Bundesliga 20-21: Bayern and 17 other teams

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MDLzera
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Sep 27, 2016
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A much-shorter-than-usual summer break, and here we are, ready to start this weekend.

Anyone getting into the Bundesliga for the first time? Take this surprisingly well-designed quiz to find your team!


Come on down!: VfB Stuttgart (a yo-yo AAAA team) and Arminia Bielefeld (up from the 3.Liga only a few years ago, good luck boys!) join the league as new promotees, hoping they can stick around at the expense of someone like Augsburg
Don't let the door hit you: Fortuna Dusseldorf and SC Paderborn were relegated last year
Weren't you leaving? Werder Bremen avoided relegation by winning a playoff, keeping American up-and-comer Josh Sargent in the league for another year

Americans you can watch*, in order of excitement:

1) AM Gio Reyna (Dortmund) is 17 years old and at Dortmund, which is arguably the world's best incubator club of world-class talent - and they believe he's a future star. He's playing alongside two other forwards (Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland) who are 2.5 years his senior but among the highest-valued players in the world (117M and 80M EUR respectively). Puff pieces on him are not hard to find right now.

2) CM Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig) came over from NYRB to the Red Bull flagship almost 2 years ago; now 21, he is a regular in their midfield rotation when healthy, and scored the goal that sent Leipzig to the Champions League semis a month ago.

3) CB John Brooks (Wolfsburg) is 27 years old, but still has a future on the USMNT because our CB depth is shit and he's still good. At 6'4" he is pretty much the beef of the Wolfsburg lineup, and will mix it up in corner-kick scrums and the occasional hard foul. Dude may be a Berlin native, but he was born for CONCACAF.

4) CF Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen) might be our best striker prospect, assuming Bobby Wood is dead and buried and Tim Weah still projects as a winger. He was capable of scoring goals in this league as a 19-year-old and at 20 still gets pushed around some during hold-up play or when making contested runs into the box, but his ball vision and accuracy is pretty good even by top euro league standards. His team blows chunks, though.

5) AM Nick Taitague (Schalke) isn't exciting for his position, which might be the deepest one the USA has. Rather, he's exciting because a club as eminent as Schalke (who despite hard times are still one of the best incubators anywhere) has stuck with him despite him being injured pretty much all of the last THREE YEARS. They insist they're excited and he's made strides, and they can afford to discard talent that's more trouble than it's worth, which means if he makes the field at all for the big team this year, I'll be watching.

6) CB Chris Richards (Bayern), 20, plays for the European Champions, his club is obscenely stacked with talent --- buuuuut, a lot of that talent is getting older, and isn't above introducing a hot new prospect. They brought Alphonso Davies along after only a handful of reserve appearances. If any of Bayern's current CBs, Boateng, Süle or Pavard, miss time, he stands at least a chance of getting a look. Ahead of him right now is 18yo Tanguy Nianzou, signed on a free from PSG after making 13 appearances for them last season.

7) RB Timothy Chandler (Frankfurt) is 30 and... still plays professional soccer. He is likely out of the national-team picture after his commitment level wavered on it a few years ago, and we now have a couple decent fullbacks in the pipeline (which still feels like a VERY weird thing to type) such that we don't need to go begging. But Frankfurt is still running him out there.

There are others in the lower levels, but none of them are exciting for national-team reasons, and it's rather hard to watch any of them anyway.

* Partly from memory but partly cribbed from TB's excellent-as-always Americans Abroad preview.
 

Titans Bastard

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Dec 15, 2002
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Thanks for getting this thread started. It's never easy to pull all the info together and get the ball rolling.

I will say that you've got a rather short memory if you are calling Stuttgart a yo-yo club but not Arminia! It's true that Stuttgart have been relegated twice in the past five years, but they've been in the Bundesliga for 54 of the 58 years of the league's existence. They were champions 13 years ago.

Arminia Bielefeld: now that's a yo-yo club. This is the eighth time they've been promoted to the Bundesliga in their history. In the late 90s/early 00s, they were either relegated from the Bundesliga or promoted to the Bundesliga seven times in a nine-year stretch.

Anyway, Stuttgart is managed by Pellegrino Matarazzo, an American born and raised in New Jersey. He went to Columbia, played ten years for various lower-division clubs in Germany in the 00s, then came through the coaching ranks at Nürnberg (the ultimate German yo-yo club) and Hoffenheim before landing his first managerial gig with Stuttgart. He gets absolutely zero attention in the US, though, because nobody heard of him when he was playing, nor did he come through the coaching ranks in MLS like Jesse Marsch.
 

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MDLzera
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I'm going to feel shame for not repping my fellow Columbia grad. But at least now I have another team to root for!
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Its interesting to me that more isn't made of the relatively high rates of scoring in the Bundesliga. I think they had around 3.2 goals per game over the last couple years, as opposed to 2.5 - 2.8 in the other major leagues. That's like 15-25% more goals, which really isn't negligible.
 

blueline

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Nov 23, 2012
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Is there any chance Dortmund could challenge Bayern this year if Haaland, Reus, and Sancho stay together and fit for the whole year? Obviously fitness is going to be a big problem with Reus.
 

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MDLzera
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You'd probably also need something like Müller spraining his ankle, but sure it's possible. Bayern was behind Leipzig and even behind Dortmund for at least the first half of the season last year, only taking first after round 20. They dropped early-season games vs Hoffenheim, at Frankfurt (5-1!), Leverkusen, and at Gladbach, plus 3 draws including at Leipzig. But from round 15 on, they won every single game except a 0-0 draw vs Leipzig, including 0-1 @Dortmund. They ended up winning the league by 13 points, but give them that first-half again and they probably lose the league at least half the time.

The problem is not just their first-team strength and the length of time that their stars have all played together, but also their depth. Their 2nd XI could probably finish top-4 or at least top-7. That's partly because of schedule congestion for top european teams, but also injury-proofing. Unless it's a problem with Neuer, Müller or Lewandowski, their next-men-up are only a very small drop-off in quality. That's what makes the margin-of-error for your Dortmunds and Leipzigs so small, because isolated, non-systemic speedbumps for Bayern don't end up costing them the league a meaningful percentage of the time.
 

coremiller

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Jul 14, 2005
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I took the ESPN quiz and got Gladbach. Which reminds me, what ever happened to Ossie, the Gladbach lover who used to post around here back in the day?