Saturday August 23 2014

Champions Bayern set to dominate Bundesliga

Bayern coach Guardiola. Photo BY AFP

Bayern coach Guardiola. Photo BY AFP 

After romping to Bundesliga glory last season and now boasting eight World Cup winners, Bayern Munich look set to dominate again in 2014-15.
After the quadruple-winning campaign of 2012-13 under Jupp Heynckes, incoming boss Pep Guardiola had an impossible act to follow in his first season in charge.
However, the former Barcelona coach swept all before him - on the domestic front at least - as Bayern cruised to a successful defence of their league crown.
They managed it in some style, too, sealing the title with seven matches to spare before the end of March.
Of the 27 matches prior to securing the title, Bayern won 25 and drew two, and their unbeaten league run stretched to 53 games until a 1-0 loss at Augsburg in early April.
The bare numbers fail to do Bayern justice, with their devastating attacking play a thrill to watch at times.
That style came to the fore at the World Cup in Brazil, as a heavily Bayern-influenced Germany team clinched glory against Argentina at the Maracana. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller were all prominent in that campaign and although compatriot Toni Kroos has since departed for Real Madrid, Bayern’s squad looks to have too much depth to be seriously challenged by the other sides in the league.
Once again, Borussia Dortmund look the most likely candidates, although Jurgen Klopp will have to contend with the loss of top scorer Robert Lewandowski to Bayern.
Dortmund finished 19 points behind their rivals in May, and Klopp will need all of his inspirational powers if they are to bridge that gap this time around. Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen occupied the remaining UEFA Champions League spots, the latter now under the guidance of Roger Schmidt after the departure of Sami Hyypia.
At the wrong end of the table, Hamburg will be desperate for an improved season after they almost lost their status as the only club to be ever-present in the Bundesliga. Only saved from automatic relegation by the dismal end-of-season form of Nuremburg and Eintracht Braunschweig,

Playing Today
Frankfurt vs. Freiburg, 4.30PM
Cologne vs. Hamburger, 4.30PM
Hannover vs. Schalke, 4.30PM
Berlin vs. Bremen, 4.30PM
Hoffenheim vs. Augsburg, 4.30PM
Dortmund vs. Leverkusen, 7.30PM
Playing Tomorrow
Paderborn vs. Mainz, 4.30PM
Gladbach vs. Stuttgart, 6.30PM