Predicting the End of Season Bundesliga Table
With the 2013-14 Bundesliga campaign now nearly half-way completed, we are starting to form a picture as to how the final rankings may look come the end of May.
While there are always late surges or—oppositely—dips in form in the latter half of a season, we can for the most part make an educated guess as to how that final table might finish.
Remember, these are just my own predictions and if you have any ideas on the matter feel free to express them.
I also apologize in advance for how obscure and/or out of date some of the photos in this article are—Getty Images seem to neglect the lower echelons of the Bundesliga, sadly.
18. Eintracht Braunschweig
Current Position: 18th
Braunscwheig were considered by many followers of German football to be doomed from the very start. Sadly for the side from Lower Saxony, those comments seem pretty accurate right now.
Despite some heroic performances—including a victory against UEFA Champions League last 16 side Bayer Leverkusen—The Lions have lost 12 of their 15 games upon return to the Bundesliga.
Unfortunately, this looks like being no more than a one year stint in the German top flight.
Current Position: 16th
Freiburg are currently suffering from the classic "Europa League Syndrome".
Having stunned the league last season and managed to scrap their way into European competition, a mixture of fatigue from those games and the poaching of a couple of their best players have left the Brazilians of Breisgau struggling to stay afloat.
Despite currently enjoying a slender cushion above the automatic drop zone, these Europa League commitments may well be enough to send the men in white and black down to the Bundesliga. 2.
Current Position: 17th
Despite having yet to pick up a single victory from their opening 15 Bundesliga games this year, Nürnberg have also lost only six of those games.
Now, while that shows a real lack of ability to close out matches, it also indicates that the team is good enough to go toe-to-toe with most of the league (after all, nine draws implies nine close games).
It is for this reason that the Bavarian side should be able to at least give themselves a chance of staying in the top league, entering into the relegation play-off.
That first victory is just around the corner and with new manager Gertjan Verbeek at the helm, it may come sooner rather than later.
15. Werder Bremen
Current Position: 14th
Bremen appear to be a side going through the motions this year.
The men in green can't seem to string a run of successive good results together and in this reporter's eyes that will cost them this year.
While not being in danger of the drop, Werder will also fail to challenge for even a Europa League place this season.
14. Eintracht Frankfurt
Current Position: 15th
Frankfurt are a team who perhaps unfairly sit towards the bottom of the table right now.
Some solid performances, coupled with some appalling ones, have left the Eagles five points behind 14th placed Bremen in the league right now.
With a trip away at Leverkusen coming up this weekend, that position is likely to only get worse, not better, for Eintracht.
However, despite this initial poor showing the team from Hesse look capable enough of dragging themselves out of this mess in the weeks ahead.
Joselu (pictured above during his Real Madrid days) has already scored some important goals this year. If he continues to do so, Frankfurt should be safe.
Current Position: 11th
Amazingly, behind BVB and Bayern Munich, Hoffenheim are the league's top goal scorers this season.
Unfortunately for Anthony Modeste and co. they are also the side which has conceded the most (which when you take a step back and think about is pretty incredible—it's goals galore if you're a Hoffenheim fan!)
This shoddy defensive display will no doubt culminate in a comfortable, but lackluster, mid-table finish for the team who survived through the relegation play-off last year.
Still, it's a notable step up from their outings in 2012-13.
Current Position: 12th
Another side who are destined to have something of a "nothing" season; the Reds of Hannover look neither bad enough to struggle or good enough to challenge for a European place.
While this means a somewhat dull season for supporters, they can at least be looking to next year's campaign with relative confidence that they will be playing Bundesliga football.
Current Position: 9th
I did warn you about some of the photos (that's Halil Altintop playing for Turkey in 2008)
Augsburg have made a good start to the season—currently sitting just four points away from the Europa League places.
However, despite this it seems somewhat inevitable that the Fuggerstädter will eventually fall away from that European race somewhat.
Still, off the back of a 15th place finish last year, this improvement is encouraging all round for the Bavarian team.
Current Position: 13th
Hamburg are the side who make the biggest leap up the table in regards to their current slot and their place on this list.
Since the arrival of new head coach Bert van Marwijk, things have really picked up for the red shorts.
