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Triumph and Disaster for Germany’s Big Guns

Triumph and Disaster for Germany’s Big Guns

Munich and Hamburg are two very different places to be right now. The home of FC Bayern is, once again, basking in the glory of success, while Hamburg SV is in mourning.

Josef Heynckes’ Bayern made it a record sixth title in a row early in April so this weekend was a time for celebration, and a chance to look forward to next week’s Cup Final. But, in stark contrast, Hamburg, the only ever-present side since the Bundesliga started back in 1963, left their fans in tears as they were relegated.

Sure thing, the top football betting tips always said Bayern would win the league, but at the start of the season the football betting odds on Hamburg dropping through the trapdoor were long. They should bounce back at the first attempt, but it’s going to be a long 12 months.

Bayern dominated from the outset, and had the league sewn up so early that they will be hugely disappointed to miss out on a shot at the Champions League. Such was their form in the Bundesliga they were best in almost every department. No team could thwart the Champions’ ruthless attack, and Robert Lewandowski is the top scorer, once again, with 29, 14 ahead of his nearest rival, Freiburg’s Nils Peterson. Thomas Muller has turned provider with the highest number of assists in the league, 14, and Bayern top scored with 92 goals ahead of Hoffenheim who managed 66, and Borussia Dortmund with 64.

But while the fans in Munich recover from yet another celebration, the citizens of Hamburg sit, as one, with their head in their hands, contemplating life outside the top division for the first time in 55 years. They had, belatedly, begun to show some promise under their third coach in a calamitous season, but Christian Titz couldn’t quite work the magic required. Four wins in the last six couldn’t save Hamburg and they join Cologne in the second tier; and trouble flared off the pitch at the Volksparkstadion as the reality set in. Discipline on the field of play hadn’t been much better as no-one in Bundesliga picked up more bookings than defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

After an impressive season FC Schalke 04 picked up second place and is now fighting off attention for their in demand Coach Domenico Tedesco. He is tipped as a candidate for the Arsenal job but Schalke sporting director has issued a ‘hands off’ warning.

Hoffenheim finished in third place having beaten highly fancied Borussia Dortmund on the last day, and that left Dortmund sweating on a Champions League place. Only goal difference kept them ahead of Bayer Leverkeusen, but an underwhelming season has seen the exit of Coach Peter Stoger, just six months after his arrival. Key player Marco Reus has said he’s determined that Dortmund will be a bigger threat to Bayern next year after a disappointing campaign. Losing their most exciting striker Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang to Arsenal mid-season didn’t help.

Much of Levekeusen’s success was down to the form of Sven Bender, the most influential player and the best user of the ball with 91 per cent pass completion for the season.

RB Leipzig have made the Europa League, in sixth place and, having beaten Bayern 4-1 on the final day and Stuttgart are in with a chance of qualification too, but they need the Champions to complete the domestic double next week. The task of stopping the seemingly inevitable falls to eighth placed Eintracht Frankfurt, who will take that Europa place if they win the Cup.

So, it’s not quite over, but, after a tumultuous season, Germany football fans can now look forward to World Cup 2018 where they’ll expect to overcome their biggest rivals, Spain included.

Who has made the Big Time?

Fortuna Dusseldorf took the Bundesliga 2 title, and while the smart betting advice will guard against another storming season next year, they look well equipped to at least survive; and they are joined by second placed Numberg.

Holstein Kiel is still in with a shout; having finished third they play Wolfsburg, who ended up 16th in Bundesliga 1, in a two-leg play-off for the last available place in next season’s top flight.

Early Transfer Rumours

After an impressive season, Leipzig looks set to lose star asset Naby Keita to Champions League finalists Liverpool, with negotiations well under way.

And while Reus is hopeful of his side strengthening, another player seemingly bound for the Premier League is Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, rumoured to be on his way to Arsenal to join Aubameyang.

Coming the other way is Pablo Maffeo, joining Stuttgart from Manchester City on a permanent deal.

Get ready for another summer of transfer madness, it’s only just begun!

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Stuart Wilkin
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