Coverage of the 2013-14 season of the Bundesliga kicks off today. For viewers in the United States, the opening match of the season will be shown live on GolTV at 2:30pm ET featuring Bayern Munich versus Borussia Monchengladbach.
Bayern Munich stormed to the Bundesliga title early in April and overshadowed the rest of the league with a mammoth 25 point lead. A similar pattern was expected for this season with the arrival of Pep Guardiola and Mario Gotze from Munich’s closest rivals Dortmund. However, with Bayern learning a new system and starting from scratch after disassembling the foundations of last season and with the strengthening of other teams at and near the top, the path to the title does not seem as straightforward this time around.
Winner: Bayern Munich
For all their drastic changes and questionable decisions under a new manager, Bayern Munich are still the team to beat in the Bundesliga.
The Bavarians possess the best squad and the league in terms of both talent and depth. The additions of Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara give Bayern an embarrassment of riches in the midfield department. Ribery and Robben show no signs of aging as they approach 30 with continued displays of creativity, trickery and plenty of pace. Schweinsteiger continues to remain top dog in midfield as he is supported by the guile of Kroos and the solidity of Javi Martinez who looks to be placed either behind him or beside him in midfield. Pep Guardiola aims to make Bayern as unpredictable as possible with a bench full of world class options. Xherdan Shaqiri has been blessed with more playing time in the preseason so far and shows no signs of slowing down his burgeoning development. Mario Gotze is back in training and looks to be fit by September, much to the relief of the Bavarians as they look to augment their creativity and spark in the attacking third. Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro look to be fine alternative options if the manager feels that a more direct approach to getting goals is necessary.
The Bavarians look set to go on and win the Bundesliga for a second year in succession. However, another early 25 point romping to the top of the table looks unlikely with the strengthening of other sides such as BVB, Schalke and Leverkusen. BVB especially look very likely to push Bayern all the way this time and improve upon their defensive performance as they look to close the gap with their impressive new signings. The title race looks like it will be settled in May and not in early April like last season.