WhoScored recap the Bundesliga season so far - looking ahead to the final nine gameweeks of the 2019/20 campaign.
With the German government giving the Bundesliga the green light for a return to action on May 16th behind closed doors, WhoScored.com recap the season so far ahead of the final nine gameweeks of the 2019/20 campaign.
The Title Race
Unlike the Premier League, it's certainly all to play for at the top of the table, with the 25-point gap from first to second in England encompassing as many as eleven teams in Germany's top-flight. In truth the top five are the only teams in with any chance of claiming the title, though it would take an almighty effort for Bayer Leverkusen in fifth to overcome an eight-point deficit to seemingly perennial champions Bayern.
Indeed, the holders are well placed to claim an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title after a sensational run of form under Hansi Flick. Formerly the assistant to Niko Kovac - who was sacked in November after a run of just four points from as many matches - Flick was appointed as interim boss, taking the reins at a club for the first time since 2005 with Hoffenheim.
His impact has been remarkable, winning 12 of 15 league matches in charge, with 48 goals scored and just ten conceded in that time. As such, Flick was handed the job on a permanent basis until 2023 during the break, having established a four-point lead at the top since taking over with the club in fourth.
Borussia Dortmund are Bayern's closest rivals ahead of the return to action, and as free-scoring as ever but still somewhat accommodating at the back. Die Schwarzgelben's games have averaged more goals than any other, at just over four per-game.
Then come the impressive RB Leipzig in third, whose balance between defence (26 conceded) and attack (62 scored) arguably seems more of a solid foundation to push the leaders all the way. Meanwhile, another point back are Gladbach in fourth, who were the early pace setters. Despite remaining a surprise package, The Foals since have dropped points in as many of their last nine matches as their opening 16 and haven't won back-to-back games since the turn of the year.
The Relegation Battle
At the opposite end, bottom club Paderborn are poised to head back from whence they came, while Werder Bremen are facing only a second ever relegation from the Bundesliga, and first since 1981. They are undoubtedly the real underachievers this season so far having finished eighth last term, finding themselves four points adrift of a relegation play-off place and eight back on automatic survival.
It's Fortuna Dusseldorf - the league's most carded team, with 63 - that sit in said relegation play-off place. Nevertheless, those up to Eintracht Frankfurt, sat twelfth following a dismal run of 11 points from 14 matches since doing for former boss Kovac with a thumping 5-1 win over Bayern, will be looking nervously over their shoulder.
As far as star performers are concerned, in any other season both Timo Werner and Jadon Sancho would undoubtedly be worthy candidates for player of the year. The attacking pair still certainly have a case, with Werner notching 21 goals alongside a notable seven assists, while Sancho was the first to reach double figures in both categories in Europe's top five leagues.
The Englishman has only been joined by Lionel Messi in reaching ten or more for both thus far, which is some company, and taken his goal and assist tallies to 14 and 15 respectively since. In turn the Dortmund star has had a direct hand in more goals than any other Bundesliga player, though it's Robert Lewandowski that is sprinting clear once more in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Golden Boot
The Poland international scored in each of his first 11 league appearances of the season and has gone on to net a remarkable 25 times in 23 outings in total to earn a league leading rating of 8.16 from WhoScored.com to date.
Elsewhere, Lewandowski's Bayern teammate Alphonso Davies, Schalke's Suat Serdar and Leipzig summer signing Christopher Nkunku have all enjoyed breakout campaigns. Meanwhile Kai Havertz has recaptured his best form since the turn of the year and with it a reputation as one of Europe's top prospects, sparking Leverkusen into life, with seven wins from nine restoring their Champions League aspirations.
Throw in the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Dayot Upamecano, Marcus Thuram and the aforementioned Sancho and there's little doubt that the Bundesliga plays host to some of the best young talent in world football. We certainly can't wait to see them return!
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