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Bundesliga: Top Clubs’ Biggest Issues Upon Return to Play

This season’s Bundesliga title race was shaping up to be the most exciting in recent years. While Bayern Munich made their charge back up to the top of the table, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are still within striking distance of the champions.

The Bundesliga now has plans to restart the season at the start of May, so the top sides are on the clock to get ready to play once again.

But what are the pressing issues the top title contenders could potentially face once they return from this extended break? SBOTOP goes in-depth on those issues that could make or break those teams’ title chances.

 

Bayern Munich – Momentum

Everything was going so swimmingly for Bayern before the pause in play. The Bavarians had an 11-match unbeaten run (10 wins, one draw) going in the league. They even thrashed Hoffenheim 6-0 away despite missing star striker Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski was set to miss four weeks due to a knee injury, but he should be all ready to return once the season restarts. With Lewandowski back in the mix, it’s honestly tough to see what sort of issues Bayern might encounter upon their return.

The biggest challenge Bayern will likely face is getting that groove back after the extended break. They were playing their best football of the season as they got more familiar with manager Hansi Flick’s system, although it could take some time to rediscover that form.

But even if they aren’t demolishing opponents by five or six goals right away, they still have more than enough quality to continue grinding out results. Their defence has stabilised after some early-season issues due to some injuries.

Speaking of, Bayern could have centre-back Niklas Sule back after his knee injury, which is another hidden blessing of the break in play.

The Bundesliga 2020 odds have Bayern installed as major title favourites for a reason: they are a complete and experienced team with very few pressing issues, which is why it won’t be much of a surprise if they pick up where they left off.

Lucien Favre’s Borussia Dortmund sit 2nd in the Bundesliga table with 51 points
Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre on the pitch before the match which will be played behind closed doors

Borussia Dortmund – Defence

Prior to the break in play, Dortmund had finally overtaken Leipzig for second spot on the back of four wins on the bounce.

Lucien Favre’s side kept a clean sheet in three of those matches, which was a promising sign considering their serious defensive issues.

The arrival of Emre Can helped significantly in terms of solidifying the midfield and providing extra protection for the defence.

The big question now is whether that was merely a blip or if Dortmund’s defensive issues have been well and truly solved.

If it’s the former, then Dortmund will need to continue to rely on their talented attack led by Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho to bail them out. After a sizzling start to his Dortmund career, Haaland’s goals slowly began to dry up. He went scoreless in his last three games before the break.

Luckily, though, captain Marco Reus should be set to return after injury. Reus missed the team’s last few games pre-break, including their second-leg defeat to PSG in the Champions League.

But if Dortmund can prove that their defence has made big progress, then BVB should be a legitimate challenger to Bayern’s title.

 

RB Leipzig – Confidence

Leipzig’s status as serious title contenders looked over after a disastrous stretch which saw them draw four of their last six Bundesliga matches. As a result, they’ve dropped all the way down to third in the table.

Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann’s main job now is to restore some confidence in his squad and get them playing with the swagger they had at the start of the season once again.

Nagelsmann will also need to concentrate his efforts on Timo Werner, whose dip in form was particularly concerning. The Red Bulls’ top scorer with 21 league goals saw his Bundesliga 2020 highlights dry up as he found the net just once in his previous seven league matches. Hopefully, this break was just what Werner needed to snap out of his slide.

But a side with the attacking talent that Leipzig have really shouldn’t be relying on Werner as much. The likes of Patrik Schick, Yussuf Poulsen, Christopher Nkunku, and Marcel Sabitzer are more than capable of carrying their share of the attacking load.

They didn’t do that in Leipzig’s last few games, though, which resulted in their slide down the standings. The spotlight will now be on Nagelsmann to show why he’s one of the top young managers in Europe and get the Red Bulls back to title contention.

 

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