It seems like forever ago I was sat watching Arjen Robben score a 90th minute goal to beat Dortmund in the Champions League final and ever since that date, I have been counting down the days to the new Bundesliga season.
A lot has happened over the summer, plenty of names coming and going from every club, the most noticeable being at Bayern Munich with the arrival of Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara, along with their new manager Pep Guardiola.
The other big clubs have been spending a pretty penny too, with Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all spending plenty. Infact them 4 clubs combined have spent over £130m of the £180m spent by Bundesliga clubs so far in this transfer window.
Every season I do a prediction of who I think will finish where, I have left my list with an explanation below, underneath my Matchday 1 preview.
MATCHDAY 1 – Saturday 2.30pm
Bayer Leverkusen v Freiburg
With this being the first week, I prefer to only do a preview of the one game I am most confident on. Any team can spring a surprise early in the season as we have seen over the years.
The transfer window has been very contrasting for these 2 teams; even though Leverkusen have arguably lost their best player in Andre Schurrle, the players brought in have been outstanding choices. Freiburg on the other hand have spent very little and let multiple key players go, which I think will massively affect them this season and they will not be the team they were last season.
Leverkusen will want to kick off this season with a bang, and I think this is a great chance to capitalise on what is a poor Freiburg side compared to last season. Heung-Min Son will bring a breath of fresh air to the Leverkusen squad, even though he is a very similar player to the man he replaced, Andre Schurrle. His pace and dribbling abilities will once again cause massive problems to any defence this season and with the attacking prowess of Keissling up top, Leverkusen will be a team to fear.
Like plenty of teams, Freiburg did struggle against the top 4 last season. They scored only 5 goals in the 8 games they played against top 4 opposition last season, and NONE against Leverkusen (2-0 loss and 0-0 draw). Something notable about this is that all 4 of those teams play the same formation of 4-2-3-1.
Even though this is one of the most used formations in German football, Freiburg still adopt the classic 4-4-2 formation. Whether this is a key factor to why Freiburg struggle against bigger teams is debatable, but with strong wingers like Son and attacking midfielders like new signings Robbie Kruse and Emre Can added in the mix, I think this is merely a chance for Leverkusen to show off what they really can do this season.
I am predicting a comfortable win for Leverkusen, 3-1.
BET: Leverkusen win and over 2.5 goals at 11/10 with Bet365 (found under Goals Market – Result/Total Goals)
Other notable matches to keep an eye out for would be Schalke v Hamburg and Eintrach Braunschweig v Werder Bremen. Both could be great for in play total goals bets.
1st Bayern Munich – With Pep’s influence and the added talent of Thiago and Gotze. I can see another dominant season for Bayern. Bayern are priced at 1/5 to win the league, a shocking price.
2nd Borussia Dortmund – Without Gotze, I think they could really struggle to find a player that fits that influential number 10 role this season, even with new signings like Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan. They will still be very dominant as usual.
3rd Bayer Leverkusen – They lost Schurrle which is a massive loss, but acquiring Son from Hamburg is an essential replacement. He was Hamburg’s best player last season and I see him slotting right into Leverkusen’s style of play. You can find Leverkusen at 8/11 to finish top 4, a great price if you’re willing to wait the full season.
4th Schalke – Unless they make some serious moves in the transfer window, I can see this being another season hanging behind the top 2 for Schalke, just not the team they once were.
I personally think that it’s going to be ‘straight back down’ scenario this season for the 2 teams promoted from the Bundesliga 2. Eintracht Braunschweig and Hertha Berlin will both struggle this season and I can see Braunschweig having a similar season to Greuther Furths last season. Augsburg for the playoff spot.