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German Bundesliga 2016/17 Outright Preview
Our Bundesliga scribe takes a look at the outright betting market for the 2016/17 Bundesliga season.
As a brand new season of football looms near, fans of Germany’s top flight will need to wait slightly longer for their first taste of the Bundesliga. With champions Bayern Munich set to kick off proceedings on Friday, we’ll assess the chances of the Bavarian giants marching to a fifth consecutive title, or whether one of the pretenders to the throne can spring a surprise and knock mighty Munich from their perch.
To Win Outright
Bayern Munich 1/8 | Borussia Dortmund 7/1 | Bayer Leverkusen 33/1 | Wolfsburg 66/1 | Schalke 80/1 | Monchengladbach 100/1 | Mainz 500/1 | Hertha Berlin 750/1
Bayern Munich (1/8)
Carlo Ancelotti takes over from Pep Guardiola with essentially one goal - to win the Champions League. The only trophy that Bayern failed to secure under Guardiola will be top of the list this season, although another league and cup double could well be considered minimum requirements. Marquee signings Renato Sanches and Mats Hummels join a star-studded squad featuring Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Manuel Neuer, Kingsley Coman, Franck Ribery, David Alaba - the list goes on. With the sheer class at Munich’s disposal and the depth of quality in the squad, the short price offered on the current champions is to be expected. It’s a bet to consider throwing into a long-term multiple but otherwise I’d avoid it and look for an upset - a possibility considering that the club will likely go deep into all competitions that they participate in this season.
Borussia Dortmund (7/1)
Thomas Tuchel’s team are back in the Champions League after finishing as runners-up to Bayern Munich last season. Dortmund ran the champions close last term but ended the season 10 points behind their main rivals, picking up DFB-Pokal loser’s medals. The club have done some fantastic work during the summer transfer window, acquiring the services of Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Sebastian Rode, Raphael Guerreiro, Emre Mor, Ousmane Dembele and Marc Bartra. Sure, they’ve lost key players in Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but perhaps most important is the retention of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dortmund’s star striker last season. Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa, and Christian Pulisic also offer a strong attacking threat and Dortmund are certainly worth a punt to beat Bayern to the title at 7/1.
Bayer Leverkusen (33/1)
Leverkusen emerged almost from the ashes last season to clinch an automatic place in the Champions League by finishing third in the league. The club dropped points on only one occasion in their final 10 matches, winning eight. It seems as though the momentum has continued through pre-season, with three wins and two draws. There has been a relatively strange lack of activity during the transfer window, Christoph Kramer leaving for Monchengladbach the only departure with the addition of Kevin Volland and Julian Baumgartlinger. Javier Hernandez was important to Leverkusen’s cause last season, scoring plenty of goals, while the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu, Karim Bellarabi, and Julian Brandt are all solid creative players. Do Leverkusen have what it takes to win the title? Probably not at this stage but much will depend on the business done this month.
Wolfsburg had a nightmare of a season in 2015/16, a pitiful follow on from their strong title challenge the term before. The club finished eighth and missed out on any European football for this season. Surely there was significant pressure on manager Dieter Hecking to return the club to their former standing in the league and while Wolves have been active in the summer transfer market, only the signing of Jeffrey Bruma from PSV Eindhoven stands out as good business. Jakub Blaszczykowski adds dynamism in midfield and will probably complement the likes of Luis Gustavo and Julian Draxler, yet it’s difficult to expect the Polish player to make a great difference to this Wolfsburg side. After signing last season’s loanee Josuha Guilavogui from Atletico, the club and player suffered a huge blow in pre-season with a neck injury confirmed as a break with no return date announced. I expect Wolfsburg to continue to struggle against the Bundesliga’s more established forces.
Schalke finished fifth last season and will have the Europa League to contend with in addition to domestic duties. They begin the season with yet another change of manager, Markus Weinzierl the latest in the Schalke hot seat. He became the club’s 15th manager over the past decade, as Andre Breitenreiter left at the end of last term, failing to provide the club with Champions League football. The departure of Leroy Sane to Manchester City for a whopping €50 million is a huge blow but the club have opted to fork out for young Swiss striker Breel Embolo, and have brought in Coke from Sevilla and Baba Rahman on loan from Chelsea. They join a squad containing Benedikt Howedes, Leon Goretzka, Matija Nastasic, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Franco Di Santo and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. It’s a useful group of players but the squad pales in comparison to the likes of Bayern and Dortmund. Nevertheless, a small bet on them to win the league at 80/1 could be a genius move. Unlikely as it is, Schalke are my pick to punch above their weight this season.