Summer is counting down and so are the number of days until the 2017-18 Bundesliga season is underway.
Last season was marked by many different surprises. Wolfsburg having to beat Eintracht Braunschweig in the relegation playoff after finishing second in the table just two years earlier was one. Then we had dark horse RB Leipzig who had just been promoted to the Bundesliga finish second in the table. It was crazy stuff.
With all the friendlies done and each team marking next weekend on their calendars, here is a list showing where each team currently stands. All friendlies, transfer additions and losses, and injuries were taken into account when compiling this list.
1. Bayern Munich
Bayern struggled heavily in friendlies this off-season. Losing five of their six friendlies wasn’t too becoming of the Bavarian giants. It didn’t help that stars Arjen Robben, Jerome Boateng, and Manuel Neuer have been sidelined since the Champions League battle against Real Madrid. But winning their DFL-Supercup matchup against rivals Borussia Dortmund in penalty kicks seems to have boosted Bayern’s confidence. The addition of James Rodriguez on loan from Real Madrid will help add attacking depth from the midfield position and young fullback Joshua Kimmich will look to fill the void left by Philipp Lahm.
2. Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund look to pick up where they left off last season. After a slow start to the year, Dortmund ended the year on fire, winning the DFB Pokal, making the quarters in the Champions League, and finishing top three in the table for the second year in a row. There are some questions centered around Dortmund though. Thomas Tuchel was ousted as the manager after two seasons and former Ajax man Peter Bosz was brought in. The additions of Ömer Toprak and Maximilian Philipp will only help Dortmund and young American star Christian Pulisic will look to feed the Bundesliga top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all season long.
3. RB Leipzig
Yes I know many of you Leipzig fans are wondering why Dortmund are ahead of you. It’s nothing that Leipzig did wrong. Dortmund just look that much stronger this year. Nonetheless Leipzig will look to give Bayern and Dortmund a run for their money yet again. With the additions of Jean-Kévin Augustin from PSG and Bruma from Galatasaray, Leipzig are looking to give Emil Forsberg even more assists than his 19 from last season. Lets not forget Timo Werner either. He had quite the off season with the German national team, winning the Confederations Cup and finishing as the tournament’s top scorer. I’m sure he’ll be walking into this season with much more confidence.
Hoffenheim look to add onto an impressive 2016/17 campaign. The departures of centre back Niklas Süle and midfielder Sebastian Rudy to Bayern Munich will hurt them but they have brought in young winger Serge Gnarby on loan from Bayern and midfielder Håvard Nordtveit from West Ham to offset those two losses. It will be fascinating to see how far Nagelsmann will take his team this year. Will they upset Liverpool to qualify for the UCL?
5. FC Schalke 04
Last season was an unlucky one for Schalke. They caught some bad breaks in some big games. Other than last year, Schalke hadn’t finished worse than sixth in the table since the 2010-11 season. Losing Sead Kolasinac to Arsenal will hurt but the additions of midfielder Nabil Bentaleb from Tottenham and winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from Sevilla will greatly bolster their attack.
6. Borussia Monchengladbach
While Monchengladbach may have started off poorly last year, they ended the year quite well. Thanks to bringing on former Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking, Die Fohlen were able to salvage their season. Although they were ousted in the group stages of the Champions League, they did show signs of life that were very promising for fans. The addition of centre back Matthias Ginter from Dortmund will certainly help their defense.
7. Hertha BSC
After coming off of their second straight top seven finish Hertha have a lot to look forward to this season. They were able to retain their entire core, other than John Anthony Brooks, who they replaced with Jordan Torunarigha who was already on the roster. Also the addition of striker Davie Selke from Leipzig will help them up front.
8. FC Köln
You could make a case for them to be higher than this. Since being promoted to the Bundesliga in the 2014/15 season they’ve steadily climbed up the table each year. The loss of Anthony Modeste will be a huge loss for them, but signing striker Jhon Córdoba from FSV Mainz 05 should help them out.
9. SC Freiburg
Freiburg did a phenomenal job last season by finishing in seventh place in the table after their first year back in the Bundesliga. However they did not do themselves any favors by letting their striker Maximilian Philipp leave to Dortmund. Also apart from the addition of Pascal Stenzel, they didn’t do much to help their defense which surrendered the fourth most goals in the Bundesliga last season.
10. Werder Bremen
Last season was the club’s best finish since 2009/10 when they finished in the top three. That being said finishing eighth isn’t something to rest your laurels on. Finishing eighth or worse in the last seven seasons and allowing the most goals in the Bundesliga last season doesn’t exactly make one think they will make that great of a jump. Last season was a tale of two teams. In the first half of the season Bremen looked as if they’d face relegation, and then the second half of the season, they played as if they were a top four club. A little more stability in their play will make for a promising upcoming season.
11. Eintracht Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt are an interesting club this year. They haven’t really done much in the Bundesliga since they were promoted in the 2012/13 season and finished sixth in the table. Much like Werder Bremen, they had a very inconsistent year. Their best results came early in the season when they tied Bayern 2-2, and the last game of the year when they tied Leipzig 2-2. They did somewhat shock the Bundesliga by making it to the final of the DFB-Pokal last season where they lost to Dortmund 2-1. Their only notable signing was striker Sébastien Haller from Dutch club FC Utrecht.
12. Hamburg SV
Hamburg have been walking the line of relegation for the better part of eight years now. They’ve not really been competitive in the Bundesliga as of late, finishing 14th in the table last season and allowing the second most goals in the league. They added centre back Kyriakos Papadopoulos in hopes to try to fortify their lackluster defense.
13. Bayer Leverkusen
After finishing top four for so many years now, it seems that Bayer Leverkusen may have fallen off as one of the Bundesliga elite. Finishing 12th in the table last season is not their only issue. They lost the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu, Chicharito, and Ömer Toprak. This might be a long season for Leverkusen fans.
14. FC Augsburg
Not much has changed for Augsburg. After another year of finishing below 10th in the table with not many new additions during the transfer window, Augsburg may be preparing for another season of fighting relegation.
15. FSV Mainz 05
In recent years it seems Mainz have been up and down in the table. Finishing 15th last season and losing their striker Jhon Córdoba to FC Köln doesn’t bode well. However the addition of young centre back Abdou Diallo from Monaco may prove to be a nice acquisition.
16. VfL Wolfsburg
After being good for a few years it seems that Wolfsburg may be destined for relegation. After narrowly escaping relegation last season, it doesn’t get any easier for the Wolves with the new campaign approaching. Losing Ricardo Rodríguez, Luiz Gustavo, and Jannes Horn dealt Wolfsburg a major blow. The addition of John Anthony Brooks from Hertha may help cushion the blow a bit but as of now don’t expect too much out of this club.
17. VfB Stuttgart
Stuttgart may be a team to look out for in the second half of the season. Having been Bundesliga champions in the last 10 seasons they were once considered Bundesliga elite. They had a few bad seasons but with former Dortmund reserve team manager Hannes Wolf as the new manager and former Bayern Munich head of scouting Michael Reschke as the new sporting director, Stuttgart might be able to pull off a top eight finish this year.
18. Hannover 96
Since a top four finish in 2010/11, Hannover have been irrelevant in the Bundesliga. Hopefully their relegation was a wake up call. The addition of Julian Korb from Monchengladbach will hopefully improve a defense that had the worst goal differential in the Bundesliga two years ago.