Despite Bayern’s dominance, the 2021-22 1.Bundesliga season has been another entertaining campaign, full of twists and turns right up until the end of the season. So, with that, we take a glimpse at the immediate aftermath and what could be expected in the near future by gleaning at the stats and facts from the season gone.
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How the 2021/22 Bundesliga Season Ended
FC Bayern München, the biggest powerhouse in German football and a European giant of considerable merit, romped home to its 31st league title and the 10th in a row to complete a decade of utter dominance.
Borussia Dortmund provided a solid challenge in the early months but fell away as the season progressed. Bayer 04 Leverkusen finished the season in third place, with RB Leipzig clinching fourth place and the last UEFA Champions League slot.
Despite ending in sixth place, 1.FC Union Berlin continued its steady progress to take fifth place and a slot in the UEFA Europa League alongside SC Freiburg. Eintracht Frankfurt was crowned the new winners of this competition, earning a place in the Champions League for the next season. This permits 1.FC Köln, who are currently in 7th position, to join the UEFA Europa Conference League, bringing the total number of teams competing in European football to eight for the next season.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth finished the season in 18th place, with only 18 points, four fewer than its only previous appearance in the top flight in 2012/13. After returning to the 1.Bundesliga in the previous season, DSC Arminia Bielefeld achieved ten more points but finished in 17th place, 5 points behind safety. Hertha BSC finished 16th in the standings, although it was able to defeat Hamburger SV in a promotion-relegation playoff to keep its top-flight status.
What to Expect in the Bundesliga Season 2022/23
The Title Contenders
While the 1.Bundesliga has been criticized for being predictable owing to one team’s complete domination over the last ten years; the upcoming season might witness a three-horse race for the title.
While the bookies have Bayern München as the overwhelming favorite once again, it may not be as straightforward as in previous years. Maintaining dominance for ten years is exceedingly tough; it is likely to get more difficult with each passing year, and it is also the end of at least two cycles of a team’s shelf-life before it requires another rebuild.
That is why manager Julian Nagelsmann was brought in at the end of the previous season despite the importance of preserving the league title. Despite allowing a number of its older players to depart last summer, Bayern has an aging group, ranking fifth in terms of average age. While the club already has some of the best and most intriguing new talents, grizzled old veterans like captain Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, and Robert Lewandowski remain the team’s fulcrum.
While they have top-quality internationals like Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Benjamin Pavard, who are towards the end of their careers, they also have players like Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso, and Serge Gnabry, who might leave the club in the summer.
Furthermore, Lewandowski’s departure from Bayern is a possibility with only one year left on his contract. As a result, huge purchases for Bayern during this transfer window will be vital, to say the least.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund has not won the 1.Bundesliga title in ten years, having finished second six times during this interlude.
Dortmund’s 2021/22 season promised a lot. Still, it produced very little, as the team was unable to maintain consistent pressure on the champions in the second half of the season and was also knocked out of all cup tournaments at an early stage.
Nonetheless, there are increased hopes for the next season, especially now that the club has made significant off-field additions. After completing a 75 million Euro transfer to English champions Manchester City, Erling Haaland ended his two-and-a-half-year stay at Westphalia. The Norwegian striker had another productive but injury-plagued season, and his departure might turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
As the substitute, the club has re-invested in youth by signing Karim Adeyemi, a 20-year-old German international from FC Salzburg. Dortmund has also added Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck to strengthen a defense that appeared to be lacking both quality and quantity. After a breakthrough season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, Ansgar Knauff should also be a part of the team.
Some of the components for the future are already in place, as Dortmund had the third-youngest squad in the 1.Bundesliga, with young players like Jude Bellingham, Giovanni Reyna, and Donyell Malen gaining valuable experience at the top level. However, most of its players are in their prime, and veterans like Mats Hummels, Axel Witsel, and skipper Marco Reus may help the team’s mindset improve.
As a result, with the defending champions still in transition, this might be Borussia Dortmund’s most excellent chance to win the 1.Bundesliga in at least the previous half-decade. The club’s administration has maintained its faith in head coach Marco Rose, but expectations will undoubtedly be higher next season, and he will need to make his squad much more consistent.
RB Leipzig will also be mentioned as a title contender on the outside of the league. Leipzig, who finished second in the 2020/21 season, had a tumultuous season after losing several of their most acceptable assets, including their manager, last summer. However, after the arrival of Domenico Tedesco, the club rediscovered its form, finishing fourth and winning its first major title, the DFB-Pokal.
After ending the season in the top five in both goals and assists, Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku was named the 1. Bundesliga Player of the Season. The Frenchman has become one of Europe’s hottest properties, and retaining him at the club will be a significant challenge. Nonetheless, there is more than enough talent elsewhere in the team to make a serious run at the league crown.
The Race for Europe
While competing for the top honors may be a stretch, Bayer Leverkusen will be among the leading challengers for the coveted top-4 spots. Leverkusen concluded the season in the third position, thanks to striker Patrik Schick’s 22 goals, which put him in second place in the goal-scoring standings.
In addition, Moussa Diaby scored 13 goals and 12 assists, while teenage wonder-kid Florian Wirtz had 17 goals before his season was cut short due to an ACL injury. So naturally, all three will be in great demand this summer, but Leverkusen still has enough skill and experience in its squad to finish fourth.
Union Berlin and Freiburg were the other two clubs to finish in the top six, and both will find it challenging to improve their results next season. Union Berlin is an excellent example of a team with low resources that can outperform more rich adversaries.
However, it has managed to develop with each passing season in the top-tier, so dismissing them is just a risky proposition. On the other hand, it may be more difficult for Freiburg, who lost their finest player from last season, Nico Schlotterbeck, and may have to drop to the mid-table.
Furthermore, in the hunt for a top-six finish, Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Köln are anticipated to be strong contenders. Hoffenheim was contending for a top-4 spot, but a dramatic drop in form at the finish left the team clinging to a top-half position.
Both Wolfsburg and M’gladbach have quality teams, and both will be eager to make a great impression following a disappointing season last year. Köln, on the other hand, will take heart from its seventh-place result in the hopes of getting into the top six next season.
The Survival Battle
With Hamburg’s defeat in the promotion-relegation playoff, only two teams will be promoted to the top division next season. On the other hand, Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen both received quick straight promotion back to the Bundesliga following their relegation from the 1.Bundesliga in the 2020/21 season. Both squads, however, are unknown quantities at this level and, as a result, will be among the teams fighting for survival in the minds of the public.
Hertha Berlin finished third from the bottom, narrowly ahead of Stuttgart on goal difference courtesy of a last-minute victory on the last day of the season. Both teams are certain to be in the relegation zone again next season. Bochum managed to save their 1. Bundesliga status, although they are one of the betting favorites to be relegated next season. Augsburg is the other favorite, but their experience avoiding relegation for 11 consecutive seasons will be crucial since the club has never been relegated since its debut in the 2011/12 season.
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