The Bundesliga will celebrate its 59th anniversary when the 2021-22 season officially kicks off this week.
Bayern Munich looks like a heavy favourite to repeat as German champions, while traditional Bundesliga teams SV Werder Bremen and Schalke were both relegated at the end of the last term, which means this season will have a somewhat unfamiliar look.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2021-22 Bundesliga season.
How the Bundesliga works
The campaign kicks off on Aug. 13 and runs until May 12, 2022.
A lot of Europe’s top leagues consist of 20 clubs, but the Bundesliga only features 18 teams, which means each side will play 34 games (rather than 38), evenly split between home and away fixtures, and they will face each other twice.
The team that finished atop the table will be crowned German league champions, and will also qualify for the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League. Clubs that finish second through fourth in the final standings also book their spot in the Champions League. The fifth-place team qualifies for the 2022-23 UEFA Europa League.
The bottom-two teams will be automatically relegated to the German second division for 2022-23. The third-worst team will play a two-game playoff against the third-place side in Germany’s second division, with a spot in next season’s Bundesliga season at stake.
The title favourite
The big question going into the campaign is whether there’s a team out there that can slow down the juggernaut that is Bayern Munich, who are seeking to win their 10th Bundesliga championship in a row.
If recent history is anything to go by, the Bavarian giants should easily cake walk to the title again. They’ve won each of the last two Bundesliga seasons by a comfortable 13-point margin, and in 2017-18 they cruised to the title by topping second-place Schalke 04 by a whopping 21 points.