Mon, 26 Oct 2020

Bundesliga challengers spoil Bayern's hunger

Xinhua
17 Sep 2020, 22:18 GMT+10

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- One question has been on the minds of Germany's clubs for decades. In advance of the 58th Bundesliga season, things don't seem to have changed.

With the domestic 2020/2021 campaign set to start on this Friday evening, none of the 17 challengers seems to have found a convincing answer yet.

The question of how to stop the 2013 and 2020 treble winning Bavarians remains unanswered. Most competitors expect the coach Hansi Flick's team to repeat.

While the Munich side is making every effort to mention as many serious rivals as possible, nearly all of the first tier's coaches name Bayern as the big favorite.

To be the first to win the national double a third consecuitive time in the league's history might be a driving thought for the titleholder.

TITLE RIVALS

Looking at the Bavarian's rivals, one ends up with Borussia Dortmund, Moenchengladbach, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen. All hope the limited return of fans can deliver additional motivation. Frankfurt, Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg might complete the race for international spots.

Only Dortmund can spoil Bayern's plans, assumes Lothar Matthaeus. But the German record international quickly added a big if: "If Bayern makes major mistakes."

Only counting on talent and youthful nonchalance doesn't take you to the top the 59-year-old predicted.

Many fans meanwhile hope Matthaeus is wrong and the new season is going to end after a fierce battle. Looking at the Blacks and Yellows unlimited pool of exceptional talents, coach Lucien Favre seems to be able to play a fluid and attacking football.

The decisive point will be if the reluctant Swiss can set his bunch of youngsters on fire and at the same time close doors at the back.

Fans can't wait for Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, Jadon Sancho, Real loanee Reinier, Giovanni Reyna and wonderboy Youssoufa Moukoko to get the engine running at full speed.

While Leipzig has lost significant quality in person of Timo Werner (Chelsea) and Patrick Schick (Leverkusen), all hopes remain on Moenchengladbach's shoulders.

"To have kept the team together might turn into our big advantage," Borussia's managing director Max Eberl said.

RELEGATION

Will Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen experience a change around after both fallen giants only narrowly survived a terrible last season?

Both coaches remain under fire. Former Huddersfield hero David Wagner and Florian Kohfeldt top the list of endangered managers.

Freiburg seems in trouble as the brave-hearts have not only lost their goalie Alexander Schwolow (Hertha), defender Robin Koch (Leeds) and striker Luca Waldschmidt (Benfica).

NEWCOMERS

It's against all odds for second division surprise Arminia Bielefeld. Fans can expect passionate football with the clubs 8th first tier season but doubts remain if the quality is taking the new arrival over the finish line.

The season for the struggling 2007 German champions VfB Stuttgart might end up in a secure midfield place if the league's youngest side (23.8 years on average) side can catch up with the Bundesliga's quality level.

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