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Bundesliga Season Preview: The Action and Drama Starts This Friday!

August 2, 2011 By Samrin Hasib
The Bundesliga gets going this Friday. Are you ready?
Let’s start off with a piece of history. The only team that denied Bayern from winning at least one Bundesliga shield in two consecutive seasons was Borussia Dortmund. Does Dortmund have enough to beat Bayern this season? We will find out.

Bayern invested heavily in the summer to get together a defence worth talking about and to get some back up forward players. Their biggest signing was obviously Manuel Neuer from Schalke. Dortmund meanwhile parted company with Nuri Sahin but Ilkay Guendogan, the new man, has seemingly already fit in perfectly.

When Juergen Klopp mentioned that winning the title will be extremely difficult for Dortmund, the fans must have thought he was playing mind games with the other contenders by making his side an underdog. Klopp, though, was serious. Bayern seems to be the favourite again after adding Rafinha and Jerome Boateng to their backline. Neuer, meanwhile, will be there to make all types of saves when necessary.

The drama at Köln never seems to go away. Lukas Podolski was stripped of the captain’s armband by new coach Stale Solbakken. Solbakken also mentioned that Podolski might leave the club during this transfer window. The new captain is the ever reliable rock at the back, Pedro Geromel.

Werder’s financial crises have prevented the Green and Whites from extending Tim Wiese and Per Mertesacker’s contracts. The collective talents of Marko Marin, Marko Arnautovic and Aaron Hunt failed miserably last season as Werder just about survived. Torsten Frings, a Bremen man through and through left the club for perhaps a final stint in Canada.

This could turn out to be the year that everything at Bremen completely falls apart for good if management is not careful. One man who could save them from a breakdown is ironically another young talent, Mehmet Ekici who left Bayern for the North after a breakthrough year at Nuremberg on loan.

One club which does not have to worry about finances is Bayer Leverkusen. Unsurprisingly, Leverkusen allowed a 3-0 lead to slip in the first round of the German Cup and lost to Dynamo Dresden 4-3. These miracles tend to happen frequently when Leverkusen is involved in the Cup nowadays.

Leverkusen’s Robin Dutt made it clear that he wants his team to compete for top spot in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen has everything in place but their defence is slightly questionable. Their defence was taken apart by Bayern and Dortmund last season. Omer Toprak, their new signing from Freiburg might improve matters at the back.

Leverkusen does not have any issues as far as the attack is concerned. Lars Bender could feature next to Simon Rolfes in defensive midfield this year. The big question for Bayer 04 is how they will compensate for the loss of Arturo Vidal. Vidal was Leverkusen’s best player by a big margin last season. However, considering the current trend in the Bundesliga Stefan Reinartz or even Bender could make the position his own this season.
The biggest worry for Dutt must be the fact that his team has to cope with two competitions. Leverkusen did play in two competitions last season; however, the Champions League is much more demanding than the Europa League. Leverkusen also had quite a few injuries to deal with last season and Dutt might have to rotate more than he would like this season to keep everyone healthy, especially if he wants to make a serious challenge in the Champions League.

Hanover and Mainz will represent Germany in the Europa League. Mainz lost three of their most important players in Andre Schuerrle, Christian Fuchs and Lewis Holtby. They featured in the Liga Total Cup and looked set for the season. Eric Maxim Choupo- Moting is a very good signing for Mainz. Adam Szalai will remain with the team after his loan move was made permanent.

Hanover was the biggest surprise of last season as they punched above their weight and finished fourth. The face of Hanover has hardly changed and it is highly likely that the same side that featured last season will feature again this season. Will they give the big boys heartaches this season? - Let’s hope so!

Schalke suffered defeat after defeat last season. In fact, they lost their last four matches in the Bundesliga. One massive boost for them is the return of Lewis Holtby- the bright German playmaker. Christian Fuchs is a good addition as Schalke did not have a proper left-back last season. Ralf Fahrmann is their new keeper. He has already proved his worth by keeping out Borussia Dortmund in the Super Cup, a match that Schalke eventually went on to win on penalties.

Hamburg beat Bayern in the Liga Total Cup. Hamburg seems to be a very organized side this season. Gokhan Tore and Jeffrey Bruma have been brought in from Chelsea. However, Hamburg’s main problems have always been off the pitch. If there is peace behind the scenes, a top six position could be in sights.

Stuttgart was one of the best teams in the second half of the Bundesliga season. Bruno Labbadia’s sides usually end up at the top at about the halfway point of the season but fall apart afterwards. A top ten finish is likely.

Wolfsburg is already out of the German Cup. This means the side can focus on the league throughout the season. Felix Magath has refused to keep Diego in the team. Hasan Salihamidzic, former Bayern player, has returned to the Bundesliga and will feature for Die Wolfe.

Nuremberg and Kaiserslautern played some fantastic football last season. Nuremberg might have some problems this season without Guendogan, Ekici and Julian Schieber. They have a good and relatively young back-line with the likes of Philipp Wollscheid, Timothy Chandler and the recently acquired Timm Klose. Kaiserslautern lost Srdjan Lakic to Wolfsburg. With the likes of Ivo Ilicevic and Christian Tiffert in the side, FCK will be no pushovers.

How will Borussia Moenchengladbach do this year? There is no telling with Gladbach- they can be surprisingly impressive at times and horridly poor at times. They have a talented squad. One thing is for sure- with the likes of Marco Reus, Patrick Hermann and Igor de Camargo, Gladbach will keep us entertained.

Hoffenheim, the team that perhaps bored fans at times last season and another one of last season’s surprise packages, Freiburg, look set to finish in mid-table. Hertha Berlin is back this year and has quite a good squad. Pierre Michel Lasogga will be one to watch. Augsburg was promoted alongside Hertha. How they will play is a mystery to most fans.

That’s about it then. We are all set for the new season which will kick off on Friday. Dortmund, the holders, will play Hamburg. Bayern will open their campaign on Sunday against Gladbach. (3-3 draw again?) Will we see a new champion crowned this season? Will Bayern take the crown? Whatever happens, the entertainment value will surely be high. Don’t miss it!

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