German Bundesliga is competitive once again

The German federal soccer league shifts toward brighter days, sports writer Zach Sabel argues.

The German Bundesliga looks set to have its most competitive season in a long time. While it is still very early in the season, at the time of writing, perennial winners Bayern Munich sit 3 points outside of first place with a few teams above them still to play. They could find themselves 5 points out of first by the end of this weekend. Currently, Borussia Dortmund sits atop the table on 15 points, with the mighty little union Berlin currently sitting second on 14 points but set to possibly pick up another 3 tomorrow.

What will also come as a surprise is another small club, SC Freiburg, also sit in third on 13 points with a game to be played tomorrow with a chance to move into first or second pending Union’s result. Hoffenheim and Borussia Mönchengladbach sit equal on points with Bayern but behind on goal difference in 5th and 6th respectively. Eintracht Frankfurt and Mainz sit in 7th and 8th one point behind Bayern, Hoffenheim and Gladbach just outside of European qualification. At the bottom of the table sit VfB Stuttgart in 16th and the relegation playoff spot and VfL Wolfsburg and VfL Bochum 1848 sitting in 17th and 18th and in danger of relegation and this early stage in the season. A few surprises, aside from Bayern Munich’s loss, would be the positions of RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen. Traditionally, stronger sides that are both struggling with Leipzig stick in the middle of the packs, and Leverkusen fights off a spot in the relegation zone. It is early though and I’m sure both teams will figure it out and start rapidly climbing the table, just like I’m sure some dark magic will propel Bayern to the top of the table.

The story of the season so far has to be Union Berlin. The little club from the outskirts of Berlin, whose soccer scene has traditionally been dominated by the likes of Hertha Berlin, is overachieving in every metric as they have done in every single season in their recent stay in the top flight of German football. They finished 11th in their first season in the top flight, a season in which everyone pegged them for relegation. The next season they shocked the German footballing world by finishing 7th, good enough to qualify for the newly created Europa Conference League. The season after that, which everyone thought they surely must drop off, finished in 5th, led by their star striker Taiwo Awoniyi, qualifying for a Europa League spot. This season everyone thought that surely they won’t be able to repeat this feat, with their star striker sold off to Nottingham Forest in England, but so far they are looking to build on their 5th place finish last season and maybe even dare I say to win the Bundesliga. Led by a new young striker in the form of American Jordan Siebatcheu (also known as Pefok), and a somehow even better Sheraldo Becker, they have yet to lose a game through their first six matches, drawing twice and winning four of their games, including a draw to Bayern Munich. Should Union Berlin manage to do the impossible and win the league this season they would not only be making the history of their club but of East Germany. No club from the former GDR has won the Bundesliga since the two nations became one at the end of the Cold War. It would also be the first time since the 2011-12 season that a team other than Bayern Munich has won the trophy, and since 2008-09 that a team other than Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich has won the title. While it remains likely that Munich or Dortmund will win the title, it’s nice to see the little guy punching upward, giving hope to competitive German football once again.

Post Author: Zach Sabel