The Bundesliga was highlighted last season with two of its teams in the Champions League final at Wembley. FC Bayern Muenchen won the treble, taking the league with six matchdays to go. Borussia Dortmund played its way into the Champions League final, but came short in the domestic league and the DFB Cup.
Hertha BSC Berlin has returned to the top tier after a one year absence in Bundesliga 2. The other newcomer is Eintracht Braunschweig.
Top contenders for the 2013-14 season
FC Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund will once again be competing for the top spot. Juergen Klopp continue to coach the club and has made use of young talent during the off season. With Mario Goetze's transfer to Munich the team will adjust and there is also the question of Robert Lewandowski engagement. It has been reported that he was interested in a move to Bayern, which was denied. He has one more year remaining in his contract.
Dortmund defeated Bayern in the DFB Super Cup, which gave another indication of how closely matched these two teams are. Taking into consideration that both teams were still experimenting and Bayern is with a new coach, it will take a few matchdays to see what differentiates these two sides. In the end it will come down to the strongest bench.
FC Bayern has acquired Thiago from Barcelona and Mario Gomez will play in Italy's Serie A this season. Pep Guardiola will have a balancing act of keeping high priced players motivated and contend while he give priority to others.
Skepticism is growing on Guariola`s ability to do the job that his predecessor Jupp Heynckes did. According to the Guardian, Bayern striker, Claudio Pizarro said that he has never seen a manager that changed so many things.
I've never had a manager who changed so many things
The question is whether or not too many changes are healthy for machine that seemed to be well oiled during the 2012-13 campaign. We have seen experiments in the off season where Phillip Lahm played as a midfielder instead of his traditional role as an attacking fullback. Time will tell.
Bayer Leverkusen has finished in the top half of the league during the last ten seasons and have only missed out on play in Europe during two. Stefan Kieszling is in the form of his life and picked up the top scorer trophy during the 2012-2013 season and will, again, be a force to contend with. Leverkusen will, most certainly be one of the top contenders again.
FC Schalke 04 has its bars set high once again. A finish in the top four has assured them a spot in the Champions League and the club has enhanced its striking ability with Adam Szalai, who was acquired from Mainz 05. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was Schalke`s best scorer, but only tallied ten goals last season, after being the league`s top scorer for the 2011-12 season. There is a good mix of Bundesliga pros in the club, with a mixture of hungry young talents. Look for Schalke to do well this season.
The remaining field
Newcomers Hertha BSC Berlin and Eintracht Braunschweig will work toward missing the relegation spot. Berlin will not want to repeat another relegation. Hoffenheim, based on the first round of the DFB Cup has the ability to score, winning its first round Pokal match 9-0. Last season the club barely escaped relegation. The club will aim to do better this year.
FC Augsburg escaped relegation due to an improved side after last year`s winter break. Will the club be able to sustain the success of the last 17 games last season is a question that will be answered. Frankfurt, Freiburg, Hamburg, Hanover and Mainz have the ability to reach one of the top six spots and Europe play qualification. Nuernberg, Gladbach and Bremen will try to fend off relegation once again.
Regardless of the final outcome, the league promises once again to provide excitement and may see a a change in top two contenders. This season will be long, with Champions League and Euro League play and the required World Cup qualifying matches, which involve primarily FC Bayern and Dortmund players. Injuries and strong benches will play a role.
It would be too bold to predict an outcome for the season at this point, but after six matchdays there should be a good indication where the league is going this year. Let the season begin and good luck to all.