The 53rd Bundesliga season gets underway on Friday night as defending champions Bayern Munich face Hamburg at the Allianz Arena and the Bavarian powerhouse are looking to create even more history and break new records during the 2015/16 renewal.
No side has ever won four consecutive Bundesliga titles but that’s the aim for FC Hollywood in what could potentially be Pep Guardiola’s final season in charge at Bayern. The jury remains out on Pep’s achievements in Munich but having topped the table by 10 points last term, it’s no major surprise to see the German giants as short as 1.05 to clinch another domestic league trophy.
But looking away from the main Outright Winner, there is room to find a decent value bet when investigating the Without Bayern Munich market. Wolfsburg take favouritism at 2.75 following their memorable campaign last time out but Dieter Hecking’s men must be opposed with the imminent sale of inspirational playmaker Kevin de Bruyne coming to fruition.
The Belgian star was the Bundesliga’s Player of the Year as the Wolves finished second in the Bundesliga. De Bruyne laid on 20 goals for his teammates – a league record – and was head and shoulders Wolfsburg’s most important performer. Losing a player of his talent along with the goals provided is bound to have an adverse effect on Dieter Hecking’s troops.
Dortmund are rated 3.00 but they go to post without Jurgen Klopp in the dugout for the first time since 2008. Thomas Tuchel, one of Germany’s brightest young coaches, is now in charge and BVB have held onto all their big name stars; a huge improvement is expected. Whether the Black & Yellows can hit the ground running remains to be seen and they’re better left alone, for now.
Gladbach continue to impress under Lucien Favre’s reign but with the added weight of Champions League football on the Foals shoulders, coupled with the losses of Max Kruse and Christoph Kramer, means last year’s third-place finishers offer little interest at 5.00. That leaves us with Bayer Leverkusen, also backable at 5.00.
Roger Schmidt starts his second campaign at the BayArena and whilst Gonzalo Castro and Simon Rolfes have moved on, Die Werkself have strengthen impressively. Former Freiburg striker Admir Mehmedi, Chile star Charles Aranguiz and the returning Kramer bolster an already quality squad that’s kept key performers Karim Bellarabi, Heung-min Son, Hakan Calhanoglu together.
Defensively Leverkusen might be a little short on numbers but Schmidt’s a canny operator and Bayer’s devastating counter-attacking and pressing game should ensure the club remain competitive throughout the campaign. With managerial changes at Schalke and Dortmund plus the weakening of Wolfsburg and Gladbach, Schmidt’s charges really ought to muscle their way into second spot.
Elsewhere, the Top-4 and Top-6 markets look all but closed. The aforementioned Schalke surprised many with the appointment of former Paderborn head coach André Breitenreiter over the summer but the Royal Blues’ main aim is for consistency, hard work and passion – qualification back to the Champions League is sought but may not be achieved with plenty of growing pains expected.
And down at the bottom, newly-promoted Darmstadt (1.40) and Ingolstadt (2.25) hog the market. The former arrive in the top tier following back-to-back promotions and offered little hope of survival by pundits. With Paderborn, Braunschweig, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Greuther Furth all lasting just one season in the Bundesliga during the past four campaigns, it’s easy to understand why.
Instead, Hannover make most appeal with 188BET offering 5.50 on the 96ers suffering demotion. Michael Frontzeck’s being given the task to rejuvenate the club who very nearly suffered relegation last term following a disastrous run of 16 winless fixtures. Talisman Lars Stindl has left along with key players Leonardo Bittencourt and Joselu and a whole host of others during a summer of change.
The club has replaced the old guard with an inexperienced group that boast more potential than here-and-now quality and a slow start could easily work against Frontzeck’s troops. Shorn of any real quality, Hannover may struggle to improve on last year’s meek finish and a battle against the drop seems most likely heading into 2015/16.
Finally, Robert Lewandowski heads the Top Goalscorer market at an unbackable 2.15 but with Frankfurt’s veteran forward Alex Meier taking top honours last term, there’s enough reason to believe a punt elsewhere will give us a good run for our money.
Marco Reus was riddled with injuries last season but at 17.00 could certainly threaten in a Dortmund side ready to compete for the Champions League again. The mercurial playmaker has long been tracked by Europe’s top clubs and following a successful, fit and fresh pre-season campaign, there’s hope he’s over the niggling fitness concerns of the past year.
The German has scored 68 Bundesliga goals in 142 starts and should he improve on that return only slightly, the BVB star should comfortably hit 20 league goals this time around, putting him in serious contention for the Top Goalscorer cannon awarded by the Bundesliga.