Euro 2020 Special

Bundesliga New Boys are Up to the Challenge

The postponement of Euro 2020, now rescheduled to 2021, has give Europe’s big leagues a hope of completing their competitions; and that would be welcome news in the Bundesliga where we have five teams jostling for places at the top, separated by eight points. FC Bayern are in the lead with 55 but Bayer Leverkusen in fifth, with 47 points, are well in the hunt for a Champions League place.

The Bundesliga 2020 back another title for FC Bayern, but the race is by no means over.

Meanwhile, at the bottom end of the table there are a couple of big names struggling for their lives to keep away from the spectre of relegation, and that means two of the newly promoted clubs are doing very nicely indeed.


FC Koln 10th

Three big Bundesliga 2020 results, just before the break have catapulted newly promoted Koln up the league table with safety pretty much in the bag. A trio of wins before a battling 2-1 defeat away to Borussia Monchengladbach were just what Markus Gisdol’s men needed.

Koln came back to the Bundesliga this season, at the first attempt, having been relegated in 2018, and despite sacking two managers in the last 12 months there is now a calm feel about the club. Reaching the Europa League in 2017, for the first time in a quarter of a century, the Cologne side struggled to balance European and domestic challenges and catastrophically took the drop to the second tier.

Markus Anfang was appointed head coach, and despite keeping the team in top spot for much of the season he was potted after a winless streak near the end of the season. Achim Beierlorzer was appointed at the start of this campaign, but he only lasted until November. Gisdol has been in the hot seat since then and has steadied the ship again.

A 0-5 win away to Hertha Berlin when Jhon Cordoba bagged a brace, a 3-0 home triumph against Europe chasing Schalke and a 1-2 win away to bottom club SC Paderborn lifted Koln up to tenth and ten points clear of trouble.


Union Berlin 11th

The passionate fans of FC Union Berlin had the time of their lives in May 2019 when their side reached the Bundesliga for the first time in their history, finishing third in the second division and beating VfB Stuttgart in the play-off.

Marvin Friedrich scored the winning goal in that tie and he was re-signed for the current season, along with defender Neven Subotic; and in their first ever season Die Eisernen have acquitted themselves well. Head coach Urs Fischer has guided them to recent wins over Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen and they sit handily just two points behind Koln.


Borussia Dortmund 2nd

Jadon Sancho's team Borussia Dortmund are currently sitting on the second place of Bundesliga table
Jadon Sancho during Borussia Dortmund’s match against Borussia Monchengladbach

The overall performance of Dortmund, and their second position, is no great shock, but it is impressive how they have coped following the summer sale of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea.

The American attacking midfielder was BVB’s stand-out for much of the year before his switch to the Premier League but Lucien Favre’s side has adapted well and have looked just as strong. Here at SBOTOP we took a look at Borussia Dortmund last week, and particularly how they have reacted to the new challenges set by the likes of RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach. Favre has relied on a combination of youth and experience with unerring faith in his young players, and why not? 20 year-old Jadon Sancho has been in scintillating form again, while 19 year old Erling Braut Haaland has continued his hot streak of scoring form since his move from Red Bull Salzburg.

Four points behind FC Bayern with nine games to play, a title bid is still on for this young side.


Werder Bremen 17th

At the other end of the league table and with just 18 points from 24 games Die Werderaner are a daunting eight points from safety. It’s a far cry from the heady days of the 2000s when Werder Bremen was one of the Bundesliga’s best sides, winning the league title in 2004 before being runners up in both 2006 and 2008.

The club has only dropped out of the Bundesliga once before, in 1981, and throughout this century they have never finished below 14th, landing eighth, 11th and eighth over the last three seasons.

Relegation would be a severe shock to their loyal fans.


Fortuna Dusseldorf 16th

With 22 points from 25 games, and four behind FSV Mainz in the coveted safety of 15th place, Fortuna are in a pickle too. After winning promotion in 2018, they finished a creditable tenth last term and fans at the 54,000 capacity Merkur Spiel Arena quickly became used to being in the top flight again.

A play-off looks likely against the third placed team in Bundesliga 2 and, if that’s the case, with the first leg played in Dusseldorf that will be a nerve wracking 180 minutes.




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