Restart preview: The Bundesliga is back


Many column inches will be dedicated to the safety and logistics of the Bundesliga restarting next weekend, but where do German clubs stand on the pitch ahead of elite football’s much anticipated return on the 16th of May?

As top teams across Germany head into their training camps this week, all eyes are on Bayern Munich at the top of the table as usual.

The Bavarian giants had regained form before the lockdown, with seven wins and one draw since the winter break, to go four points clear in first place on 55.

Robert Lewandowski is currently on 25 goals in 23 appearances, above even his typical ratio, whilst Thomas Müller has a remarkable 16 assists so far this season.

But with nine games still to play and Bayern showing weaknesses in the first half of the season before Hansi Flick took over, there may still be life in the title race.

Munich still have to travel to their closest challengers, Dortmund (51 points), who had won seven of eight games between Christmas and the coronavirus striking.

Fourth place Mönchengladbach – only six points behind themselves (49) – are still to travel to the Allianz Arena too.

RB Leipzig, five points off the top (50) in third, have a much easier run in than the other title contenders – their last ‘home’ game against Dortmund could potentially decide the championship.

The form of star striker Timo Werner, touted for a potential big money move to either Munich or Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool when the transfer window eventually opens after 21 goals so far this season, will likely decide Leipzig’s destiny.

As for BVB, they’ll be pinning their title hopes on England winger Jadon Sancho, who had an outstanding 14 goals and 15 assists in 23 appearances before the enforced break, and Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian centre forward, a stunning January addition, has racked up nine goals in just 558 minutes of action in a yellow and black shirt.

His side Dortmund return to action by hosting Schalke in the big Derby – though the game will obviously lack its usual intensity, given the absence of the famous ‘Yellow Wall’.

Bayer Leverkusen in fifth, 6-1-1 in their last eight outings, are only two points off a Champions League place (47), ensuring there will be plenty of excitement and permutations at the top end of the table as the Bundesliga season continues through June.

European places

Schalke manager David Wagner deep in thought (credit: iNews)

After that, there’s a yawning chasm in both the table and quality on the pitch. It’s a full ten point gap to former Huddersfield boss David Wagner’s sixth place Schalke (37), who were seven without a win before the shutdown – scoring just twice in those games.

It’s likely to be a four-way fight for what could be the final Europa League place, though uncertainty remains around the DFB Pokal (FA Cup) which could open up seventh spot to European football too.

Wolfsburg and Freiburg (both 36) are set to stay on Schalke’s heels right to the last matchdays, though the latter have a difficult run of games, with Hoffenheim (35) also close enough to challenge.

Back in tenth on 32 points, Köln will probably still harbour ambitions of making a run at the European places if they can improve on a wildly inconsistent campaign, which has seen them win ten and lose 13 of their 25 games so far.

Relegation battle

Rouwen Hennings of Düsseldorf #28 (credit:

The 2.Bundesliga is coming back too, so promotion and relegation in Germany this season is still very much on.

Propping up the table, 18th place Paderborn look dead and buried on 16 points from 25 games.

They managed just four points in eight games this side of Christmas and sit six behind the relegation playoff – ten from safety – with nine matches to complete.

Werder Bremen in 17th (18 points) will be looking to use their game in hand to close the gap on Düsseldorf (22), who currently occupy the spot that gives third bottom of the Bundesliga a second chance at survival by playing third place in the second tier over two legs.

The big problem for Düsseldorf could be that top scorer Rouwen Hennings, who managed 11 goals in 16 games before Christmas, hasn’t scored in eight since.

Bremen, though, only managed one point from their previous six outings and are relying on a relatively inexperienced team.

Another bad run of form after the restart could still drag Mainz (15th – 26), Augsburg (14th – 27) or even Hertha Berlin (13th – 28) into trouble at the wrong end of the table.

Eintracht Frankfurt won’t be fearing a fight against the drop though (12th – 28), as they still have a game in hand themselves and a squad which, on paper, shouldn’t be in the bottom half.

That just leaves Union Berlin going nowhere fast in mid-table obscurity – it would take something extraordinary for them to move much from 11th between now and the eventual end to the season.


About Author

Comments are closed.