very first league game of the new season. The side are at a huge +8000 to win the league.
It looks like Hoffenheim could struggle this season after losing key player Serge Gnabry to Bayern. But under rookie boss Julian Nagelsmann, the club actually has a positive record against Bayern – in four games they have won two, drawn one and lost just one.
Even when they lost 5-2 in January, they took a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes. Bayern, however, are undefeated against Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena and will surely be looking to lay down a marker of intent for the season to come.
Pick of the round one games
In addition to Bayern Munich against Hoffenheim, the other key fixture in the opening round of Bundesliga fixtures should be Borussia Dortmund against Red Bull Leipzig. Red Bull only managed to finish sixth last season after tailing off towards the end of the campaign and have since lost key midfield present Neby Keita to English side Liverpool.
Nevertheless, they are tied with Schalke 04 and ahead of Bayer Leverkusen in the odds for the Bundesliga league title at +3300. It is Borussia who come into this opening game as betting favourites to pick up three points though – Borussia opened at -133 for the win on the game line, with Leipzig out at +300, and the draw at +290.