We make five predictions for the remainder of the Bundesliga season
We make five predictions for the remainder of the Bundesliga season

Bundesliga: Five predictions for the remainder of the 2019/20 season

The Bundesliga is set to be the first major European league to return, with an announcement due this week on plans for games to resume.

At the top of the table, five teams have a chance of securing the title with Bayern Munich's current dominance under threat.

Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are the main contenders to de-throne the Bavarian side, while Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen remain the outsiders.

There was confirmation on Thursday that the Bundesliga season will resume on Saturday May 16.

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Just eight points separates Bayern in first and Bayer Leverkusen in fifth, whereas the Premier League sees a 25-point gap between first and second while nine points separates first and third in LaLiga.

Schake's poor form has opened up the potential of a top-six finish for those other teams in the top-half, with Wolfsburg and Freiburg just a single point behind.

At the other end, Paderborn and Werder Bremen will be hoping to drag themselves out of relegation trouble, although the bottom club have a ten-point gap between themselves and the safety of 15th.

Here, Tom Carnduff makes five predictions for what he expects to happen over the next nine gameweeks.

Bayern Munich to win the title...just

Bayern Munich are the defending Bundesliga champions
Bayern Munich are the defending Bundesliga champions

Yes, we're starting off with the hugely surprising prediction that Bayern Munich will secure the Bundesliga title.

The past eight seasons have hardly been a struggle for the Bavarian giants as they finished first in every campaign but they're no longer enjoying the previous comforts.

The days of Bayern winning the league with a comfortable points margin seem over and the competitive nature of those below them has seen that gap close.

Last season, they won the title with a two-point margin over Borussia Dortmund in second. Prior to that, they'd be winning the league with at least ten more points than the runners-up - the biggest being 25 back in 2013.

The 2019/20 campaign has seen them under threat from four other sides, although only Dortmund and RB Leipzig hold a serious chance of winning the title.

Bayern have an away fixture with Dortmund while there is also a trip to Leverkusen, who are currently fifth. They also welcome Borussia Monchengladbach; outsiders in the battle for top spot but a team who travel well and can pick up points on the road.

Hansi Flick's side have a four-point cushion over second and that should be enough of a head start to get them over the line.

However, it will be tense. There's a very strong possibility that the game against Dortmund will end in defeat and the other fixtures against those at the top could go either way.

Leipzig and Dortmund facing each other on the penultimate game of the season is an ideal situation for the current champions and they should retain their crown. It will be a lot closer than they would have hoped for though.

Koln to secure a top-six spot

Celebrations for Dominick Drexler and Koln
Celebrations for Dominick Drexler and Koln

The current top-five are in a division of their own, such is the significance of ten-point gap that separates them with the rest of the league, but the final European spot is still up for grabs with a number of clubs in contention.

Schalke currently sit in sixth but their form since the winter break, and even in the weeks before it, suggest that they aren't equipped to hold onto their current position.

Wolfsburg and Freiburg will probably hold the most confidence when it comes to grabbing that Europa League spot but Koln could spring a surprise by moving up from tenth into the top-six in nine games' time.

They are one of the form sides in the division. A look at the table since Markus Gisdol took over in November would have Koln sitting fifth with 25 points gained from 14 games.

The only defeats they have suffered this side of the winter break came against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach - three of the current top-four in the league.

Koln's remaining home games see them come up against Mainz, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, four games that will be viewed as very winnable, while they also welcome title-chasing RB Leipzig to the RheinEnergieStadion.

Visits to Hoffenheim, Augsburg and Werden Bremen are also favourable away fixtures and, even accounting for probable defeat away at Bayer Leverkusen, Koln could accumulate enough points to surge into sixth place in the table.

Erling Haaland to be the top goalscorer (over the nine games)

Erling Haaland goals for Borussia Dortmund

Erling Haaland was the most-wanted player during the January transfer window and it's a serious statement of Borussia Dortmund's current status that they were the ones who won his signature.

We already knew of the talent the striker possessed from his prolific showings at Red Bull Salzburg during the first part of the campaign but his efforts in Germany have taken everyone by surprise.

Haaland netted a hat-trick on his Dortmund debut. An incredible achievement made even better by the fact that he was introduced as a 56th minute substitute and would be a significant influence on the final result.

In total, his record stands at nine goals in eight Bundesliga games. His total tally for the season is 40 in 33 appearances across all competitions.

He's now starting games and it's difficult to see that scoring record suddenly plummeting - even with the fact he has failed to score in his last two league outings.

Dortmund's remaining fixture list is ideal for goals and, with nine games left, Haaland has all the potential to better the nine goals scored over a similar period since his January switch.

There's a big derby against Schalke, which should end up as a win for the team in yellow given their home form and Schalke's poor showings since the winter break. Then there's Wolfsburg, whose form has been better but their overall record at home leaves a lot to be desired.

Beyond that, they take on a Paderborn side who have struggled throughout the season, particularly at home, while Mainz and Hertha Berlin will be targeted as games that must end in victory.

There are some strong contenders to be the top goalscorer over this third part of the campaign, Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner will be fancied, but the value is with Haaland given his incredible performances already.

Augsburg to finish in the bottom-three

Augsburg have struggled since the winter break
Augsburg have struggled since the winter break

Augsburg were enjoying the current Bundesliga campaign but their form since the winter break has been worrying.

Their only victory came against Werder Bremen, who have struggled throughout the season, with six of their eight games ending in defeat.

In fact, the eight-game table since the winter break would have Augsburg in last place. Their record is only matched by the current bottom two, Bremen and Paderborn, although Augsburg have the worst goal difference.

Their remaining fixtures are hardly a confidence booster either. They still have to play Wolfsburg, RB Leipzig and Koln - who are the form side in the division.

There are also the crucial games against Mainz, Paderborn and Dusseldorf. Augsburg may have a five-point gap between themselves and 16th, but that will soon disappear if their current form continues.

Part of the reason behind their current position is their away record. They are a side who don't travel well and have picked up just nine points from a possible 39 on the road.

That's worrying when the games against Mainz and Dusseldorf are away. They are the two sides in the spots immediately below them in the division and you'd back home victories in those based on recent form.

The Bundesliga play-offs is likely to put them up against Stuttgart or Hamburg. You'd back the current 2. Bundesliga promotion chasers across two legs.

Fortuna Dusseldorf to concede the most goals

Hertha Berlin celebrate a goal against Fortuna Dusseldorf
Hertha Berlin celebrate a goal against Fortuna Dusseldorf

They are one of the sides looking to avoid finishing in the bottom-three this season and they have the lowest amount of goals conceded among the teams in the bottom-five.

That's not to say Fortuna Dusseldorf's defensive record has been great with 50 goals in their against column and a goal difference of -23.

Fortuna's fixture list looks tough, although you would back them to potentially get the points they need when they meet the likes of Augsburg and Paderborn who are around them in the table.

They've still got to face Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig which, considering two of the three games are away from home, could see their defensive record take a hammering.

The three sides named above have combined for 203 goals scored this season which makes for worrying reading for a team battling against the drop.

We're focusing on those three fixtures but Koln have also proven to be high scorers over the last ten games. The 25 goals they have scored is only bettered by Bayern and Dortmund.

For what it's worth, we're backing Fortuna to sneak out of the bottom-three with results against those around them but their goal difference could look ugly at the end of the season.

Given that fixture list, it's worth backing them to concede the most goals over the next nine games.

Odds correct at 1750 BST (08/05/20)

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