MATCHDAY PREVIEW BUNDESLIGA SEASON 2019/20
Pack away the beach towels and dust off your TV remote, because the Bundesliga is back! It is soccer season now and the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga has kindly put together a cracking program for Matchday 1 of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Title Race on Again
One thing the 13 weeks of Bundesliga-less boredom has done is allow us the time to catch our breath from last season’s dramatic title race. Bayern Munich pipped Borussia Dortmundby two points on the final day for a seventh consecutive Meisterschale, but that doesn’t even tell half the story over 34 Matchdays.
Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer both scored in the first Klassiker at the Signal Iduna Park in November to set Dortmund on their way to a nine-point lead over the reigning champions, but a Rückrunde revival from Niko Kovac’s men, including a Robert Lewandowskimasterclass in the return fixture at the Allianz Arena, saw Bayern reel in their challengers and eventually overtake Lucien Favre’s charges.
Outrageous from Julian Nagelsmann 😧 pic.twitter.com/KxoR37RK4i— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) August 2, 2019
The only two teams to win the Bundesliga in the last decade have already renewed their rivalry in 2019/20 with the season-opening Supercup, in which BVB landed an early punch with a Jadon Sancho-inspired 2-0 victory. However, these traditional giants of German football are not alone in the ring.
RB Leipzig are still the relatively new kids on the block, having spent three seasons in the top flight, learning the ropes and steadily improving. Despite last season being seen as a transitional year with Ralf Rangnick keeping the dugout warm for Julian Nagelsmann, Die Roten Bullen still finished a comfortable third in the Bundesliga and reached the DFB Cup final for the first time.
Now the youngest permanent head coach in Bundesliga history has finally taken his seat at the Red Bull Arena and there is a quiet confidence about Leipzig as they enter this new era.
During three and a half years with Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann turned the club from relegation candidates to European contenders through technological and tactical innovations.
Football As It’s Meant To Be’
In keeping with tradition, the reigning Bundesliga champions host the curtain-raiser as FC Bayern München welcome Hertha Berlin to the Allianz Arena on Friday 16 August.
Coach Niko Kovac will be confident that Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry can plug the gaps left by Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben out wide, while Robert Lewandowski remains the focal point of the record champions’ attack as he targets a third straight top scorer’s cannon.
Ivan Perisic will be unable to make his Bayern debut due to suspension carrying over from Serie A last season. Hertha boast a solid recent record against Bayern and beat them at home last season, and first games for a head coach don’t get much bigger than this this for the visitors’ new coach Ante Covic.
Borussia Dortmund came mighty close to unseating Bayern last season and claiming a first Bundesliga crown since 2012, and Lucien Favre has declared that they are all in for the title in 2019-20.
The club have made some tasty signings – Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz – while Mats Hummels is back from Bayern and Paco Alcacer’s move has been made permanent. With Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Mario Götze also champing at the bit, they’ll be looking to put their huge range of firepower to use again Augsburg on Saturday. The visitors, though, will be looking to cause BVB more problems as they did in last season’s seven-goal thriller at the Signal Iduna Park.
The other two German teams who will play in this season’s UEFA Champions League kick off against promoted sides. On Saturday Peter Bosz’s Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to their 20-year-old talisman Kai Havertz to guide them to victory at home to Paderborn. Plenty of eyes will be on the dugout on Sunday when Julian Nagelsmann takes
charge of his first league game as RB Leipzig coach away to Bundesliga debutants Union Berlin.
The Saturday evening kick-off is referred to as the ‘Topspiel’ (“top game”), and this season’s first offering sees Borussia Mönchengladbach entertain Schalke. The Foals have an ambitious new coach in Marco Rose, while summer arrival Marcus Thuram – son of World Cup winner Lilian – looks set to shine alongside fellow French forward Alassane Plea and Breel Embolo, facing his former club on the opening day. Meanwhile new Schalke coach David Wagner will be targeting a confidence-boosting start as the Royal Blues look to bounce back from a difficult 2018-19, which saw them finish in 14th place.
There’s another mouth-watering continental contest on Sunday afternoon as Eintracht Frankfurt welcome a Hoffenheim side who are preparing for life under new coach Alfred Schreuder. And on Saturday UEFA Europa League participants Wolfsburg will try to give incoming boss Oliver Glasner a winning start against Bundesliga 2 champions Cologne, who are back in the top flight after a single-season absence.
Elsewhere, the indefatigable Claudio Pizarro – 41 in October – embarks on his 21st and final Bundesliga campaign as Werder Bremen host Fortuna Düsseldorf. Finally, two clubs whose young talent could give them a spark this season – Freiburg and Mainz – face off in the picturesque Black Forest.
FC Bayern First Training Session of the 2019/20 Season!
#MiaSanMia excitement is coming