German Bundesliga season preview - Bayern Munich and Gladbach
Bayern Munich season preview
Bayern Munich has dominated the Bundesliga for several seasons. In 2012/13 they won the league by 25 points. Next season they won by 19, and last season we saw they win by 10 points ahead of second place Wolfsburg. The trend seems to be that their winning margin gets lower and that the fight for the league title is getting more competitive. But we are not so sure, the stats can be misleading as Bayern won the league long before the season was over and this of course affects the motivation for the remaining matches. Bayern Munich is the best team by far, end of discussion!
The club’s finances are very good, and the club is run on a sound financial basis – as the case is with several of the other German clubs. Even with big and expensive signings and player salaries, the club business is profitable. Not a bad feat considering that ticket prices are relatively cheap, for instance compared to England.
The two biggest signings in this last transfer window was Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa. Costa has looked impressive in the training matches, but Vidal has not played much. What we do know is that both players should contribute in offense, and are a good fit for the way Guardiola likes to play the game. Schweinsteiger and Reina have left the club, but the squad has enough quality to absorb the two exits. We have some doubts about Ribery as he seems to be injured quite a bit, so it is a good thing for Guardiola that Costa looks good.
The opponents will have a hard time playing against Bayern Munich. The club scored almost 11% of all the goals scored last season, and now they have improved the squad with new offensive players. And the biggest challenge still remains the same - you have to get the ball from the Bayern players.
We expect Bayern Munich to take the title this season also, and if the manage that they will be historic. No other German club has ever won the Bundesliga four seasons in a row! We do of course hope that the league will remain competitive and the likes of Wolfsburg will put pressure on Bayern until the final round of the season, but we are doubtful this will happen. The biggest hurdle for the club is themselves. There has been a rumour that players like Lewandowski, Gotze and Muller are not happy, but so far we have not seen any signs of this where it counts – on the field.
Borussia Monchengladbach season preview
Gladbach is a club it has been really fun to watch over the last seasons. With plenty of young and talented players, they have been a club to keep an eye on, although they have been quite unstable. In 2013/14 they won 16 of 34 matches and ended on 55 points. Last season they took a step up, winning 19 of 34 matches and ending on 66 points. Last season also proved that they are a more stable club now, so it will be interesting to see if they for this season can continue their progress. They still have some work to do with the results in their away matches, for instance.
The club’s finances are ok, and they are not in need of selling their players as was the case after their glory days in the 1980s. They have a stadium capacity for approx. 54000 and average attendance is 50000, so they have a healthy source of income. Plus, this year they are playing in the Champions League.
Two very skilled players have left the club during the latest transfer window. The defensive midfielder Kramer will be hard to replace, and at the moment we cannot see any other players in the squad with his qualities. Max Kruse will also be missed, but offensive wise they have other choices. Lars Stindl was signed from Hannover 96, and is a player that might replace Kruse. Thorgan Hazard will remain with the club as Chelsea agreed to release him. His speed will be key, but it remains to see how many goals this this young player will score this season.
Gladbach should be able to fight for a top four spot. But, unless they are able to replace Kramer, we doubt they will match the 66 points won last season. Their opponents look stronger this year, and it will be interesting to see how the squad handles both Bundesliga and Champions League play. We believe the club will end up in sixth place this season.