Bundesliga Preview 14/15 – Part 2

It’s that time again; hope you’re excited. The 52nd Bundesliga season commences on Friday, and on the back of Germany’s fourth World Cup win, German football as a whole, is literally on top of the world.

I’m going to talk you through all 18 teams in the 2014/15 season. Who they’ve signed and sold, their key player and where I think they’ll finish.

Schalke Bundesliga

Hertha BSC

From starting superbly and hitting the top 6 early last season, finishing in mid-table was considered a good season for the then newly promoted side. Hertha will be looking to avoid the dreaded ‘second-season syndrome’ of being relegated. They’ve gone about their business well in doing that, this summer.

Ins: Julian Schieber (Borussia Dortmund), Roy Beerens (AZ Alkmaar), John Heitinga (Fulham), Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Red Diamonds), Marvin Plattenhardt (Nürnberg), Valentin Stocker (Basel), Jens Hegeler (Bayer Leverkusen), Tolga Cigerci (Wolfsburg, loan made permanent), Felix Bastians (Bochum, loan return), Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Hamburg, loan return), Ben Sahar (Arminia Bielefeld, loan return)

Outs: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Hamburg), Maik Franz (released), Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund), Levan Kobiashvili (retiring), Per Skjelbred (Hamburg, loan return), Peer Kluge (Arminia Bielefeld), Fabian Holland (Darmstadt 98, loan)

Key player – Hajime Hosogai

The wonderful Japanese midfield stalwart in the German capital is a catalyst for Hertha, with his transitioning play in midfield. The player of the season last year in Berlin will be hoping his rugged style of play can rub off on the rest and bring more success to the capital club.

Prediction – 8th

Despite losing top scorer of last season Adrian Ramos to Dortmund, Hertha have replaced those they have lost with great young talents. Valentin Stocker, Roy Beernes and Julian Schieber will all be looking to make their mark in debut seasons in Berlin. Coupled with an already improving young squad, Hertha may well be challenging for Europe.

Hoffenheim

Want to be entertained while watching German football? Well we all know the place to be for entertainment was Hoffenheim last season. 142 goals were scored in their games, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see that again this season. The Sinsheim club will be hoping for a balance between and attack and defence in 2014/15.

Ins: Steven Zuber (CSKA Moskva), Adam Szalai (Schalke), Jin-Su Kim (Albirex Niigata), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Oliver Baumann (Freiburg), Pirmin Schwegler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Janik Haberer (Unterhaching), Junior Ponce (Alianza Lima, loan return), Guilherme Biteco (Gremio, loan return), Knowledge Musona (Kaizer Chiefs, loan return), Filip Malbasic (Partizan, loan return), Afriyie Acquah (Parma, loan return), Luis Advincula (Sporting Cristal, loan return), Tobias Weis (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan return), Vincenzo Grifo (Dynamo Dresden, loan return)

Outs: Vincenzo Grifo (Frankfurt, loan), Robin Szarka (Energie Cottbus), Joselu (Hannover, previously on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Kenan Karaman (Hannover), Stefan Thesker (Hannover), Edson Braafheid (released), Eren Derdiyok (Kasimpasa SK, previously on loan at Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Sandro Wieser (FC Aarau), Michael Gregoritsch (Bochum, previously on loan at St. Pauli), Sandro Wieser (FC Aarau, previously on loan at SV Ried), Andreas Ludwig (VfR Aalen, previously on loan at 1860 Munich)

Key player(s) – Roberto Firmino and Kevin Volland

There aren’t many pairs in Europe, let alone the Bundesliga, that can match Firmino and Volland’s incredible 2013/14 season. They contributed to over 50 of Hoffenheim’s goals last season and having both signed new contracts over the last months, Hoffenheim have done superbly in giving themselves a great chance of going further this season, with their two best players staying put.

Prediction – 7th

Having strengthened their leaky defence and kept hold of all but one of their key players from last season (Johnson to M’Gladbach), it’s hard to argue against Hoffenheim going even further this season. It may be their last chance to get into Europe with Kevin Volland and Roberto Firmino in Sinsheim.

FC Köln

The boys are back in town. After a two year absence, FC Köln took just one season with Peter Stöger to get themselves back to the big time, with a little to spare.

Ins: Tomas Kalas (Chelsea, loan), Simon Zoller (Kaiserslautern), Kevin Vogt (Augsburg), Dusan Svento (Red Bull Salzburg), Slawomir Peszko (Parma), Pawel Olkowski (Gornik Zabrze), Mergim Mavraj (Greuther Fürth), Yuya Osako (1860 Munich)

Outs: Bruno Nascimento (Estoril Praia, loan), Adil Chihi (Fulham), Mato Jajalo (released), Maurice Exslager (Darmstadt 98, loan), Kacper Przybylko (Greuther Fürth), Kevin McKenna (released), Fabian Schnellhardt (Duisburg), Koray Kacinoglu (Altinordu)

Key player – Daniel Halfar

The man Peter Stöger said would be in his team even in halfway decent form. Daniel Halfar was vital to everything good about Köln last season in midfield. This season, with some new faces around him, he could flourish into a Bundesliga star at 26.

