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Bundesliga Preview August 12, 2010

Posted by dasnervig in Uncategorized.
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One week and counting ’til the start of what looks be another exciting season in the Bundesliga. Defending champs, Bayern Munich, who also reached the Champions League final and lifted the DFB Pokal, expect to continue their domestic domination and achieve Euro pean glory. Just below them, Dortmund, Leverkusen, Hamburg, Schalke, Stuttgart, Werder Bremen, and Wolfsburg will all look to compete for European spots, the Cup, and the league title. At the other end of the table, St. Pauli and Kaiserslautern have been promoted to the Bun­desliga and will have to fight Nurnberg, Köln, Hannover, and Mainz to avoid relegation. Beyond results, there will plenty of story-lines to follow. Will Louis van Gaal stay at Bayern Munich beyond the upcoming season? Can Hamburg’s strong squad perform depsite Arn Veh’s presence? Will Steve McClaren have immediate success at Wolfsburg? Will Robben stay healthy the whole season?…..oops, nevermind.

Let’s get to the predictions:

1. Bayern Munich (Champions League)

2. Hamburg (Champions League)

3. Schalke (Champions League)

4. Leverkusen (Europa League)

5. Wolfsburg (Europa League)

6. Werder Bremen (Europa League)

7. Borussia Dortmund

8. Stuttgart

9. Eintracht Frankfurt

10. Hoffenheim

11. Köln

12. Borussia Mönchengladbach

13. Mainz

14. Kaiserslautern

15. St. Pauli

16. Hannover (Relegation Playoff)

17. Nurnberg (Relegation)

18. Freiburg (Relegation)

Nurnberg barely avoided relegation last year and both them and Freiburg did very little to improve their squad. So, I’ve slotted them to relegation this season. Hannover barely avoided the relegation playoff last season, didn’t add any real talent, and lost some of their biggest impact players in Bruggink, Balitsch, and Arouna Koné, so I have them in the playoff. St. Pauli and Kaiserslautern made some great moves in the summer to assure themselves another year in the first division. St. Pauli brought in the grizzled veteran, Gerald Asamoah, and expect big things from the budding young German striker, Naki. FCK lost Sidney Sam, who was on transfer from Hamburg, but brought in Jan Šimůnek to solidify the back line, Jan Morávek on loan from Schalke in midfield, and added some speed on the wings by bringing in Erwin Hoffer from Napoli.

Steve McClaren is coming off of a championship season with Twente in the Eredivisie. With the signings of Freidrich, Kjaer, and Mandžukić, I see them improving from last year’s underachieving year, but I don’t see them immediately returning to the top three with the amount of talent they will be up against. Werder Bremen had a great season last year but I don’t see them repeating that success with Mesut Özil’s apparently on his way to Barcelona, Torsten Frings getting older, and newcomer, Marko Arnautović, causing problems with the coaching staff. Leverkusen are a very talented side and added some much needed veteran leadership with Michael Ballack, but losing Toni Kroos’s creativity and not providing a sufficient replacement – Sidney Sam isn’t quite ready to take over a game like Kroos and Özil can – will just keep them out of Champions League qualifiers this year.

I expect to see Schalke, once again, challenging for the title and so I believe they’ll, once again, be right up there with the best of them at the third spot in the league. Signing Raul and Uchida were good pick-ups with Kuranyi and Rafinha leaving. Just ahead of Schalke, I expect Hamburg to have a great season. Having the most productive off-season in the Bundesliga, signing Diekmeier, Westermann, Kačar, and Drobný, Hamburg has a vast array of talent, especially from young playmakers like Eljero Elia and veteran playmakers like Ze Roberto. Hamburg is too talented, and too deep, to allow Armin Veh’s stupidity to keep them out of the top 3 and I expect Hamburg to perform like Stuttgart did for Veh in 2007. The difference in Stuttgart of ’07 and Hamburg ’11 is the talent of Bayern Munich, denying Hamburg of a possible title.

Lastly, I believe Bayern Munich will, once again, raise that over-sized, shiny, silver and gold plate. Louis van Gaal’s side are deep enough and talented enough to compete with the best in Europe and run up and down on the rest of the Bundesliga. Adding Toni Kroos adds some serious depth in their midfield and adds some of creativity to the midfield with the majority of their creativity coming from their wings.

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