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A Mid-Season Bundesliga Recap

The Bundesliga recently played its seventeenth matchday marking the halfway point through the season. The German football league saw a hectic bout of performances before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup that saw football leagues around the world take a hiatus for the biggest stage of all. The Bundesliga, known for its fast gameplay, avid supporters, and young talent, has recently found a large fanbase in America. The league’s return has seen a plethora of action, although these results seem to be standardizing the league table.  

The Bundesliga is the top division of German football. A win grants a team three points, while a draw grants each team just one point. A loss means no points. The team with the most points is crowned champion at the end of the season. The teams in the bottom two spots are relegated to the second division and replaced by the top two teams from the 2nd Bundesliga. The third worst team plays the third best team from the second division in the relegation playoff to see who will play in the upper league the next season. The teams in the top seven spots qualify for European competition.

The current league standings see an all too familiar face sitting at the top. Bayern Munich, the German “Rekordmeister” hold the position after a strong string of performances balancing out a shaky start. The cult club of Union Berlin sit just three points behind last year’s champions. The Iron Ones of East Berlin saw themselves sitting at the top of the table for several weeks before slipping down recently. The small club continues to surprise many after only reaching the Bundesliga for the first time in 2019. They stand with their zealous supporters backing them. 

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Sharing the other two Champions League spots in the top four with them are clubs RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt. Both clubs come from winning titles last season with the DFB Pokal and UEFA Europa League, respectively. The two teams struggled early in the season but have since climbed the ranks after many good performances. Close behind them are Borussia Dortmund and SC Freiburg. Dortmund have been inconsistent after losing Norwegian striker Erling Haaland to Manchester City over the summer, that too paired with struggles in their defensive line. Freiburg continue their solid form from last season occupying the sixth position on the table, and in qualification for European competitions. The club from the Black Forest is also excelling in the Europa league. 

Among the midtable resides Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen, who both after horrendous starts have made their way back up the ladder. Wolfsburg closed out the first half with a 5-0 and a 6-0 victory skyrocketing them up seventh place. Leverkusen have turned around since the appointment of Spanish World Cup winner Xabi Alonso as manager. Behind them are Borussia Mönchengladbach who despite beating Munich early in the season have not been as compelling. It looks worse for them after losing their world class goalkeeper Yann Sommer.  

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Underneath them are FC Köln who have not lived up to last year’s quality. Still, the team is in a much better position than they have been throughout the past decade. Newly promoted Werder Bremen make their return after a yearlong spell in the Second Bundesliga. A season characterized by late comebacks has made them an exciting team to watch. Their success in part has been thanks to league leading goal scorer Niclas Füllkrug. The German striker who has spent most of his time in the second division has been having a dynamic season, even making his debut with the German National Team at the World Cup. Rounding out the midtable is Mainz. The small club brought to success by Jürgen Klopp resides in the same position they typically do each season.  

Further below sits Hoffenheim who despite coming from relative obscurity have made a name for themselves in the Bundesliga. However, over the past few seasons they have slowly slipped down the table. With them is Augsburg, who look to continue their decade long spell in the topflight. The team has never suffered relegation. 

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Among those in the relegation battle sit some giants of German football. Stuttgart and Bochum both sit low on sixteen points with the former in the relegation playoff spot based on a worse goal difference. Stuttgart have struggled most of the season even after a couple of electric performances at the beginning. Bochum has slowly started to improve and put in a few decent performances even after going winless in their first eight games.  

In the first guaranteed relegation place is the capitol club Hertha Berlin. The team that plays its home games in the Olympiastadion has found little success, and last season’s woes have only remained. Hertha has been outshined by Union, its smaller rival on the other side of the remnants of the wall, having lost to them in the Berlin Derby on the opening matchday and being on the opposite end of the table. At the bottom is Schalke, whose fall from grace has not ended even after winning the second division last season and gaining promotion a year after being relegated. They have fourteen points with only two wins and are in a dire situation. 

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There is plenty of time left for the trends of every team to shift dramatically. The monopoly of Bayern Munich seems uncertain with solid challenges from teams like Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig. Bundesliga matches can be watched on ESPN on weekend mornings for audiences in America. Below is the table of where results stood after Matchday 17.

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