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Bundesliga Season 2016/17 Preview - Part 1

Thursday 4th August 2016
Welcome to a three-part guide to the new Bundesliga season. I'll be dealing with the clubs in the order they finished last season with the two newcomers first. Please be aware that transfers are correct at the time of article submission. As there are so many I will only be dealing with the key in's and out's at each club. Also feel free to laugh at my predictions!

RB Leipzig - 2015/16: promoted from 2. Bundesliga

Not afraid to splash the cash, Ralf Ragnick has assembled a decent squad for the first crack at the Bundesliga. Naby Keita has arrived for a big fee from "partner" RB Salzburg to reinforce the midfield and highly rated Timo Werner was snapped up from relegated Stuttgart to augment the attack. 21-year-old Davie Selkie will also be back in the Bundesliga after a year-long absence and it will be interesting to see how he gets on after making a good fist of his first season as a 19-year-old with Werder Bremen. 20-year-old right back Lukas Klostermann might be familiar to players of Football Manager, I have no doubt he will adapt well to the top division, strong in the tackle and quick too.

RB will be aiming to consolidate their position in the first season and they should have more than enough to do that. I don't expect we have seen the last of their transfer activity either. A comfortable lower half position should be well within their reach, I'll stick my neck out and say 12th!

SC Freiburg - 2015/16: promoted from 2. Bundesliga

It all feels a little underwhelming for Freiburg, back in the Bundesliga at the first attempt and as champions but with low expectations of prolonging their stay more than a year. perhaps their best bit of business was convincing captain Julian Schuster to sign a new deal as his experience will be sorely needed.

The new arrivals have been recruited from the lower reaches of the Bundesliga or the 2. Bundesliga with only central defender Caglar Söyüncü arriving from abroad. trainer Christian Streich will be hoping his largely German core can show the fighting qualities needed to survive. I don't see it though and will be having a few pennies on them to go straight back down, sorry Freiburg fans. 18th and last.

Eintracht Frankfurt - 2015/16: 16th, won relegation playoff

Lots of comings and goings at Frankfurt, indeed they have managed to make a healthy profit so far in their dealings. Three notable loan signings in Varela the right back from Manchester United, Vallejo a young centre-back from Real Madrid and Ante Rebic, a forward from Fiorentina address their obvious weaknesses from last season at the back and scoring goals.

On the outs the only eye raiser was that Ben-Hatira was allowed to get away on a free transfer, he had a good end to the season and played a large part in ensuring Frankfurt finished ahead of Stuttgart. After coming in and securing survival the challenge for Niko Kovac will be to move forward. it looks a difficult task though and another 16th/17th place finish is on the cards. I'll say there are 2 worse teams and they will nick 16th again.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - 2015/16: 15th

After looking doomed at Christmas Hoffenheim were revitalised by the youth and energy of Julian Nagelsmann and secured survival before the last game. An outstanding achievement for the young coach. Into his first full season and the early transfer business was conducted swiftly. Kevin Volland was sold for a large fee to Leverkusen and the money was used well. Goals were replaced with the permanent transfer (after a successful loan) of Andrej Kramaric from Leicester and Sandro Wagner arrived from Darmstadt after a brilliant season for a modest fee. Lukas Rupp was also plundered from relegated Stuttgart to flesh out the midfield and that could well be the best bit of business.

Other than Volland there are no other noticeable departures and after a long spell of uncertainty around the club from the Kraichgau, I think this season could well be one of a successful mid-table placing. I'll go 13th.

SV Darmstadt 98 - 2015/16: 14th

After confounding all the experts (and me) to survive their first season in the Bundesliga comfortably the reality now bites home for Darmstadt. Top scorer Sandro Wagner has been poached off by Hoffenheim who finished a place below them and they are finding it extremely difficult to attract players of the required quality for what will be a relegation dogfight. One transfer in so far for a fee and the loan signing of Colak from Hoffenheim does not inspire confidence.

Going down in 17th unless something drastic happens before the transfer window closes.

SV Werder Bremen - 2015/16: 13th

Despite looking like relegation candidates for 90% of last season Werder somehow managed to end up in 13th on the last day of the season! Viktor Skripnik has overseen a summer of major restructuring, big fees were received for Jannik Vestergaard and Anthony Ujah from Mönchengladbach and China respectively but a major coup was announced just yesterday as Max Kruse has been signed from Wolfsburg. He could form a potentially lethal

partnership with youth player Johannes Eggestein who has been whispered about for over 2 years now as THE centre forward prospect Germany have been looking for since the days of Jürgen Klinsmann. I am excited to see if he can live up to the hype!

Another one who should flourish this year is centre back Milos Veljkovic who moved in the winter break from Tottenham last year. he was highly regarded all the way through the Spurs set up but decided he wanted first team football sooner rather than later. He will likely fill the Vestergaard shaped hole in the centre of defence.

Werder's season will depend a lot on Kruse. if he is motivated and fit and can stay off the Nutella then a decent run lies ahead. I think 11th spot is well within their reach!

My predicted table so far:

  • 11th Werder

  • 12th RB Leipzig

  • 13th Hoffenheim

  • 14th

  • 15th

  • 16th Frankfurt

  • 17th Darmstadt

  • 18th Freiburg

I'll be back on Friday with part 2!
Mark Dannell
Fan of most sports first and foremost, Tottenham fan born and raised. Currently living in Germany and married, avid follower of the Bundesliga and closet Dortmund fan since 1997 thanks to a very enthusiastic high school German teacher! Covering the Bundesliga in detail for itsroundanditswhite.co.uk, any questions, requests for features or general information required all welcome, either by mail or Twitter (@mdannell) preferable.

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