The 2019/20 Bundesliga season is set to resume from 16 May with Matchday 26. With 25 rounds of matches already been played, most of the season is behind us
with just nine more to go.
To help remind you of what has already happened this season, the Bundesliga has compiled an all you need to know list on 2019/20…
While FC Bayern Munich have won seven Bundesliga titles on the trot, last season was a sign of the changing times in the German top-flight. The title race went down to the final day of the season after an enthralling campaign which saw Borussia Dortmund lead by as many as nine points in January, and now more teams have joined the chasing pack on the hunt for FC Bayern’s top spot.
Dortmund are second once again as things stand, four points off the pace set by FC Bayern at the top. The chasing pack is tightly grouped with just three points separating RB Leipzig, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen from third to fifth. With 27 points still on offer, there are sure to be several twists and turns before a champion is crowned, not least with the number of fixtures still to be played between the top sides.
League leaders FC Bayern still have three of the top four to play as they will travel to both Dortmund and Leverkusen, while playing host to Borussia Mönchengladbach. FC Bayern suffered back-to-back defeats against Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen in the first half of the season. Meanwhile, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund will battle it out at the Red Bull Arena on the penultimate weekend of the season.
Push for Europe
With a gap of 10 points already separating FC Schalke 04 in sixth from Bayer Leverkusen in fifth, it looks likely that the four UEFA Champions League qualification spots on offer will be dispersed between the current top five.
However, the race for the final UEFA Europa League qualification spot in sixth –and a potential further spot in seventh dependent on the winner of the DFB Cup –is still very open.
Just seven points separate the Royal Blues in sixth and Bundesliga first-timers Union Berlin in 11th, with Eintracht Frankfurt – who have a game in hand to play against 17th-placed SV Werder Bremen – and Hertha Berlin only two points further back. With so few points between them and so many still left to play for, the battle for European places will surely play out in dramatic fashion.
The teams in the thick of the battle are FC Schalke, VfL Wolfsburg, SC Freiburg, TSG Hoffenheim, 1. FC Köln and Union Berlin. The latter pair both being promoted to the Bundesliga this season adds another storyline to their tales, while FC Schalke 04 are bouncing back from a disappointing mid-table finish last season.
Battle against relegation
Some of the teams mentioned above hoping for a late push towards Europe will need to be just as aware of what’s happening over their shoulders, with dropping into a late relegation battle equally as possible. As things stand, Paderborn are 10 points adrift of safety at the bottom with Bremen two points ahead, and only four points behind Fortuna Düsseldorf in the relegation play-off spot in 16th.
There are small gaps between each side, just as there is from Fortuna to 1. FSV Mainz 05 four points ahead of them. But only a single point separating FC Augsburg, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt in the lower half of mid-table is where worry begins to creep in and hope for the likes of SC Paderborn 07 can begin to grow.
For teams at the bottom, having a goalscorer in form can often be the difference between picking up points or being left empty handed this late in a season. Promoted Paderborn have come unlucky there, with top scorer Streli Mamba ruled out for the rest of the season. While Werder Bremen with Milot Rashica, Fortuna Düsseldorf with Rouwen Hennings and Mainz with Robin Quaison all have a goalscorer they can usually rely on. It could come down to which of those is most clinical in front of goal in the final nine games of the campaign.
The Bundesliga remains the undisputed home of football’s next biggest stars, and some of them have already secured their status in 2019/20. The four biggest successes being Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, FC Bayern’s Alphonso Davies, RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz who have all been performing at an elite level this season despite their tender years.
Sancho’s team-high 14 goals and 15 assists mean he has contributed to more goals this season than any other player in the league, including 25-goal top scorer Robert Lewandowski. Werner is one goal shy of a personal record in the Bundesliga with 21 so far, while Havertz has picked up where he left off from after last season’s 17-goal campaign with six goals and five assists so far.
Davies has perhaps been the Bundesliga’s biggest surprise this season, not only coming to FC Bayern’s aid when defensive injuries added up to play at left-back but now making the position his own. It will be a near-impossible decision for Hansi Flick to make when the likes of Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Süle are back to full fitness as to whether Davies keeps his position. And the wonderkids in the Bundesliga run deeper than just the top sides, with each and every club able to boast a rising talent of their own, so make sure not to write-off any players because of their age.
Much like the wonderkids of the Bundesliga, there are a host of players whose hard work may not have been celebrated as much in the headlines as they deserve. The tireless defensive midfielders, dominant centre-backs or those playmakers who get more passes to an assist than the actual assist. Before the season gets back underway, make sure you know to watch out for the players doing the dirty work.
Take Konrad Laimer at Leipzig for example, who has been one of the best performers this term. The 22-year-old Austrian defensive midfielder is already in his third full season in the Bundesliga and is stamping his authority on every game. No midfielder has won more challenges than his 286, while Paderborn’s Sebastian Vasiliadis shares the same total and is very much of the same ilk – a tireless ball-winning midfielder. Only four players have covered more distance in 2019/20 than Paderborn’s 22-year-old.
One of the main reasons Union have been able to stay clear of a relegation battle so far this season is their striker Sebastian Andersson. The Sweden international has 11 goals this season – six of those coming with his head, which is more than any player across Europe’s top five leagues – and five of his goals have been assisted by the Bundesliga’s set-piece king Christopher Trimmel. Union’s 33-year old right-back and captain has seven assists in total, the most for an out-and-out defender. There are so many more out there among the Bundesliga’s array of players, so keep your eyes out for those doing the hard yards to get their side
crucial points in the business end of this season.