Challengers want to overthrow staggering Bavarians

2023-08-17 03:12:52

None of the top five leagues in Europe has recently been so dominated by one team as the German Bundesliga by Bayern Munich. On Friday (8.30 p.m./live Puls 24, SAT.1) the record champions will start their attack on the twelfth title in a row with the newly signed ÖFB national player Konrad Laimer at Werder Bremen. The biggest challengers are probably Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig again, Bayer Leverkusen is traded as a secret favorite.

Bayern secured the title eleven times in a row, but most recently, after a messed-up season with many construction sites on and off the field, they needed the kind help of Borussia Dortmund and Mainz. It is questionable whether the Munich team will offer the competition again, especially since Harry Kane, who was sorely missed on the Isar in the previous season, was recently signed for 100 million euros. “Our goals are very clear. We’re playing for the title, we want to be champions. We want to win the cup. And we want to go far in the Champions League,” said coach Thomas Tuchel.

However, the Munich team seemed vulnerable at least at the start of the season, as the clear 3-0 defeat in the Supercup against RB Leipzig showed. In recent years, the Saxons have blossomed into the third force behind Bayern and BVB. However, there was a major upheaval in Marco Rose’s team this summer. With Laimer, Josko Gvardiol, Christopher Nkunku and ex-Salzburger Dominik Szoboszlai, Leipzig lost a complete axis.

Once again, those responsible for Max Eberl have succeeded in signing a highly talented replacement and closing the gap. With Christoph Baumgartner and Nicolas Seiwald, two other Austrian national players switched to the club of Xaver Schlager, who has been playing for the Saxons for a year. In the Supercup, where Baumgartner was still injured, the newly formed squad already harmonized splendidly and showed Bayern the limits. At the start of the Bundesliga, Leipzig are challenged at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Vice-champion Dortmund makes another attempt at the title after dramatically missing the championship. “We want to be there right from the start and show where the journey can go,” said coach Edin Terzic before the start on Saturday against 1. FC Köln. With the departure of Raphael Guerreiro (Bayern) and especially that of superstar Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Borussia had to accept major losses. So far, BVB has been reluctant to make purchases compared to what are probably its biggest title competitors. One of the new signings is Marcel Sabitzer, an ÖFB legionnaire who, after a mixed year and a half in Munich, has recently found better form on loan at Manchester United.

As a secret favourite, Leverkusen is traded with backup goalkeeper Patrick Pentz. After a difficult season recently, the “Werkself” are aiming for a top position again. It remains to be seen whether Union Berlin with captain Christopher Trimmel and Freiburg with Philipp Lienhart, Michael Gregoritsch and newcomer Junior Adamu will be able to play for the European Cup places for the third season in a row.

Borussia Mönchengladbach wants to get back on track with new coach Gerardo Seoane and new signing Maximilian Wöber. The Foals finished tenth last season, just one place ahead of their rivals 1. FC Köln, where Florian Kainz was recently presented as the new captain. Other Austrians under contract with newly promoted FC Heidenheim and Darmstadt 98 are Paul Tschernuth and Nikola Dovedan and Christoph Klarer, Emir Karic, Nemanja Celic and Manuel Honsak. However, Celic is said to be on the sidelines near Darmstadt.

A total of 28 ÖFB legionnaires are starting the 61st season of the German Bundesliga, four more than at the start of last season. “Since I’ve been in Germany, Austrians have always been respected in the Bundesliga. But the standing has grown again in the last two or three years. It’s really strong how many are now playing for top clubs in Germany,” said Bremen captain Marco Friedl. After Oliver Glasner’s exit from Frankfurt, there is no home coach in the coaching position for the 18 Bundesliga clubs this time.


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