For much of this season, RB Leipzig and Monchengladbach have topped the German Bundesliga table. Reigning champions Bayern Munich struggled and fired head coach Niko Kovac and placed the team in the hands of caretaker boss Hansi Flick. In recent months the Bavarian have produced an inevitable recovery that has put them within touching distance of leaders RB Leipzig.
Just a point behind
This weekend’s results made for interesting reading, as RB Leipzig visited Eintracht Frankfurt, who are enduring a poor campaign. Meanwhile, Bayern hosted Champions League-chasing Schalke. On paper, the Bavarian’s had a harder game.
However, Julian Nagelsmann’s team produced a poor display and suffered a 2-0 loss in Frankfurt. Bayern did what Bayern do when it really matters, they recorded a comfortable win over Schalke to move within a point of Leipzig.
This current situation is similar to last season when Bayern bridged a gap to Dortmund and clinched the title. The exit of Kovac earlier this season seemed to indicate that the club’s hierarchy was nervous about the champions returning to the top of the table.
Experienced title winners
The reigning champions are old hands in this situation, while this is a new scenario for Leipzig. Their best-ever finish in the Bundesliga came in their debut in the German top-flight, finishing as runners-up to Bayern in 2017. However, that season Die Roten Bullen finished 15 points behind the Bavarians.
Bayern Munich have won the Bundesliga title in the last seven seasons, so have the know-how and experience of what is needed in this situation. Even when they dropped down the table earlier in the campaign, there was never much doubt that they would return to form.
When it comes to psychology the Bayern Munich players are stronger due to their previous experiences with winning the title on numerous occasions. They have handled the pressure and the expectations and now they are once again looking strong in the German top-flight.
RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann has done a stellar job since his summer arrival. However, staving off the challenge of Bayern Munich is likely the biggest challenge of his managerial career so far.
Whether his team can hang on or not, Nagelsmann is still one of the best young up-and-coming coaches in the European game. Winning the Bundesliga ahead of the Bavarians will only raise his stock in the coaching world.
Bayern firm favourites to win the Bundesliga
The bookmakers believe that the reigning champions will retain their title, as Bayern Munich are odds of 8/15 to win the German top-flight title this season. Even during their unconvincing run of league form earlier this season, Bayern remained favourites to win the title.
The German giants were never going to give up easily, as they have too much quality in their ranks to remain far from the top of the Bundesliga table. A 4-0 home win over Schalke last time out means that the champions have won five consecutive league games, having scored at least two goals in each of the five victories.
This weekend’s fixtures could prove pivotal in the race for the title. RB Leipzig host third-place Monchengladbach, which should be a difficult encounter. The Foals are just a point behind the champions, so two behind Leipzig. Meanwhile, Bayern look to have a far more comfortable away game at Mainz, who are in poor form.
At this point in time, I cannot back anybody but Bayern Munich to win the Bundesliga title. However, if RB Leipzig can keep their cool and ignore the pressure, then they should at least turn it into a title race, rather than a Bavarian procession.
Will Bayern Munich win their eighth straight Bundesliga title this season?
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