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Saturday, August 1, 2009

German Bundesliga Season 2009-2010 Preview - dark horses

Last part I have previewed the hot favorite to win the title. Now I will preview the dark horses this season:

VfL Wolfsburg - harder challenge is coming: Last season VfL Wolfsburg was against all odds to win their first ever title. It was very encouraging for them and many fans wondered if they can do it again. Personally I believe they cannot. This is because they have an even harder challenge. Also, Obefami Martins had joined the team to relieve Eden Dzeko and Grafite. Zvjezdan Misimovic will still be the key player as his vision and creativity is one of the best in Bundesliga. The defence will become more challenging as they did not get any more new players. So Andrea Bazagli is very important now.
What's helping them to win: Attacking football. The combination of Grafite, Dzeko, and Misimovic will still be the source of scoring. Their counter attack is most threatening in the Bundesliga and there is not many teams to stop their pace. If they want to defend their title, this is their essential key to success.
What's stopping them: Rough schedule. Maybe you can say this is unlucky, but it can definitely kill their hope. The first ever Bundeliga game will play against VfB Stuttgart is tough enough, then their 4th Round will be away against Bayern München. So quick start is definitely needed or else they need to chase very hard following on. Plus they have to face the UEFA Champions League so it definitely makes them harder in the league schedule.

Hamburger SV - no more derby: Last season the 4-round Northern Derby killed all their title hope so every fan of Hamburger did not want to think about it. They had changed a lot in the summer, newly signed Marcus Berg has a high hope in the team as he is the top goalscorer in UEFA U21 Championship. It is expected he will directly replace Ivica Olic, who has gone to Bayern München this summer. Ze Roberto also joins the team and I believe he can bring the stability and experience to the midfield. I expect them they will have significant improvement and they cannot be underestimated. The only factor I concern is the new coach Bruno Labbadia. If he cannot adept to the team, it will be the fatal factor to stop them to win any title.
What's helping them to win: Stability. They were very consistent in the first half of the season and have won important games. They had been at the top of the table for a couple of weeks last season was because of this. The arrival of Ze Roberto can definitely stabilize the team further so they can be very threatening.
What's stopping them: Team fatigue. The reason why they lost all 4-round Northern Derby was the team fatigue. Players were very tired to play the game, so that the opponent was relatively easy to control the game. I believe this is fatal to them and they must figure out how to solve this problem.

Bayer Leverkusen - inexperienced team with experienced player: Last season Leverkusen was very impressing with the young guns. Partick Helmes did make a lot of impression, considering he just joined in for the first season. It is very unlucky for the team that he will miss the first half of season due to knee injury. In the summer transfer market, Leverkusen focused on getting the experienced players in order to balance the team. Sami Hyypia is definitely a good purchase as his experience can lead the defense line. The return of Theofanis Gekas will definitely relieve the pressure of young attacking line, such as Tranquillo Barnetta, Toni Kroos, and Stefan Kießling. So on paper they are stronger this season.
What's helping them to win: Energy plays. Fast and energetic plays lead them to win game. They are one of the fastest paced team last season and with all of the young players are staying, their style is not being affected so much. With the experienced coach Jupp Heynckes to lead the young player, I believe they will also get some balanced between the playing style.
What's stopping them: Second half season slump. After the start of second half season, they had a huge slump, especially in their temporary home ground in Düsseldorf. Now their home ground is finished to renovate, I believe somehow they will improve it a bit. However, due to the inexperienced players in the team, I believe the slump is not easy to avoid, so those experienced players are very important in that moment.

Borussia Dortmund - young boys rule: Speaking to young players, Borussia Dortmund is one of the teams we must talk about. Young coach Jürgen Klopp was bold enough to use the young guns and it paid off. Mats Hummels is now the number one central defender without a doubt and the other players are around him. The midfield is so energetic and they easily control the midfield with the lead from Tamas Hajnal. New comer Markus Feulner can relieve the pressure of Hajnal and the team is becoming better and better now.
What's helping them to win: Young players. They are just fearless. This is the most important factor to win games or even title. They are running so hard in order to control the midfield and they always did. So I believe they will keep on this season and threaten the strong teams.
What's stopping them: Finishing. For sure, they failed to convert the game plays into the practical goals. As the departure of Alexander Frei, it is very doubtful for the finishing. I predict that their finishing will getting worse. Last season they drew too many game because of poor finishing, so I believe they are even harder to snatch a draw if their finishing problem is not getting improved. A good striker is urgently needed so let us see who they get.

Now this is the end of this part. Next part I will preview some relegation threatened team.

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