It might seem strange to analyze a league after only four of 34 rounds have been played. After all, the standings are largely insignificant at this stage of the season. Yet, there are plenty of early trends developing in the Bundesliga, that there were talking about. Beyond that, it is also a week before the start of the group stages of Europe’s three continental competitions begin. This will mean lots of extra travel and play for eight of the 18 teams in the German Bundesliga.
Some of those sides, particularly SC Freiburg, Union Berlin as well as 1. FC Koln are largely unaccustomed to dealing with this added burden on their players. Eintracht Frankfurt’s triumph in last season’s UEFA Europa League means that they qualify for the Champions League group stage alongside last season’s top four finishers Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig. Meanwhile, Union and Freiburg represent the Bundesliga in the Europa League, while Koln does so in the Europa Conference League. It will be particularly interesting to see how European play will affect these clubs’ league performance.
Now finally getting to the actual subject of this article, the Bundesliga has provided some wild matches in these first few weeks of the season, as it is usually known to do all year long.
Bayern leads the league once again early on, but only on goal difference. The Bavarians had their best ever start to a season after three rounds, but then they drew Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-1 thanks to a Herculean performance by Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer. Union Berlin is in second place with 10 points as well. Despite losing key players in the offseason Die Eisernernen, (“The Iron Ones”) has not skipped a beat and are continuing to impress. It will be interesting to see how Europa League will impact them in the long term. Next weekend they await Bayern Munich in a top-of-the-league clash.
Meanwhile, Freiburg, TSG Hoffenheim and Dortmund round out the current top five, while Gladbach is in sixth place, still unbeaten with two wins and two draws under their new coach Daniel Farke.
Two big clubs, namely Leverkusen and Leipzig have been struggling so far this season. In Bayer’s case, they were even eliminated from the German DFB Cup by a third division outfit and also lost the opening three league games of the season, before beating Mainz 05 this past weekend. Leipzig’s 2-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg also marked their first win in the league this term.
Frankfurt had their first league success on matchday 4 as well. They overcame new boys Werder Bremen 4-3 in a thrilling game. It was Bremen’s first loss of the season. The previous weekend they avoided this fate, by turning a 2-0 deficit in Dortmund into a 3-2 victory with three very late goals.
Bremen’s offensive play is positive for the Bundesliga. The same cannot yet be said of their fellow promoted side Schalke 04, who is finding their return to the German top flight tough. They still remain winless in the league, along with Hertha Berlin and the still pointless VfL Bochum.
As mentioned at the outset, it is still quite early in the season, but these early trends are certainly noteworthy, especially with the unbeaten streaks of Bayern Munich, Union Berlin, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and 1. FC Koln.
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