Prediction – 13th

Many thought last season’s Köln squad could’ve survived in the Bundesliga, and so now with intelligent additions to the squad, they should be comfortable in their return to the top flight.

Mainz

Last season’s journeymen who exceeded all expectations to finish 7th in the final Europa League play-off spot, may find life harder this time around. Having already had their European campaign ended, a new manager, new signings and high-profile departures make for a season the neutrals won’t want to miss.

Ins: Filip Djuricic (Benfica, loan), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos), Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest), Daniel Brosinski (Greuther Fürth), Nikita Rukavytsya (FSV Frankfurt, loan return), Chinedu Ede (Kaiserslautern, loan return)

Outs: Nicolai Müller (Hamburg), Maxim Choupo-Moting (Schalke), Shawn Parker (Augsburg), Dario Kresic (Bayer Leverkusen), Zdenek Pospech (released), Bo Svensson (released), Malik Fathi (released), Christian Wetklo (released)

Key player – Johannes Geis

The unsung hero of Mainz’s push into Europe last season has been receiving plenty of praise, from myself included, for his contributions to the side. Now with plenty of big names gone, he’ll have to start singing his own praises before Mainz drift away from any possibility of success this season.

Prediction – 12th

Having over achieved last season and losing a number of key players this summer, Mainz could be struggling slightly this season. Aswell as the players gone, they have of course lost their tactical-genius manager Thomas Tuchel, with Kasper Hjulmand taking the reins.

They should avoid relegation comfortably, but any chance of repeating last year’s success looks to have gone (Even though no-one expected their success at the start of 2013/14).

Paderborn

A fairy-tale story if there ever was one. Paderborn will be entering into the first ever Bundesliga season in the club’s history in 2014/15, looking to match themselves against Germany’s best for the first time in league football.

Ins: Moritz Stoppelkamp (1860 Munich), Marvin Ducksch (Borussia Dortmund, loan), Lukas Rupp (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Marvin Bakalorz (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Scheffer (FC Carl Zeiss Jena, loan return), Idir Ouali (Dynamo Dresden), Elias Kachunga (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Stefan Kutschke (Wolfsburg), Viktor Maier (SV Lippstadt)

Outs: Fabian Scheffer (Kaiserslautern II), Manuel Zeitz (Energie Cottbus), Sebastian Schonlau (SC Verl, loan), Markus Krösche (retired), Johannes Wurtz (Werder Bremen, loan return), Saliou Sane (Holstein Kiel, loan), Rick ten Voorde (FC Dordrecht, loan)

Key player – Alban Meha

Regular 2. Bundesliga viewers know all about the attributes and talent that is 28-year old Albanian international Alban Meha. The exuberant midfielder scored 12 times last season for Paderborn, with 6 coming from free-kicks – the most in the top two tiers – so watch out for his set-pieces.

Prediction – 18th

Sadly, despite some exciting young signings from Dortmund (Ducksch) and Wolfsburg (Kutschke), it won’t be any more than a single season in the top flight for Paderborn. Hopefully they’ll be back once again in the future, but I’d suggest partying while you can, Paderborn fans.

Schalke

Having taken a little too long to really get going at the start of last season, Schalke will be hoping their two returning World Cup winners will help in their fight at the top of the league yet again this season.

Ins: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Mainz), Fabian Giefer (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), Dennis Aogo (Hamburg, loan made permanent), Tranquillo Barnetta (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan return)

Outs: Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Bayer Leverkusen, loan), Adam Szalai (Hoffenheim), Philipp Hofmann (Kaiserslautern, loan), Lars Unnerstall (Fortuna Düsseldorf, loan), Timo Hildebrand (released), Tim Hoogland (released), Anthony Annan (released)

Key player – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Having missed the majority of 2013/14, but still bagging 12 goals in 18 Bundesliga appearances, Schalke’s Dutch menace up top will be hoping for a full injury-free season to enjoy. Despite their inclusions, it looks as if Huntelaar may be Schalke’s only real resort up-front, along with 17-year-old Avdijaj.

Prediction – 4th

They finished behind Dortmund in third last season, so Schalke will be punching hell and leather to take over their fierce yellow rivals and reach second. Still with issues in terms of management, you could say, Schalke’s competition will be tough, but not tough enough to stop them qualifiying for the Champions League.

Stuttgart

Does it feel weird to anyone else to say that Stuttgart won the Bundesliga in 2007? The starvation of success that they have suffered has been hard for their fans to watch, but with the return of Armin Veh, hope has been restored once again.

