Curtain Call – Season Review; BundesligaPosted: April 16, 2012
In the following we will be taking a look at The Premier League, The Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A as they all come to the end. As May approaches the heat intensifies at both ends of the table and we’ll be assessing who will be experiencing the gloom or the glory. So without any further ado, taking you through the Premier League will be Ashley Brewer, The Bundesliga will be Sam Henderson, La Liga will be Rob O’Reardon and finally through Serie A will be Cillian Shields.
In this domestic campaign, it initially looked like giants Bayern Munich were going to storm through after an impressive start, losing their first game but then going on to win their next eight games in a row without conceding a single goal. Spearheaded by €30 million goal-machine Mario Gomez, the Bavarians were in scintillating form and few could looks past them as they were bidding for their 23rd German league crown.
Meanwhile their primary competition and reigning champions Borussia Dortmund got off to a less than steady start losing games early on to Hoffenheim, Hannover 96 and Hertha Berlin. It would take a rapid rejuvenation and some major wins for Die Schwarzgelben to mount a challenge and retain their Bundesliga title.
However, league campaigns are a marathon and not just a sprint, as the resilience of Dortmund has shown us. An incredible spell of 25 league games without loss, including home and away wins against title rivals Bayern, and local derby rivals Schalke ultimately turned their season around. As it currently stands Dortmund are 8 points clear of Bayern with there being three games left to play, thus meaning just a point for Dortmund in their next game against Monchengladbach at the Westfalenstadion will wrap up their eight overall, and second successive league title.
The battle for third place is also one which draws attention which is being fought between Schalke 04 and their Rhine-land neighbours Monchengladbach. Schalke are currently in pole-position holding a point advantage and also having what would be regarded as an easier run-in on paper. The significance of third place is the same of that of what it is in England, which is an automatic place in the group stages of the Champions League and avoided a potentially tricky qualifying two-legged tie in August.
Down the other end of the table, currently FC Cologne, Hertha Berlin and FC Kaiserslautern occupy the bottom three positions, 16th, 17th and 18th respectively. FC Kaiserslautern on the other hand are already preparing themselves for second division football next season as they mathematically cannot haul themselves out of the drop-zone. FC Koln are are point better off than Berlin at this stage, but form has evaded them as of late and they’re without a win in six, and face Bayern Munich and in-form Stuttgart in their remaining games. Augsburg are the team in the place just above the drop-zone and they are four points clear of Cologne and are odds-on to escape relegation and feature in the Bundesliga again next season.
Should things stay the way they are now and Cologne do finish 16th, they face a play-off battle with the occupier of 3rd place in Bundesliga 2, which at the moment with three games to go looks most likely to be their fierce inter-city rivals, Fortuna Dusseldorf, potentially creating an intriguing encounter.
To recap briefly, all dealings at the top of the Bundesliga seem to be all but concluded. It would take a miracle even greater than that of Jesus turning water to wine itself to see Bayern finish as champions, and the midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has said that Bayern have given up on the league and are now fully focused on their Champions League semi-final and DFB Pokal cup final against their adversaries Dortmund in May. Down the other end of the table, the dust has far from settled and there are still thrills and spills potentially waiting to happen.