Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are the two teams with the best chances of winning the Bundesliga if bwin’s title betting market is anything to go by. The Bavarians are 11/20 favourites to win their 23rd top-flight crown, with Dortmund priced at 9/2 to make it two titles in a row. Of the remaining 16 teams, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke look the best placed to mount a challenge with respective odds of 11/1 and 15/1. Here, news.bwin.com/en/ assesses the hopes of the four main championship contenders.
Team: Bayern Munich Title odds: 11/20
Ominously for the other contenders, Bayern Munich have not gone without winning the title for two straight years since securing the league crown in 1997. As Dortmund came top last season, the chances are Bayern will therefore be at the summit come the end of the 2011-12 campaign. However, it is not only history that Bayern can count on – the Bavarian giants have also invested heavily over the summer to improve their championship prospects. Although they had the best attack in the league last year, Bayern’s defence often let them down. With this in mind, they have added German number one Manuel Neuer, former Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng and ex-Genoa right-back Rafinha to their ranks. With former title-winning coach Jupp Heynckes back at the helm, Bayern look well placed to win title number 23.
Team: Borussia Dortmund Title odds: 9/2
Dortmund romped to the title last year, beating nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen by seven points and Bayern Munich by ten. At first glance, they appear to be weaker this season than they were last time around, with star midfielder Nuri Sahin having left this summer to join up with Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. However, Ilkay Gundogan has been added to the squad to compensate for Sahin’s loss and the Dortmund squad is still packed with quality. With Shinji Kagawa fit – the Japanese attacking midfielder missed much of the latter half of last season with a broken metatarsal – the Dortmund attack is likely to be as potent as ever. And as die Borussen had the best defence last year, they could yet be good outside bets to hold onto their crown.
Team: Bayer Leverkusen Title odds: 11/1
Bayer Leverkusen finished second in the Bundesliga last season, although the loss of Arturo Vidal to Juventus this summer has hit their chances of going one better this time around. The Chilean will prove difficult to replace after top-scoring for the club with ten goals from midfield. German international forward Andre Schurrle has been brought in to assume some of the goalscoring burden, although this is unlikely to enable Leverkusen to overhaul Dortmund and stay ahead of a reinvigorated Bayern Munich. As such, securing their place in the top four looks to be the best the five-times Bundesliga runners-up can hope for.
Team: Schalke Title odds: 15/1
After finishing second in 2010, Schalke had a disastrous campaign last season and only narrowly avoided relegation. However, drastic changes have been made over the summer in a bid to ensure they are challenging for top honours again this year. Ralf Rangnick has overseen his first pre-season in charge and a high player turnover is set to be combined with a new tactical masterplan in a bid to boost Die Knappen’s chances. But with so much ground to make up, it could be 2012-13 before Schalke can mount a realistic title challenge.
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