Ins: Filip Kostic (FC Groningen), Oriol Romeu (Chelsea, loan), Daniel Ginczek (Nürnberg), Adam Hlousek (Nürnberg), Florian Klein (RB Salzburg), Raphael Holzhauser (Augsburg, loan return), William Kvist (Fulham, loan return)

Outs: Rani Khedira (RB Leipzig), Johan Audel (Nantes, loan made permanent), Patrick Funk (Wehen Wiesbaden), Arthur Boka (Malaga), Ibrahima Traore (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Cacau (released)

Key player – Vedad Ibisević

Despite a drop in form last season – which Stuttgart as a team suffered – Ibisević is still regarded as one of the Bundesliga’s best goal scorers. Having scored in double figures for each of the last 4 years, Stuttgart will be hoping he has his shooting boots on again in 2014/15.

Prediction – 15th

Stuttgart are in a stage of restoration. With some fantastic young players coming through their youth system into the first-team and Armin Veh returning to the club, hope is high. But as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so it’ll take some time before we see Stuttgart back in the high reaches of the Bundesliga.

Werder Bremen

Robin Dutt has the arduous task of keeping Bremen up and away from relegation this season. The club finishing in mid-table last season having been clawed towards losing their Bundesliga place towards the end. Same again in 2014/15?

Ins: Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Alejandro Galvez (Rayo Vallecano), Fin Bartels (St. Pauli), Raif Husic (Bayern München II), Santiago Garcia (Rangers de Talca, loan made permanent), Niclas Füllkrug (Greuther Fürth, loan return), Joseph Akpala (Kardemir Karabükspor, loan return), Mateo Pavlovic (Ferencvarosi TC, loan return)

Outs: Mehmet Ekici (Trabzonspor), Joseph Akpala (Kardemir Karabükspor), Niclas Füllkrug (Nürnberg), Lukas Schmitz (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Aaron Hunt (Wolfsburg), Aleksandar Ignjovski (Eintracht Frankfurt), Sebastian Mielitz (Freiburg), Johannes Wurtz (Greuther Fuerth, previously on loan at Paderborn), Predrag Stevanovic (released), Aleksandar Stevanovic (released), Cimo Röcker (released), Mateo Pavlovic (Ferencvaros, loan extended)

Key player – Franco Di Santo

After a season of gelling into Bundesliga life, Bremen fans will now be hoping their Argentine international striker will hit form in his second season at Werder. Especially now that cult hero Aaron Hunt has been sold.

Prediction – 17th

Despite a bright pre-season, including a 3-0 win over a strong Chelsea side, it’ll be tough for Werder to fend off relegation this season. Robin Dutt has sown up his defence, but could be left wanting when it comes to goals being scored. Sadly their time may be coming to go down.

Wolfsburg

Having finished up their 2013/14 campaign just a point outside of Champions League qualification, Dieter Hecking’s Wolfsburg side are going for one better in 2014/15.

Ins: Nicklas Bendtner (unattached), Josuha Guilavogui (Atlético Madrid, loan), Aaron Hunt (Werder Bremen), Sebastian Jung (Eintracht Frankfurt), Mateusz Klich (PEC Zwolle, loan return), Fagner (Corinthians, loan return), Rasmus Jönsson (Aalborg BK, loan return), Ibrahim Sissoko (Deportivo La Coruna, loan return)

Outs: Vaclav Pilar (Viktoria Plzen, previously on loan at Freiburg), Stefan Kutschke (Paderborn), Jan Polak (Nürnberg), Nassim Ben Khalifa (Grasshopper Club, loan made permanent), Tolga Cigerci (Hertha BSC, loan made permanent)

Key player – Kevin de Bruyne

The man brought in last year to start Wolfsburg’s spending over the new few years had a solid start to life with the Wolves. This year he’ll be hoping to bounce on and ignite a young, talented squad to exactly what they can achieve.

Prediction – 5th

In a season where the title race may still be sorted before the season has even started, the competition for European places is as widespread as ever. Wolfsburg, having one of the more exciting squads in the league, may still not have what it takes for the Champions League. Soon they will, though.

Final table
  1. Bayern Munich
  2. Borussia Dortmund
  3. Bayer Leverkusen
  4. Schalke
  5. Wolfsburg
  6. Borussia Mönchengladbach
  7. Hoffenheim
  8. Hertha BSC
  9. Augsburg
  10. Hamburg
  11. Eintracht Frankfurt
  12. Mainz
  13. FC Köln
  14. Freiburg
  15. Stuttgart
  16. Hannover
  17. Werder Bremen
  18. Paderborn

 

If you missed Part 1 earlier today, click here!

The Author

Alex Chaffer

Bundesliga writer living in the UK. 19 and a fussball fan for over 5 years. I also write for FourFourTwo, Bundesliga Fanatic and Vavel. Borussia Dortmund fan.

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