We're looking at the main competitors of the "record-holder" in the national championship.
The new Bundesliga season suggests or raises hope that the championship will be intriguing this time. It was also fascinating in the last campaign, primarily thanks to Bayern Munich. Still, this time, the level of the German championship is rising due to the quality of the teams. One of the primary sensations at the start of the season has been Stuttgart. Even though the "Swabians" were at risk of relegation from the elite division for two consecutive years, they currently occupy the 2nd place in the Bundesliga table, and their forward, Serou Guirassy, leads the goalscorers' race, surpassing Harry Kane by 5 goals. It's unlikely that Stuttgart will maintain such a high level throughout the season. Still, other clubs could theoretically do so and challenge Bayern.
Bayer, under the leadership of Javi Alonso, looks excellent. No one would have considered the "pharmacists" title contenders if the specialist had taken over the team last summer. As with Stuttgart now, Bayer's success would have been attributed to chance or luck. However, the Spaniard has been successfully working with Bayer for a year. Last season, he lifted the team from the bottom of the league table, led them to the semi-finals of the Europa League, and qualified them for the same tournament this season. These were excellent results for a young coach.
In the current campaign, Bayer looks decisive regarding points and performance. The "pharmacists" rightfully top the Bundesliga table, leading Bayern and Borussia Dortmund by 2 points. Alonso's team has not lost a single match in the national championship, with a record of 23 goals scored and 6 goals conceded. Bayer has already passed one of the season's significant tests by not losing at the Allianz Arena. So why not aim for something greater now?
Former Bayern player Mario Gomes, now working at RB Leipzig, previously stated that the goal for "The Bulls" was to stay close to Bayern. This task is currently being accomplished. Leipzig is 3 points behind the Munich club, which is not much. However, the gap to the leading Bayer is already 5 points. Leipzig had a solid start to the season, beating the "record-holders" in the match for the German Super Cup. Still, they lost to Bayer in the first round of the Bundesliga. After that, there was a series of three consecutive victories and two draws.
Leipzig has a relatively young team, just like Bayer. "The Bulls" can be considered contenders for the title, but they need consistency. They are showing promising results for a team that undergoes almost annual rebuilding. Their coach has substantial experience in the Bundesliga. However, the main difference between Leipzig and Bayer is that Bayer has a better organization. In contrast, Leipzig has a more robust style of play. At least for now, the rebuilt Bayer looks more confident than the rebuilt Leipzig.
In every season, Borussia Dortmund is automatically considered the main rival of Bayern in the race for the championship title. This was the case in the previous season, which "Black and Yellow" fans won't forget for long. The trophy was practically in the hands of Dortmund, but they lost it in the final minutes of the last match of the season. The disappointment in Dortmund was immense, and it seemed that the management would take radical measures after such a finish. At the very least, they would appoint a more experienced coach who could change the team's character.
That didn't happen. Borussia Dortmund signed a few players, but it can't be said that the club has undergone significant changes. "The Hornets" decided to act as they always have – to remain among the best teams in Germany without a substantial overhaul. Dortmund started the season in a typical manner – not great, not terrible, just average. They won a few matches, then dropped points twice, and won four times. Dortmund has the same number of points as Bayern. "The Hornets" remain title contenders, but there's a sense that they are losing their status as the main pursuer of the Munich club.
Will Bayern Defend the Title?
The current season promises to be challenging for Bayern. It's not just because the Munich team is in 3rd place in the league table. They have the strongest squad in Germany, especially after the addition of Harry Kane. However, even with such a lineup, Bayern is not performing consistently under Thomas Tuchel's leadership. Surprisingly, Bayern could be more stable even with this roster. They signed four quality players, and with Leroy Sane in his prime, Tuchel still needs to build. He says they need a defensive midfielder. Overall, the coach wants to improve the team's defensive potential.
There are indeed problems with the defense. Bayern conceded 3 goals each against Manchester United and Leipzig and 2 goals each against Bayer and Leipzig. In matches against serious opponents, Bayern consistently faces difficulties. This could affect the outcome of the title race, but only if direct competitors make a strong effort. There are doubts that Bayer, Leipzig, and especially Borussia will be consistent throughout the season. But if they can maintain this pace while competing in 2-3 tournaments, the current Bundesliga season could become one of the most interesting in recent years.
Published by Patrick Jane