The season is almost over and Axel Falk tries to look at what this turbulent season might mean for a few clubs.
It has been a turbulent season for the guys in black and yellow, but the future does look bright. I was always going to be wrong when I claimed Dortmund would be the champions this season, it was a hopeful guess. However, they've fought well and having to endure unjustice from DFL, terror attacks and an inner power struggle, they seem to be able to take on anything. The club from Rühr has a bright future, maybe one of the brightest of all clubs in the world. They've got some great talent, but still have the money and the power to be able to keep most of their stars. If they can keep hold of their team, maybe only losing Aubameyang (if that), they will give Bayern a proper run for the title come next season.
It's all about Nagelsmann. If he stays, they could reach the knockout rounds of Champions League, but if he leaves, they could be facing a relegation battle next term. That's how even the Bundesliga is and that's how good Nagelsmann is. I mean, he's transformed Adam Szalai into a reliable goalscorer. If that doesn't convibce you of his quality, I don't know what will! Nagelsmann tacticts has made him a wanted man and his calm nature can turn even the wildest of squads into a proper 'mannschaft'. Hoffenheim, a team that fought the drop last April are now all but confirmed for the Champions League next season, an astonishing feat that can't be overestimated or overrated. One should not forget that Hoffenheim is a club backed by SAP and that "Hoffe" do have some money to spend. They will need to replace Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy quickly. Having already signed Florian Grillitsch from Werder Bremen, they will still need a quality centre-back to be able to fight on both fronts noch einmal. If they are able to keep their team, despite lurking bigger clubs, next season could become even more spectacular for TSG from the beautiful Heidelberg.
The Bavarians with the best hymn in Bavaria, trust me, it's amazing, have some work to do. It all depends on how this season turns out. Judging from their form and their schedule, one would suspect them heading for the drop, but the other big candidates for the drop, FC Ingolstadt (FCA's rivals), are extremely hard to predict. Both teams have suffered this season. They've fired managers, Augsburg's Dirk Schuster was fired on loose grounds, and have had lapses of horrible form. Augsburg are right now in their worst form this season and will desperately need to turn it around yesterday. Editor Ali Haggis soft spot in Bundesliga might just be going down for the first time in their history. If they do, they will stay there. If they manage to stay up, then they can continue to build. It's all about that drop.
Hamburg, Hamburg, Hamburg. The enigma of German football. Despite one of the worst starts to a season in Bundesliga history, they might still, probably, prevail once again. They might even avoid play-off. After a terrible autumn, their spring has been much much better and they are one of the best teams this Rückrunde. Players like Bobby Wood, Lewis Holtby and even Aaron Hunt have started to show why they play for one of the biggest clubs in Germany and their continued form will be pivotal for their success and the club's future. Because if HSV go down, if they finally get relegated, they will probably stay there for a few years. Sure, a rebuild might be positive, but they will loose much of what HSV is. The Dino won't be as big a dino as before, their fear factor will be washed away like a sand castle after a tidal wave and HSV's players will jump ship. But if they manage to prevail once again, the rebuild will be less negative and the club's personality won't be in peril. It's all about that drop.
No history, no tradition, but still second. They are the rule breakers, the opinion dividers, the influencers and the main antagonist in the amazing story of the 16/17 season. Their future success is more or less guaranteed. As long as RB don't pull out, they will have the money to strengthen even further and will still be able to keep their key players. Next season's success is down to a few factors. How well will they manage both Bundesliga and Champions League? We've seen examples of their debatable depth and that's where they will need strengthening. Hasenhüttl looks set to stay and the sensational lads from Saxonia are set for another monster season. I can't see any signs of them slowing down. Knowing my prediction luck, I'm probably wrong.
editor and the "Enigma of Sturefors"