Soccer Spotlight: The Return of the Bundesliga

While there has been little to no soccer played around the world since the middle of March, one of the World’s biggest leagues is set to kick off this weekend. Germany’s top league, the Bundesliga is set to resume play this weekend!

Official Logo of the German Soccer League, the Bundesliga. Mandatory Credit: Bundesliga.com

For anyone who is looking to watch live sports again, understanding this league is important. Here is a look at this league’s teams, and the 2019-2020 season; who is competing for the title, who is battling for a spot in European competitions, and who is fighting for their lives in a relegation battle?

Bundesliga Format:

The Bundesliga usually runs from August to May, where 18 teams play each other twice, home and away, totaling 34 matches in a season. This is another of the European style of a league where there is an outright winner of the league based on points throughout the season. Of course, a win equals three points, a draw equals one point, and a loss equals no points. There is promotion and relegation between this top-flight league and the 2 Bundesliga (the second division) to add to the drama of the competition.

While the goal is to win the league there are benefits as well for those at the top of the table. The teams that finish in first, second, third and fourth place automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the following year. The teams finishing in fifth and sixth place qualify for the Europa League competition, think of it as the NIT tournament of UEFA competitions.

The teams finishing in seventh through 15th secure themselves in the Bundesliga for the following season, as promotion and relegation are part of this league as well. Speaking of Pro/Rel, Germany does things a little differently with the teams going down to the second division and coming up to the first division.

The teams that finish in 17th and 18th in the Bundesliga are relegated to the 2 Bundesliga, where the top two teams from that second division rise up. However, there is a relegation playoff series between the team that finishes 16th in the Bundesliga and 3rd in the 2 Bundesliga. This is a home-and-away playoff series where the winner on aggregate points will be in the top-flight for the next season, and the loser will play in Bundesliga 2.

Now that all of this has been explained, let’s take a look at where things currently stand!

Picking up where things left off:

Of course, there was a major speed bump in the 2019-2020 proceedings halting things after teams had played 24/25 matches. This leaves 16 teams needing to play nine more matches and two teams needing to play 10 to complete the 2019-2020 season. With the home stretch in sight, there is a true title race brewing!

Four Teams Racing for the Title:

Bayern München is European Giants and is leading league, sitting with 55 points from their 25 matches. They are the favorites to win the league as they have won for seven straight years. They have nine games left to hold their lead.

Borussia Dortmund is the runner-up from last year and is again right now. They sit four points behind the leaders, with 51 points through 25 matches. Dortmund has a young superstar Erling Haaland who has a magic touch for goals. Will he help push Dortmund past their nemesis Bayern?

Red Bull Leipzig is in third place with 50 points from 25 matches. With Timo Werner Leading the charge, Leipzig has the second-most goals this season. A nine-match push for these underdogs could see them lifting a trophy.

Borussia Mönchengladbach has been a team on the rise for the last few seasons. After finishing in ninth place in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, they finished in fifth place last season. This season they are in fourth place with 49 points from 25 games. They are only six points out of 1st place and could create a remarkable story!

The Battle for European Places

Bayer 04 Leverkusen sits in fifth place with 47 points from 25 matches. They are poised to make a run for the top-four finish, which would propel them to the Champions League next season. They sit firmly in a Europa League spot and it would take a disaster to have them drop from a place in European competition.

FC Schalke 04 have been up and down over the last few seasons. A second-place finish in the 17/18 season was followed up with a 14th place finish last year. This season, Schalke sits on 37 from 25 games played. A spot in the top four is likely out of the question, but the battle to hold sixth place and the last Europa League spot is up in the air with nine matches to play.

VFL Wolfsburg finished in the top six last season, this year they sit in seventh place on 36 points after 25 games played and are only one point behind sixth-place Schalke. Their European matches threw a wrench into their early-season run of form, but now that the league is set to restart Wolfsburg will try to make a push into the top six.

Sport-Club Freiberg is on a surprise run that could see them claim a spot in the Europa League next season. They sit on 36 points from 25 matches like Wolfsburg. After finishing 13th last season, this run is welcome to a club who’s ambition was to not get relegated.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is in ninth place with 35 points from 25 games. They are two points out from that European spot, and have beaten teams above them but have fallen to teams below them. They will need to get into shape to make that push forward!

FC Köln (Cologne) are the team in 10th place, and are five points out of a European place. The team that was promoted to the first-division this season had a rocky start to their season, but are now in spot that looks safe from relegation and could even jump to a place in the Europa League next season.

Teams in Limbo

FC Union Berlin is in a promotion season in the Bundesliga as well and looks to be safe from relegation sitting eight points above 16th place. With 30 points from 25 matches, it is a stretch to say the will make the jump to a Europa League place, but anything is possible!

Eintracht Frankfurt has 28 points through 24 matches, and look safe from relegation, but far from a place in European football next season. their 12th place placement is a big drop off as they have had a top-six finish the last two seasons. Frankfurt is fully entrenched in Limbo as the season resumes.

Hertha Berlin is used to mid-table standings in the past years. This season is no different as they are in 13th. 28 points from 25 matches show that this team is struggling, but a mid-season run has them six points outside of the relegation zone, and firmly in limbo.

FC Augsburg is in the midst of what could be another year of finishing just above the relegation playoff game. They currently sit in 14th place just two spots about relegation with 27 points from 25 games. A five-point gap may be enough to allow them to stay in the Bundesliga for another year.

1. FSV Mainz 05 has been up and down in 2019/2020. Their 26 points from 25 matches played put them just four points above relegation in 15th place. They will need to shake off their hot and cold run of results in this home stretch to stay up.

The fight to Stave off Relegation

Fortuna Düsseldorf is in the relegation playoff place of 16th. 22 points from 25 games is not a great record. Düsseldorf was promoted in 2018/2019 and finished 10th, this year their only goal was to stay in the top-flight. They have some work to do to get themselves up with nine matches left.

SV Werder Bremen finished one point from a Europa League place last season. Now, this season they have only 18 points from 24 matches. With eight points between them and safety, and four points between them and the relegation playoff spot. Their work may be cut out for them with 10 matches to play.

SC Paderborn 07 is an amazing story. In 2017/2018 they were in the third division, last season they were promoted to the 2 Bundesliga, and this year they made it to the top league. Their time in the Bundesliga has not been the best as they only have 16 points from 25 matches. 10 point below safety and six from the relegation playoff makes their fate almost sealed for them.

This weekend’s fixtures:

This league resumes this weekend! Here are the matchups:

Saturday, May 16th at 9:30 am EST

Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04
Red Bull Leipzig vs Sport-Club Freiberg
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs SC Paderborn 07
FC Augsburg vs VFL Wolfsburg

Saturday, May 16th at 12:30 pm EST

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Mönchengladbach

Sunday, May 17th at 9:30 am EST

FC Köln vs 1. FSV Mainz 05

Sunday, May 17th at 12:00 pm EST

FC Union Berlin vs Bayern München

Monday, May 18th at 2:30 pm EST

SV Werder Bremen vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Who should you support and will this restart be a blueprint for MLS?

Do you want to know more about the clubs and who you may want to support? We’ll have articles on this coming soon from Matt McClain and El Parcero Philly!

You may also be wondering what the Bundesliga’s restart will show for American Sports or MLS. We’ll have more on this as well later this week as well!

Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union, Union II, and other soccer content!

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Mandatory Credit: Bundesliga.com

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