Last season was a poor one by Bayern Munich’s standards: not only did the Bavarian giants miss out on a 23rd Bundesliga title but they also finished outside the top two for the first time in four years.
However, you need to look much further back in news.bwin.com/en/’s Stats Centre to find the last time Jupp Heynckes’ men finished outside the top four.
Not since 1995, when Borussia Dortmund won the title, have Bayern finished the season outside the first four places.
This helps to explain why Germany’s most successful team are as short as 1/50 to finish in the top four this season.
Dortmund, who won the title for the third time since their 1995 triumph last season, are also odds-on to finish in the Bundesliga top four, as are Bayer Leverkusen.
Die Borussen are 3/10 to follow up their title success with a top-four finish, while last year’s runners-up Bayer Leverkusen are 11/20 to finish in the top four for the third consecutive campaign.
With this in mind, it appears likely that Schalke, Wolfsburg, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen will be battling it out for the one remaining place in the top four.
Of these five teams, Schalke appear the most likely to secure a place in the Champions League.
The Gelsenkirchen-based side are priced at 23/20 to finish in the top four in bwin’s football betting market.
This means that a successful £25 free bet on Schalke to be one of Germany’s four best teams, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £53.75.
Die Knappen only finished 14th last season, although a German Super Cup win against Borussia Dortmund earlier this month suggested they are better equipped to challenge at the top of the table this time around.
Wolfsburg will also be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2010-11 campaign.
The 2009 Bundesliga champions finished the season in 15th, fired two managers and sold star striker Edin Dzeko to Manchester City.
The return of Felix Magath offers hope of a return to past glories, while the addition of a new striker – which Magath has prioritised – should also boost their chances of finishing higher up the table.
Meanwhile, the cases for Hamburg, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen look equally strong, with their odds of finishing in the top four priced at 13/4, 7/2 and 15/4 respectively.
However, it appears that Hannover, the team who finished fourth in the table last season, are out of the running with odds of 15/1.
This gives them a similar chance of finishing in the top four as Borussia Monchengladbach, who finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga table last season.
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