After making a profit of more than 14 points from the last Bundesliga season, Kevin Hatchard now turns his attention to the next campaign, and he thinks RB Leipzig are more than a flash in the pan...
"RB Leipzig have kept their best performers, have added an exciting player in Bruma, and have one of the best coaches in the league."
Bayern Munich made yet more history last season, as they became the first team to win five consecutive Bundesliga titles. Carlo Ancelotti's first campaign saw his star-studded side fail to hit top gear too often, which makes it all the more frightening that they finished 15 points clear at the summit. They beat second-placed RB Leipzig home and away, and crushed Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in Der Klassiker in Munich. They scored the most goals, and conceded the fewest.
So, can anyone stop them from lifting the meisterschale for a sixth consecutive season? I would have to say no. The acquisition of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid gives Bayern a further dash of quality, Corentin Tolisso adds power and depth to an already excellent midfield unit, and Joshua Kimmich's switch to right-back to do his Philipp Lahm impression will feel like a new signing.
Hoffenheim duo Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule will doubtless prove to be consistent, solid signings, and Thomas Mueller has looked really sharp in pre-season. Arjen Robben will be a menace to defenders if he stays fit, and after whacking in 54 goals for club and country last season, Robert Lewandowski has another chance to show he is one of the world's best strikers.
To be frank, [1.26] for Bayern to win the league actually seems generous, and even at that price I wouldn't discourage you.
The market has this as a straight fight between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, with Dortmund favourites on the Sportsbook at 8/11, and last season's runners-up Leipzig 3/1.
In many ways, Leipzig represent the value. They have kept all of their key players (Naby Keita was denied a switch to Liverpool, and Emil Forsberg was prevented from joining Milan), and coach Ralph Hasenhuttl remains one of the best in the league. The acquisition of Galatasaray wildcard Bruma could be one of the signings of the summer, and I suspect his pace, skill and unpredictability will light up the league.
Dortmund are more of a risk. They have a new coach at the helm in Peter Bosz, who had one season at Ajax and didn't actually win anything. That's a little disingenuous, as he got to the Europa League final, but he isn't a proven coach at this level.
At time of writing, Ousmane Dembele was AWOL as he chased a move to Barcelona, and if he does leave for La Liga that will be a crippling blow. The 20-year-old delivered 12 Bundesliga assists last term, and I genuinely believe he has the potential to win the Ballon d'Or one day.
Marco Reus continues to struggle with injuries, the defence looks shaky (especially on set plays) and the metronomic Julian Weigl will miss the start of the season with injury.
Of course, there are positives. American wonderkid Christian Pulisic is mind-bogglingly talented and mature for an 18-year-old, the reigning Bundesliga top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is staying put, and Mario Goetze is back in the picture after illness with a point to prove.
From a betting perspective, there are far more unanswered questions surrounding Dortmund than Leipzig, so that price of 3/1 looks attractive to me.
Last season threw up a fascinating, fluctuating battle for the torjaegerkanone trophy between Lewandowski and Aubameyang. In the end, it was the BVB man who triumphed, as his last-gasp penalty against Werder Bremen on the final day gave him 31 goals, as his Polish rival was stuck on 30.
Lewy is 11/10 on the Sportsbook, with Auba 5/2 to win back-to-back trophies. Timo Werner had his best ever top-flight campaign last term, as he smashed in 21 Bundesliga goals for Leipzig. Given that I believe Leipzig will have another strong season, I think Werner is worth a look at 9/1.
If you want a bigger price, you could do worse than backing Wolfsburg's Mario Gomez at 25/1. Yes, Die Wolfe nearly went down last season, but in an underperforming team he still scored 16 league goals. He seems to work well with Wolfsburg coach Andries Jonker, and if Wolfsburg make the strides I think they will this term, then we could be pushing the Gomez button more often than not this season.
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