The goals of Pierre-Michel Lasogga and captain Rafael van der Vaart have already turned a terrible start to the season around somewhat—and further improvement seems more than likely.
9. Hertha Berlin
Current Position: 7th
Berlin are enjoying a more than favorable return to top flight football this year thanks to the likes of Ronny and co.
While they currently occupy a Europa League place, it seems unlikely with the caliber of opponents chasing them that they will be able to maintain that spot.
That being said, there is certainly no dishonor in finishing in the top half of the table upon your return from the Bundesliga.2.
8. Mainz 05
Current Position: 8th
Mainz have had a peculiar start to the 2013-14 campaign to say the very least.
Having picked up nine points in their opening three games, the O-Fives would then go on to win just a solitary point in their next five fixtures.
Now finding themselves back in some sort of equilibrium, Mainz will probably find themselves sitting just a few points away from the Europa League places come the end of the season.
Current Position: 10th
With top talent like Vedad Ibisevic and Alexandru Maxim lining up for them, I struggle to see how Die Roten won't eventually end up in a much higher position than they occupy right now.
After a terrible start to the year which cost former manager Bruno Labbadia his job, things have really turned around at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Since then the side has only suffered three defeats in 12 matches, and has carried themselves up from the 17th place rank on Matchday 3.
If this form continues as expected, then Stuttgart may find themselves battling for a Europa League place once again.
Current Position: 5th
The arrival of Luiz Gustavo at Wolfsburg has served as a real inspiration for the side who won the title back in 2008-09.
The Brazilian—who has teamed up with countrymen Diego Ribas and Naldo—has breathed new life into the dwindling former champions.
While this reporter doesn't believe they will quite be able to secure a Champions League place, a top six finish in one of the most competitive leagues in the world is hardly something to scoff at either.
Current Position: 6th
Schalke managed to secure their spot in the last 16 draw of the UEFA Champions League this week and will look to bring that mental high into their game against Freiburg this weekend.
Making it out of a tough group which included last year's Europa League winner Chelsea, 04 did well to ensure their run in the competition goes on.
Domestically the side have also been fairly solid of late, picking up 16 points out of a possible 24.
While some are still tipping the Royal Blues for a top-four finish, I feel they will eventually find themselves a mere point or two away from those coveted top slots.
4. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Current Position: 4th
Gladbach may have made one of the signings of the European season when they acquired the services of Max Kruse from Freiburg for just €2.5 million (that officially makes him 40 times less valuable than Gareth Bale, allegedly).
With a whole host of other top players, like Juan Arango, Raffael and Patrick Herrmann, the Foals look like they really might be able to secure a Champions League finish this year.
Currently sitting level on points with the mighty BVB, this stellar season only seems to keep getting better for the team from the Rhineland.
3. Bayer Leverkusen
Current Position: 2nd
Leverkusen didn't exactly win a lot of sympathy when the famous "goal that never was" went in against Hoffenheim.
Thankfully for Bayer, a good season in general has meant that this has not been the defining moment of their campaign so far.
Making it into the last 16 of the Champions League (despite a rather out of character home demolition at the hands of a poor Manchester United side), Leverkusen currently sit only four points off the pace at the top of the league.
While I do expect Dortmund to eventually haul back the six point gap and overtake Bayer, the side from the North of the Rhineland should easily make it into the group stages of the UCL once again next season.
2. Borussia Dortmund
Current Position: 3rd
After what was one of the best starts to a Bundesliga season that any side has ever made, Borussia Dortmund have gone on a shockingly bad run lately.
Narrowly avoiding going out in the group stages of the UCL, BVB really need to get their act together going forwards.
This reporter thinks that will happen—with that current gap to second place eventually being closed by the schwarz-gelbe.
However, already finding themselves a whopping 10 points off the pace of the league leaders, it seems as though a third title in four years in now out of the question.
1. Bayern Munich
Current Position: 1st
It's hardly a surprise to see Bayern here.
There isn't much that needs to be said about the dominance the Bavarian giants have shown over the past couple of years and—despite losing at home to Manchester City in the UCL this week—it appears this supreme form will continue as we go forwards.
Already at these incredibly early stages it feels like this is Bayern's title to throw away.
A home tie against Hamburg may see Bayern's ridiculous unbeaten run in the league continue further.
So, that was my list. What's yours?