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Looking Around the League: Bringing the Hinrunde to a Close

Let’s take a little look at the Bundesliga at the (almost) halfway stage.

1. FC Union Berlin v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

The first half of the Bundesliga season has come to an end (well, we’re actually one game short of halfway but who is counting?), and while Borussia Dortmund fans are feeling pretty down about how this season is going, it is good to remember how much worse things could get. Thanks to FC Köln for gifting us a little perspective during the festive period:

Since losing to Union Berlin, Köln have now parted ways with their longtime coach Steffen Baumgart. It’s sad to see a coach that has been such a great representative of a particular club, as is the case with Baumgart and Köln, lose their job, but I can understand the club’s decision. They’re at real risk of being relegated!

Anyway, here are the results from the final matchday of the Hinrunde, matchday 16:

Results

Werder Bremen 1-1 RB Leipzig

Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Mainz

Hoffenheim 3-3 Darmstadt

Union Berlin 2-0 FC Köln

Leverkusen 4-0 VfL Bochum

Frankfurt 2-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Heidenheim 3-2 Freiburg

VfB Stuttgart 3-0 Augsburg

Wolfsburg 1-2 Bayern Munich

Standings

A Hinrunde Roundup

Having wrapped up the Hinrunde, now is as good a time as any to take stock and look at the Bundesliga as a whole at the (almost) halfway point.

Bayer Leverkusen are still going strong at the top of the table. It is always difficult to look past Bayern Munich, who are just four points behind Leverkusen with a game in hand and a much stronger xGD/90, but Leverkusen are genuinely very good, so I think we’ve got a real title race here.

Stuttgart are probably on the fringe of that title race, and if both Leverkusen and Bayern slip they could find themselves right back in the mix, but that seems unlikely to happen at this point. Either way, I think they’re a pretty solid bet for top four.

Which brings us to the depressing part of this roundup, as Dortmund fans. There’s probably only one place up for grabs in the top four, maybe two if you’re not high on Stuttgart, and RB Leipzig and BVB are the two teams chasing that spot. If I was pushed to make a prediction, I certainly wouldn’t be backing Dortmund!

We won’t waste much time on the vast abyss of nothingness between the top four and the bottom three, because I’m enjoying the Christmas period and I have better things to do, like eating or drinking far too much, but Heidenheim have completely smashed anyone’s expectation of them going into the season (though I’d expect them to start to drop down the table in the second half of the season).

Finally, this season’s relegation race is not looking great so far. Darmstadt and Köln currently occupy the two automatic relegation spots, and unless Köln turn things round with a new manager, I wouldn’t bet on anyone else being in the bottom two come the end of the season. The most likely source of a race at the bottom of the table will be the playoff spot. While Mainz occupy that spot right now, with Union Berlin just above them, I’d be surprised if either are here come the end of the season. Instead, Werder Bremen and Bochum seem the strongest candidates to find themselves with a couple extra games at the end of the season.

So there we have it. Things might be looking pretty dire for Dortmund, but at least there’s a little bit of intrigue elsewhere in the Bundesliga. I’m off to eat cauliflower cheese piled on top of chicken dippers. Merry Christmas.


Your Thoughts?

What is your highlight from this season’s Hinrunde?