Posts Tagged ‘Bundesliga’

2013/14 BUNDESLIGA PREVIEW

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Hi Guys.

Welcome back!

Football season is here again!!!

Straight away, we kick off with a preview of the Bundesliga, the home of the reigning European Champions.

After a heartbreaking 2012/13 season, Bayern Munich wrestled the league title from Dortmund in grand style breaking almost all records in Germany’s top division. The league champions sent out a clear message to rivals locally and abroad by capping it up with the German cup and UEFA Champions League against bitter rival Borussia Dortmund.

This preview will discuss the title challengers, European place (UCL/EL) challengers and the relegation dog fight.

Title challengers/Possible winner.

First off, the title-winner will most definitely be Bayern Munich. The triple winner will be too strong for the rest of the league. They should win around 95% of their matches and then it comes down to the two ties they play with Borussia Dortmund. Even if Dortmund would come out on top due to their counter-attacking style which caused Guardiola’s system trouble in the past (see Barca vs. Real Madrid/ German Super Cup). The champions are still adjusting to Pep Guardiola’s short passing approach but I feel they will gel as the season goes on. Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara’s arrival to an already packed midfield will give the former Barcelona coach a variety of option.

Dortmund lost Götze and have adequately replaced him with Armenian goal scoring midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan who arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined the Yellow and Black army from Saint Etienne and should ease the goal scoring burden on Polish striker Robert Lewandowski who may be moving to the Allianz Arena next summer. Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan availability in the middle will be crucial for Dortmund.

I still think Dortmund will lose more points than Bayern against the rest of the league.

European places contenders

Bayern and Dortmund will share the top two spots. Schalke 04 and Leverkusen do have the best chances to finish 3rd and 4thand to qualify again for Champions league football which will help in attracting better players and more revenue from the UEFA’s big pot.

Schalke did hold on to top starlet Julian Draxler but same cannot be said of Bayer 04 who lost Andre Schurrle to Europa league winners – Chelsea. Stefan Kießling should guarantee goals at Bayer Arena.

To predict who will get the other Europa league starters is a tough one. Normally I see Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Gladbach competing for those. The middle of the pack is quite unpredictable. There are one or two teams which you wouldn’t think that they could challenge the established sides, last season, Freiburg, Mainz and Frankfurt were the surprise package. With European distraction this season, last season achievement may be a tall order for Freiburg. Same goes for Mainz who has lost good players with Adam Szalai and Jan Kirchhoff.

Expectedly, Werder Bremen and HSV Hamburg would challenge the European spots but last season and probably this season they would struggled a lot. Hamburg does have financial problems (and a bad coach) and for Bremen it doesn’t look much better. I don’t expect much from both of them.

Relegation battlers

This group will probably provide us with the most interesting scenes this term. I expect Braunschweig and Hertha to struggle but as with the norm lately, promoted teams tend to have some extra motivational bonus and survive the first year. Augsburg were almost relegated last season and I think they will battle to avoid relegation from early on. Then there will be the likes of Nürnberg, Mainz and maybe Freiburg who could all end up in the relegation battle. The interesting thing from the past season was that always one or two quite established clubs were brought into the relegation fight. Last season candidates were Hoffenheim and Bremen, the season before was Hamburg and year before was Stuttgart and Schalke.

From Hoffenheim and Hannover I do not expect them to get involved into relegation worries as well as to fight for Europa League. A mediocre season for both.

 

Time up! Louis

Thomas Kraft’s failed clearance which led to Nurnberg’s equalizer on Saturday April 9,2011 prematurely ended Dutch tactician, Louis Van Gaal’s reign in Munich. Bayern’s board and Van Gaal  had agreed in March to part ways mutually at the end of the current season but Bavarian club bosses agreed it was ‘so long Louis’ after an urgent meeting following the frustrating draw on saturday.

The good ol' days

Louis Van Gaal was hired as manager of Bayern Munich in the summer of 2009. He referred to his job as a “dream job” and was tasked with the responsibility of restoring Bayern’s pride. The former Ajax coach got off to a poor start at Bayern, by November the club was on the brink of a first round UEFA Champions League exit following two losses to Bordeaux. A turn round in fortunes started once the team started playing according to the way Van Gaal imagined. An impressive 4-1 victory over Juventus in Turin allowed them progress in the UEFA Champions League. Like it was the spark needed, Bayern embarked on a strong run in the Bundesliga, German Cup and in Europe. Die Roten won its 22nd Bundesliga title in May 2010 and followed it up with a victory in the German Cup. Van Gaal’s Bayern lost to Inter Milan in the 2010 UEFA Champions League final.

Dejected man

Eleven months after, a lot has changed at Bayern and for Louis, a man who was a victory away from a treble success last season.  Van Gaal’s strict approach and belief in his philosophy and ideas only without consideration of other opinion is perceived to be one of the major factor for his early exit. During his reign in Munich, it wasn’t all rosy with his all players. A feud with Luca Toni led to the Italian’s departure from the club in January 2010. He also had similar problems with Martin Demichelis at the start of this season with the Argentine moving on in January 2011.

Van Gaal tried to persuade Bayern’s board to sell Mario Gomez and Anatoliy Tymoschuk because he felt there were not up to the starndards required but the board disagreed. The former has proved the manager wrong with his goals this term while the latter showed his versatility when the team was in crisis.

His decision in January to drop veteran goalkeeper Jorg Butt for home grown Thomas Kraft did not go well with the board with club president Uli Hoeness’ consistent disapproval of the inexperienced shot stopper as the number 1. Last weekend’s error by Kraft helped in sealing Van Gaal’s fate.

For a team that competed on all fronts last season and almost conquered it all now facing a prospect of not qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. With Munich as the venue of the 2012 final and star winger Arjen Robben describing playing in the Europa League as a “horror scenario”.
Bayern came down hard on their lame coach whose second season  has been nothing but a disaster. The team’s defense has been a suspect all season long.

Club President Uli Hoeness accused the Dutch coach of killing the fun at the Bavarian club as he was shown the exit door.