German Bundesliga will open the curtain in 7 August 2009 with the blockbuster game between defending champion VfL Wolfsburg and VfB Stuttgart. Before the season starts, I will preview generally to the league. This part I will preview the favorite championship winner:
Bayern München - forever favorite: No doubt about it, Bayern München is still the favorite of the league. After the tragic season, the team changed the leadership once more. The Dutch coach Louis van Gaal takes over the team and seems he is favoring the new players. Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber are the examples. At the same time, the arrival of Ukrainian national Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will definitely lead to the defensive line become very solid as he has high rate of stamina and strength. Even though Lucio and Tim Borowksi leave the team, I do not believe it will bring too much harm, especially the case of Lucio, it maybe more beneficial to the team as Lucio is too aggressive and led the team more trouble last season.
What is helping them to win: Player ability. This is what Bayern München has every season. The best players in Germany are all around in the team so they only need to play well and they will win games. The arrival of Mario Gomez is definitely improving the team finishing. So, I believe the team will improve a lot.
What is stopping them: Consistency. This is what the team lack of last season. They can play very well but can also get humiliated in the following week. Actually consistency is what they only need in the Bundesliga as mentioned, they are the best team in Germany.
Werder Bremen - post-Diego era: As predicted, Diego leaves the team for his further development. So the team is basically enter the post-Diego era about 2 months ago. They, also as predicted, purchased Marko Marin from Borussia Mönchengladbach to fill in the vacancy. Together with Mesut Özil, they will be the most important duo in the team. They need to cover each other in order to create more spaces for each other and even the other players. On the other side, Naldo also left the team to France and now Per Mertesacker is the most important defender in the team, and I believe he is the key player to lead the team to success. Furthermore, the team needs to get another prolific striker as Claudio Pizarro had returned to Chelsea. So Hugo Almeida, Aaron Hunt, and the other strikers have to perform well.
What is helping them to win: Attack. This is what they are proud of, and this is the reason why they won the championship. Last season the strikers failed to convert the game plays into goals, even though Claudio Pizarro were in hot form. Now the midfield bascially maintain their ability and the strikers have to convert it into goals.
What is stopping them: Defence. The defence is further degraded after the departure of Naldo. Besides Per Mertesacker, Sebastian Prödl will become more important as he needs to relieve Mertesacker. As the team did not have any significant signings in the defence, it will be all counted on this duo.
VfB Stuttgart - local pride: Last season it can be said that it was the pride of locals as they did so well in the league under the base of local young guns. However, since the departure of Mario Gomez, Stuttgart had lost the focal point of attack. So unlucky at the same time, they failed to seek a successor to replace his position. Klaus-Jan Huntelaar was the hot favorite to join in the team but in the end the deal was undone. As the season is going to start, even they have purchased a new striker, Cacau is still the most important striker in the team as assuming there is a new striker to join in, he needs some time to fit into the team. The midfield and the defense do not change too much as they were solid last season. Thomas Hitzlsperger and Sami Khedira will continue to lead the midfield and Serder Tasci will be more important day by day.
What is helping them to win: Early start. Last season Stuttgart had a very slow start and trailed behind a long distance to the top table team. So even though they had a very great second half of the season, it never got close to win a championship. Therefore, I believe they need a early start in order to get enough points for the tight match schedule.
What is stopping them: Goalkeeping. As the defence is not too experienced to lead the line, goalkeeping is the most important factor. Jens Lehmann is degrading after Euro 2008 and he made some soft mistakes last season. As he is getting older, it is predicted that he will keep making mistakes.
FC Schalke 04 - Try again: Another try for them this season, as they have tried so many years and they got nothing. Felix Magath takes over the coaching job this season in order to meet all the fans' expectation - do what he did in Wolfsburg. Change is not significant in terms of transfer market, so I believe they will still have problem on creativity. Ivan Rakitic is very important player in the team as he is very creative and lead the team to score goals. Kevin Kuranyi and Jefferson Farfan need to prove themselves this season as this was what they failed to do. In the defence, Benedikt Höwedes had an excellent season so this season he will be the first choice center back. He will take over the leading job from Bordon and it will be the deciding factor for Schalke.
What is helping them to win: Defence, defence, defence. From midfield to the center back, Schalke has a lot of solid players to tackle the ball and stop the play. Jermaine Jones is the typical example in the defence midfield. At the same time, they are very strong in the air so not so many teams can score lots of goals to them, which is the deciding factor to their fate.
What is stopping them: Creativity. I cannot believe that they did nothing to improve their pathetic creativity in this transfer market. Obviously Rakitic found a very hard time to create the play by himself and one more attacking midfielder is urgently needed.
This is my prediction of the hot favorites. Next part I will mention about the dark horses.