For those football fans who have struggled to fill up their weekends during the summer, there is some good news approaching – the football season will soon be getting underway; the following article is a preview of the upcoming Bundesliga season.
Bayern Munich will go into the season as champions yet again, having won the Bundesliga for a seventh consecutive time, whilst they also won the DFB-Pokal (the German Cup), beating RB Leipzig in the final.
Despite this, the squad has undergone a massive overhaul, as French full-backs Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hérnandez have arrived from VfB Stuttgart and Atlético Madrid respectively, whilst German youngster Jann-Fiete Arp has also joined from Hamburg, taking their spending to a reported €117.5m (£105.6m).
There have also been several high-profile departures, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both leaving the club upon expiry of their contracts, and James Rodriguez leaving after his loan deal from Real Madrid expired; defender Mats Hummels returned to Borussia Dortmund for a reported €38m (£34.1m) fee.
Borussia Dortmund last season pushed Bayern Munich all the way in the Bundesliga, missing out by just two points.
In a bid to go one better and win their first Bundesliga title since 2012, they have re-signed defender Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich, young winger Julian Brandt from Bayer Leverkusen, Eden Hazard’s brother Thorgan from Borussia Monchengladbach, and Nico Schulz from Hoffenheim – adding both depth and quality to their squad.
However, they have lost defender Abdou Diallo to French side Paris Saint-Germain, and Alexander Isak who joined Real Sociedad whilst Christian Pulisic has completed his move to Chelsea.
Champions League contenders
RB Leipzig finished last season in third place in the Bundesliga, earning qualification to the Champions League in the process. In June 2018, they had agreed that 32-year-old manager Julian Nagelsmann would be joining the club from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who have replaced Nagelsmann with Dutch manager Alfred Schreuder (previously manager of Eredivisie side FC Twente).
In a bid to ensure they qualify once again for the Champions League, RB Leipzig have strengthened the side by signing midfielder Christopher Nkunku from Paris Saint-Germain and Hannes Wolf from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.
Borussia Monchengladbach last season once again failed to make the Champions League after being pipped on the final day by Bayer Leverkusen to fourth place.
Borussia Monchengladbach will head into the new season under new management, as manager Dieter Hecking’s contract was not renewed; he will be succeeded by Marco Rose, previously in charge of Red Bull Salzburg whom he guided to the Champions League this season after winning the Austrian Bundesliga.
Having made it to the Champions League for this season, Bayer Leverkusen will aim to finish in the top 4 once again under the guidance of Dutchman Peter Bosz. They have lost, however, the incredibly talented Julian Brandt to Borussia Dortmund, and, in an aim to replace the German, have signed Moussa Diaby from Paris Saint-Germain whilst also adding Kerem Demirbay from TSG Hoffenheim and Daley Sinkgraven from Ajax.
Having come close last season, VfL Wolfsburg will be aiming to go one better this season and seal Champions League qualification. They will have to do it, however, without Dutch manager Bruno Labbadia who left the club on expiry of his contract. He has been replaced by Austrian Oliver Glasner who previously managed Austrian side LASK Linz, last season’s runners-up in the Austrian Bundesliga.
FC Köln sealed promotion back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking after they won the 2.Bundesliga title with two games to spare.
However, this did not help keep manager Markus Anfang in the job – and he has since been replaced by Achim Beierlozer. Beierlozer was previously in charge of RB Leipzig for a brief period of time, and in 2017 was appointed manager of Jahn Regensburg. During his two seasons there he guided the club to a fifth and eighth place finish to help consolidate themselves in the 2.Bundesliga.
SC Paderborn 07 will be returning to the Bundesliga for the first time since the 2014-15 season, having even been relegated to the 3.Liga (the third tier of German football).
In one season, they finished in 18th place in 3.Liga, and would have been relegated to the non-professional Regionaliga if 1860 Munich had obtained the necessary license to play in 3.Liga.
They returned to the 2.Bundesliga in the 2017-18 season, and even more impressively sealed automatic promotion back to the Bundesliga on the final day of last season. They will go into the new season under the management of Steffen Baumgart who was appointed in 2017 and has been instrumental in Paderborn’s rise up the divisions.
Union Berlin will be taking part in the Bundesliga for the first time in their history after they won a promotion-relegation play-off against VfB Stuttgart on away goals rule after drawing 2-2 on aggregate over two legs.
They will be under the guidance of Swiss manager Urs Fischer, who has been in charge of the club since 2018, and has previously managed Swiss sides Zurich and FC Basel.
Kick-off – when does Bundesliga start?
The season will kick off on Friday August 16 when reigning champions Bayern Munich play hosts to Hertha Berlin.
The following day, expected title challengers and last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund will play at home to Augsburg. Newly-promoted pair 1. FC Köln and SC Paderborn 07 will start their seasons away to Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, and on the following day, Union Berlin will make their Bundesliga debut at home to RB Leipzig, who finished third in the Bundesliga last season and in the process earned Champions League qualification.