Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski holds the trophy after winning the Bundesliga title after the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and FC Augsburg at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany, Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Sven Hoppe, Pool via AP)
- Nine-time defending champion Bayern Munich enters the new Bundesliga season as a heavy -500 favorite to make it ten straight
- Last season’s runner-up RB Leipzig is third favorite at +1100, behind second-favorite Borussia Dortmund, which finished third in 2020-21
- Read on for a look at the upcoming 2021-22 campaign, full odds and a best bet to claim the title
Juventus couldn’t do it. Even more surprisingly, neither could Celtic. Breaking into double figures when it comes to winning consecutive domestic league titles is seemingly harder than it looks, and entering the 2021-22 European soccer season, it is now Bayern Munich’s turn to try to win a tenth title on the trot.
Given the season that just wrapped up, when Bayern finished 13 points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig, it’s not all that surprising to see it start out as a massive -500 favorite in the Bundesliga odds, even with a new manager in Julian Nagelsmann and the departures of leaders such as David Alaba, who is joining Real Madrid after a glittering career in red.
2021-22 Bundesliga Odds
|1. FC Union Berlin||+30000|
|1. FC Köln||+50000|
Odds as of June 3 at DraftKings
Can Bayern Be Stopped?
This is the million-dollar question posed at the start of every campaign in Germany’s top flight, and for nine consecutive seasons the answer has been simple: No.
It hasn’t even been particularly close, with the Bavarian giant finishing an average of 14.22 points clear of the runners-up during that span. The closest anyone has got to dethroning the champions is 2018-19, when Borussia Dortmund finished just two points behind them. But in what was clearly an anomaly, that was the only season in which the gap between first and second wasn’t in double figures.
Sit back and enjoy the rollercoaster that is your club’s 2020/21 #Bundesliga season! 🎢📊 pic.twitter.com/Z8zGeLQMLS
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 24, 2021
Dortmund has also been the most consistent challenger – if that’s an appropriate word – finishing second to Bayern five times during this spell of dominance, with RB Leipzig (twice), Schalke and Wolfsburg also managing it.
UEFA Euro 2020 Odds Tracker
If Bayern fans are looking for warning signs, they might want to look at what happened to Juventus this past season. After wrapping up a ninth-straight scudetto in Italy with the lowest point total of its run of success, Juventus brought in a younger coach (Andrea Pirlo) and promptly saw its Serie A dominance come to an end.
Passion, fashion and entertaining football…
Exciting times ahead for @FCBayern with @J__Nagelsmann 👊#UCL https://t.co/S1Nd05XF2v pic.twitter.com/z2hIGyCpf9
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 27, 2021
Bayern’s 2020-21 point total of 78 was the joint-lowest total of its nine-season run.
Are There Any Weaknesses?
On paper, yes. Last season, Bayern conceded 44 league goals, the most it has given up since 1995-96. However, the incoming head coach, Nagelsmann, presided over a RB Leipzig team last term that conceded a Bundesliga-low 32 goals, doing it mostly with a three-man back line.
Love my additional baggage. ❤️
What a journey it has been! @FCBayern pic.twitter.com/Ml7V5EqWKK
— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) May 27, 2021
With defense being the area that Munich will be most heavily altering for the upcoming season, it will give Nagelsmann the chance to perform some heavy surgery there, and given his past success, who would bet against him? With both Alaba and Jerome Boateng leaving, along with defensive midfielder Javi Martinez, fresh blood will be the order of the day.
Julian Nagelsmann prefers to play a three at the back system and would like to have another alternative at centre-back following the departure of Alaba and Boateng. Niklas Süle’s future is also uncertain [Bild]
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 30, 2021
The team has made a head-start in that area, signing Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig – another loss for the runners-up, who also saw defender Ibrahima Konate leave for Liverpool.
Are There Contenders Or Pretenders?
Given the losses that RB Leipzig has had to absorb, going into the new campaign shorn of two of its main center backs, along with its manager, it seems unreasonable to expect former New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch to come in an sustain a credible title challenge in his first season in the Bundesliga when he officially takes over from Nagelsmann on July 1.
RB Leipzig sold Dayot Upamecano (22) and Ibrahima Konaté (22) for €83M.
They’re already replaced them with Josko Gvardiol (19) and Mohamed Simakan (21) for €34M.
Amazing work from RB Leipzig. 😍👏 pic.twitter.com/iUwKzKNQmI
— Pro Future Stars (@ProFutureStars1) May 28, 2021
The likely challenge will come from Dortmund – if one is to come at all – although it will have to be far more consistent than it was last season, under interim manager Edin Terzic. Marco Rose is coming in from Borussia Mönchengladbach, and will be joining a team that finished the season on a high, wrapping up qualification for next year’s Champions League by winning its last seven league games.
🐝 @ErlingHaaland got 27 #Bundesliga goals for @BlackYellow in 2020/21 – and surely none better than the first of these! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/PXK9BZy0Y8
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 30, 2021
Given the effect that the pandemic will have on big-money transfers this off-season, Dortmund will likely return with Erling Haaland up front, ably abetted by the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Gio Reyna. Combined with the aging but still effective Marco Reus, that should provide more than enough firepower to keep Dortmund in the hunt.
Robert Lewandowski is voted Bundesliga Player of the Season and Jude Bellingham the Newcomer of the Season by the German professional footballer’s union 🏆 pic.twitter.com/y5tB9Z909s
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 2, 2021
It might not be enough to dethrone the champions, but if anyone is going to do it, it will be Dortmund.
Best Bet: Dortmund (+700)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.