Bayern no longer Bundesliga top favourites as Leipzig gain ground
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BERLIN - Bayern Munich are no longer the big title favourite to
win an eighth straight Bundesliga title when the season restarts on
the weekend, with leaders RB leipzig now a hot contender.
Officials from five of the 18 clubs have rated Leipzig top contender
to lift the trophy on May 16, five still be believe in third-placed
Bayern, Paderborn coach Steffen Baumgart would put his money on
second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, while the others expect a
tight title race between several teams.
Leipzig command the standings two points ahead of Gladbach, with
Bayern another two behind while Borussia Dortmund and Schalke are
seven points off the top.
"RB Leipzig are now favourites," Gladbach sports director Max Eberl
said, putting the pressure on the eastern Germans just as Munich
coach Hansi Flick, and sports directors Michael Zorc of Dortmund and
Jochen Schneider of Schalke.
"Leipzig deserve to be top four points ahead (of Munich)," Flick
said. "The Bundesliga is balanced for the first time in a long while.
My team has the will to reverse matters."
Zorc said Leipzig appear "more stable" than in the past but added
"Bayern are always there" to pounce. Schneider's simple answer on the
favourite was "RB Leipzig."
Bayern lifted the last seven trophies, often already far ahead of the
pack in the hibernation period, and several including sports
directors Jochen Saier of Freiburg and Simon Rolfes of Leverkusen
believe the Bavarians will eventually be top again.
"Regardless of the current standings Bayern have the strongest squad
and the biggest chance. But it won't be easy," Rolfes said.
Others would not pick a favourite, such as Hoffenheim sports director
Alexander Rosen who said: "The greatest thing for all football fans
is that the outcome is completely open."