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The third in our three part guide of the teams that are fighting to win the Bundesliga

Tuesday 30th July 2013
The 2013/14 season of the Bundesliga begins on 9th August, in the third of a three part series Mark Dannell takes a look on how each of the 18 teams that make up the league should fare.

I have done this alphabetically in three parts of six teams (you can read part one here), with a run-down of major transfers in and/or out, what the team may still be looking for, and what their realistic expectations should be for the season. Please bear in mind that (particularly the transfer section) could have changed between submission and publishing. I hope you enjoy the article; I welcome any feedback and any suggestions for what you might like to see in the weekly round-up I will be writing for itsroundanditswhite.co.uk for the upcoming season!

1. FSV Mainz 05- Season 2012/13 Position: 13th

Summary: A so-so season for Mainz last time out has been followed by a mediocre transfer window so far. Mainz have lost star defender Jan Kirchoff to Bayern Münich and best forward Adam Szalai to Schalke and have so far failed to bring in any star quality to replace them. Despite now entering their 5th consecutive season in the Bundesliga, Mainz appear to be stagnating and this season could well be the one that sees them in danger of being dragged into the relegation scrap.

Prediction: Flirting with relegation but probably (just) safe (Mid table 9th-14th)

1. FC Nürnberg- Season 2012/13 Position: 10th 
Summary: Bar the transfers this could be a copy/paste job identical to Mainz. Nürnberg are now entering the 5th season back in the Bundesliga and after back to back 10th place finishes must be looking to move forward. However cautious business so far is unlikely to see progress made on this front, with hard man Emanuel Pogatetz replacing best defender Timm Klose.

Prediction: Mid table obscurity for “Der Klub” (9th-14th)

FC Schalke 04- Season 2012/13 Position: 4th

Summary: A good display from Schalke in the Champions league was not enough to keep Huub Stevens his job, and he was replaced by youth team manager Jens Keller who led the team to a 4th placed finish. Schalke have strengthened over the summer with Felipe Santana replacing the retiring Christoph Metzelder and Adam Szalai brought in to provide quality back up to prolific striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Schalke have been knocking on the door of a title challenge for some years, however they may need to wait another few before challenging Bayern.

Prediction: 3rd or 4th and a Champions league place once again

VfB Stuttgart- Season 2012/13 Position: 12th

Summary: Despite flirting with relegation for much of the season, a strong end spurt took them away and into mid table. Stuttgart also put up a strong display in the German Cup final, eventually succumbing to Bayern. A decent transfer window so far has seen the forward line strengthened with the capture of Mo Abdellaoue from Hannover and talented attacking midfielder Moritz Leitner brought in on loan from Dortmund. Stuttgart need a good start, but if they can get it then a Europa League place should not be beyond their means.

Prediction: 5th-8th

SV Werder Bremen- Season 2012/13 Position: 14th 
Summary: A terrible season with the constant threat of relegation saw the unthinkable happen and club legend Thomas Schaaf sacked as manager after 14 years at the helm (and over 30 years at the club as player and manager). Robin Dutt has been given the chance to restore his reputation after an awful spell at Leverkusen but a quiet transfer window so far points more to an evolution of the current playing squad rather than a complete overhaul. The loss of Sokratis from central defence must be covered before the season begins.

Prediction: Assuming Dutt is given time, a comfortable mid table finish will be just fine (9th-14th)

VfL Wolsfburg- Season 2012/13 Position: 11th

Summary: Yet another club with a managerial change mid-season last time, Wolfsburg replaced Felix Magath with Dieter Hecking. Hecking has moved for one of his former players Timm Klose to replace the departing Simon Kjaer at centre back, and talented young keeper Max Grün has been recruited from relegated Fürth to compete with Diego Bengalio. The team has undoubted talent in the shape of Diego and Dutch forward Bas Dost and much will depend on the start they make.

Prediction: A lot depends on the start but an small improvement likely (9th-14th)

Thank you all for reading, once again I look forward to your feedback and suggestions for the weekly column.
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.

Total articles: 86

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