PEP GUARDIOLA WILL NOT WIN THE LEAGUE
Starting off with a prediction that seems as bold as one can get, the notion that Bayern Munich’s new star manager will struggle in the Bundesliga during his inaugural season is one that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
A number of factors that ensured Pep of instant success at Barcelona—such as a runaway transfer budget and the god-like ability of Lionel Messi—that wouldn’t be on offer in Germany.
Yet the initial problem that Pep has to address now is that he’s simply changing too much, too soon and, as we’ve seen throughout the countless friendlies this summer—and the glamour tie against Dortmund last month—Bayern Munich don’t look nearly as solid as they did last term.
As such, the squad looks unlikely to hit the ground running with the same imperial dominance of the German top division that saw Bayern go on an eight-game winning streak from match day one last season, as well as only losing a single game throughout the entire league campaign.
Of course, this isn’t to say that they’ll be anything but the same old Bayern, challenging for every competition throughout the season. But with a revitalized Dortmund thirsty for blood and two very strong challengers in Schalke and Leverkusen, it just seems unlikely that we’ll see the same title-winning drive that won so much last season.
WERDER BREMEN WILL BE RELEGATED
From possible title contenders to probable relegation candidates, the next prediction comes in the form of one of the Bundesliga’s oldest and largest clubs finally facing the music in terms of their inevitable relegation from the German top division.
Werder Bremen, finalists in the 2009 UEFA Cup final, have been on a steady trajectory down the hierarchy of German football and were lucky to stay above the relegation spots last season after finishing 14th, only three points ahead of relegation-battling Hoffenheim.
What will trouble fans this year is the genuine lack of investment in the club’s fortunes, with new manager Robin Dutt coming in as a coach with relatively little Bundesliga success throughout his patchy coaching career. There have also been no genuine replacements for the departing Kevin de Bruyne and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Continuing the tale of despair that is yet to set over this season’s Bundesliga, the next bold prediction that seems likely to become truth is the inevitable demise of Thorsten Fink at Hamburg as the first fired manager in the German top flight.
Although Hamburg aren’t exactly struggling at the moment, the utterly underwhelming tone that has set over the northern club during Fink’s time is something that has always made him rather prickly with the fans.
That spark is likely to be lit in the first five weeks of the coming campaign when Hamburg take on the might of Schalke and Dortmund in between showdowns with Hoffenheim, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Braunschwg. These are three teams that the ex-Bayern player’s squad will simply have to beat, alongside two sides who could thoroughly embarrass them.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND WILL WIN THE BUNDESLIGA
Perhaps as bold a claim as any, the concept of Borussia Dortmund overcoming this current Bayern Munich side and claiming their third Bundesliga trophy in four years seems downright impossible.
Yet in Jurgen Klopp and a side that did so well to get to the Champions League final last season, Dortmund have the tools to rebuild a championship-winning side once again, as well as maintaining the element of familiarity, something Bayern gave up with their new coach this summer. That could well prove vital between the two sides this season.
In retaining Robert Lewadowski for just one more year, Klopp was quick to stop the rot that may have brought the yellow and black ship down. With the signings of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, the young coach has not only increased Dortmund’s strength of depth to a level akin to Bayern’s, but also attained a number of fantastic players that could take the club back to the top level.
Yes, Bayern have strengthened too in none other than Mario Gotze, arguably the best player at Dortmund last season, along with the equally-talented Thiago Alcantara. Yet such brutish acts of strength are something Bayern have always played along to. Klopp was able to deal with this factor in 2011 and could well do so again this season, too.
Bayern have always had the best players, but that doesn’t always mean they have the best shot at the title.