Bundesliga returns: Europe's most exciting title race is back
With just eight points separating first and fifth, Bundesliga's enthralling title race is poised to go down to the wire
The title race in Germany is finely poised as the Bundesliga returns to BT Sport
Football returns to BT Sport this weekend as the Bundesliga becomes the first major European league to return since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
With nine games remaining and just eight points separating first and fifth in the table, the race for the title could not be better poised.
Bayern Munich have ruled Germany for the past seven seasons, but this campaign sees four teams vying to claim their crown.
Historic rivals Borussia Dortmund have provided their usual challenge but this season has seen the Bavarian's domestic supremacy come under threat from all sides.
Bundesliga on BT Sport
- BT Sport will broadcast every match until the end of the season
- At least one match per weekend will be available in stunning 4K UHD picture quality on BT Sport Ultimate
- The Bundesliga Goals Show will bring viewers all of the action and all of the goals as they happen from every single Saturday game
RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach, led by two of Europe's most highly-regarded young head coaches in Julian Nagelsmann and Marco Rose, have shown genuine title credentials, while fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen remain in the hunt for top spot.
With every game between now and the end of the season live and exclusive on BT Sport, Callum Davis brings you up to speed on the five-way battle to be champions of Germany.
Bayern Munich - 1st (55 points)
After holding off Borussia Dortmund to win a record-extending 29th league title by just two points last season, Bayern's defence of their crown began in inauspicious circumstances.
Rumours of dressing room discontent and question marks over the competency of head coach Niko Kovac saw Bayern produce a series of poor performances culminating in a humiliating 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Hansi Flick replaced Kovac at the helm in November and since then the Bavarians have re-discovered their swagger.
Under Flick, the team have also re-found their tactical identity as one of Europe’s most-accomplished possession sides, boasting some of the most exciting individual talents on the planet.
While 25 goals in 25 games from the boot of Robert Lewandowski has been a major factor in Bayern's return to pole position in the title race, mercurial performances from the likes of Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies have helped make them the team to beat as we approach the business end of the season.
Ominously for the rest of the league, Die Bayern seemed to be hitting top gear before competition was suspended in March.
The champions are unbeaten in their last eleven games and have not conceded a single goal in any competition since mid-Ferbruary.
Bayern's championship mettle will be tested in a daunting four-week stretch of fixtures that sees them face three of the top four as they will travel to both Dortmund in gamweek 28 before back-to-back fixtures against Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladach.
Having suffered back-to-back defeats against Gladbach and Leverkusen in the first half of the season, the chasing pack will be hopeful of another slip up.
Borussia Dortmund - 2nd (51 pts)
Germany's second biggest heavyweight once again pose the most significant threat to Bayern's hegemony.
Lucien Favre's side looked set to end their long wait for another league title last season but despite leading the table at Christmas Dortmund eventually finished runners-up to an underwhelming Bayern side.
Reinforcements came in the form of veteran centre-back Mats Hummels, American prodigy Giovanni Reyna and teenage goal-machine Erling Haaland providing renewed impetus to the Yellow and Black's quest to pip Bayern for the first time since Jurgen Klopp left to to join Liverpool.
Question marks over Dortmund's porous defence remain however, a frailty laid bare in their last two visits to face Bayern at the Allianz Arena where they shipped nine goals without troubling the scoresheet.
But it's in attack where Dortmund are at their most dangerous and no player has had more instantaneous impact than Haaland.
The Norwegian teenager has scored nine goals in his first eight league games since joining BVB in January, including a hat-trick off the bench on his debut against Augsburg.
With the likes of Jadon Sancho, Thorgen Hazard and Reyna flanking Haaland, Dortmund's hopes of winning the league are by no means pinned on the Scandanavian striker, but Favre knows he may require something special to oust Bayern.
All eyes will be on the Westfalenstadion come Tuesday, May 26th when the two old foes lock horns in a potential title decider.
RB Leipzig - 3rd (50 pts)
Only a decade ago Leipzig were making their debut in the fifth tier of German football.
Fast forward to 2020 and they're on the brink of the last eight of the Champions League and in with a realistic shot of winning a maiden German championship.
Having sat just one point behind leaders Bayern in February, Nagelsmann's side are now five points adrift of top spot and one point behind Dortmund ahead of this weekend's resumption.
The club's meteoric rise has left many German football fans with a bitter taste but Nagelsmann's young pretenders are undoubtedly one of the most exciting teams to watch in Europe.
Germany's new kids on the block have some of the league's most exciting young talents - most notably Liverpool target Timo Werner, who's behind only Bayern's Robert Lewandowski in the goal-scoring charts.
Centre-back Dayot Upamecano's titanic performances in defence have seen him collect admirers across Europe while the stoicism of 29-year-old goalkeeepr Peter Gulacsi has helped provide experience in an otherwise youthful outfit.
They also have British representation in the form of Wales' former Exeter and Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu and England's former Charlton and Everton forward Ademola Lookman, making them an obvious pick for British fans looking for a German team to support in the absence of the Premier League.
Borussia Monchengladbach - 4th (49 pts)
Having held top spot for seven long weeks earlier in the season, Gladbach currently find themselves fourth in the table, six points behind Bayern.
A mid-season blip saw Marco Rose's side go five Bundesliga away games without a win to leave them slightly off the pace of Bayern, Dortmund and RB Leipzig.
Despite finding themselves in their lowest position in the table since week four of the season, Gladbach are enjoying a real renaissance under their Leipzig-born head coach.
Rose's charges have taken 49 points from the first 25 Bundesliga matches of the season, the same tally as in their title-winning campaign of 1974/75.
Thanks to the high-tempo playing style, fans seem reinvigorated by the football their team are playing.
Up front, the pace of Marcus Thuram has been used to devastating effect, turning the Frenchman into a potential star of the league.
Denis Zakaria has also shone in a box-to-box role, and the solid defensive setup instilled by Rose means that the centre-back pairing of Matthias Ginter and Nico Elvedi never look troubled by their opponents.
Even the most diehard fans of the Foals will concede securing Champions League football will represent success this season.
Bayer Leverkusen - 5th (47 pts)
Leverkusen are yet to win the Mesieterschale in their history, but they have had their fair share of near misses in that time.
In fact, between 1997 and 2002 they finished as runners-up on four separate occasions earning them the cruel nickname 'Neverkusen'.
With eight points and four places between them and table-topping Bayern, a maiden league title looks unlikely this season but Peter Bosz's men could yet have a major say in the destination of the trophy.
Midfield prodigy Kai Havertz often gets all the plaudits but the coveted playmaker is helped by the fact that Bosz’s side are blessed with the pace of 20-year-old French winger Moussa Diaby and the finishing prowess of Argentinian Lucas Alario.
Fans should pencil Saturday June 6th into their diaries when Leverkusen welcome Bayern to the BayArena in a potentially pivotal day in the title race.