When the Bundesliga restarted in May, many thought we would witness a thrilling title race to settle the 2019/20 season. With just a few points separating Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Leipzig, we hoped for an exciting finish over nine games. Instead, Bayern decided to blow everyone else out of the water, winning every single match at a canter and winning the title by 13 points. With their Champions League campaign also winning plaudits, most would agree that Bayern are among the best teams in the world right now. Moreover, there is a growing consensus that the Bavarians also have the best player on the planet – Robert Lewandowski. Yes, the Pole has arguably eclipsed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2020.
The question at the start of the season is whether anyone can stop Bayern? According to the 2021 outright odds for the German Bundesliga season at MansionBet, Bayern are 1/6 to win a ninth successive title. Their status as favourites is uncontested, but it’s not as if the league is made up of also-rans. With some astute signings, more progression of fabulous youth talent, and a dash of luck, several teams can, at the very least, give Bayern a scare. The new season gets underway on 18th September, and these four teams are best-placed to challenge the perennial champions:
No surprises here, of course. Two questions weigh on Dortmund this season: Can they keep all the talented players at the club? And, can they add a consistent winning mentality to the undoubted talent in the squad? If the answer is “yes” to both, then Dortmund might get closer this season. The bookies rate them at 6/1, so a title charge has certainly not been ruled out. But it feels like time that Dortmund becomes more than just a developer of young players and a de facto feeder club for Europe’s elite.
Success in the Champions League has ensured that Leipzig’s stock, and that of their manager Julian Nagelsmann, has risen dramatically. You would gather that the main priority for Leipzig will be to establish themselves as a Champions League club and to reinvest the extra cashflow that brings. Like Dortmund, losing players like Timo Werner should not become a habit if they wish to end Bayern’s monopoly on league titles. RB Leipzig are a high-scoring team, and will relish scoring huge number of goals against the newly promoted Bundesliga teams for the 2020/21 season.
So much promise last season from Peter Bosz’s young team, but it petered out towards the end. Kai Havertz will likely be one of the biggest transfer stories of the late summer, but Leverkusen have other young talents like Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey who could grow at the club. Bayer Leverkusen boasts of some of the best defenders in the Bundesliga. A top-four finish and a Champions League spot will be the main goal. It’s a recurring theme here, with Leverkusen also having a young squad that is at danger of getting its best parts plucked by Europe’s elite. Bosz is a good manager, and it will be interesting to see what he can do if the core of the team stays together.
Monchengladbach have arguably been the most interesting – and frustrating – team to watch in Germany over the last couple of years. They have topped the table for extended periods, but have also been capable of stringing together disastrous runs of results. Entry to the Champions League in 2020/21 might stretch the resources of the squad, but Monchengladbach have become a formidable force in the Bundesliga and might continue to surprise those who have written them off.