2020-21 Bundesliga predictions: What’s next for Alphonso Davies?

Gene Principe is joined by Dan Riccio & Alex Seixeiro to preview the upcoming Bundesliga season. Including, can Alphonso Davies continue to get better, who can challenge Bayern Munich & more.

It’s been three months since Bayern Munich clinched their eighth straight Bundesliga title and nearly four weeks since Hansi Flick led his squad to Champions League glory, capping an incredible summer run under the most unusual of circumstances.

On Friday, Bayern looks to keep that momentum going as it kicks off the 2020-21 campaign at home against Schalke live on Sportsnet. And despite the accomplishments achieved by the club mere weeks ago, expectations remain sky-high for the Bavarian giants. Can any of their rivals knock Bayern off their perch?

Ahead of the start of a new season, Sportsnet’s soccer panelists weigh in with their predictions, including their picks for the top four, relegation, top scorer and more.

Also, listen to the latest episode of Sportsnet’s soccer podcast, A Kick In The Grass, as Jeff Blair and Dan Riccio preview the new season with radio co-commentator Chris Williams and discuss what Canadians can expect from Alphonso Davies in 2020-21.

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Stream Bundesliga matches as Germany's top soccer league returns to action for the 2020-21 season, including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund games.

JEFF BLAIR

Top four: 1) Bayern Munich, 2) Dortmund, 3) Bayer Leverkusen, 4) RB Leipzig
Relegated: Arminia Bielefeld, Mainz, Stuttgart (via playoff)
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich
Player to watch: Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich
Newcomer to keep tabs on: Florian Wirtz, Bayer Leverkusen

Storyline to watch: The first of the world’s major leagues to return from a COVID-19 lockdown will be watched carefully to see how it incorporates fans back into its stadiums. For Canadians, of course, the dominant storyline will be the continued growth of Alphonso Davies. In terms of the league itself? This could shape up as its least dramatic and most difficult season in a while. Financial issues have rocked even established teams like Schalke and the league has seen an exodus of talent. Just for argument’s sake, list the top-five newcomers in the Bundesliga. Throw Leroy Sane in there if you must. Good luck with the last two. Now, compare that to the list of players who have left. Managerial drama in Dortmund and a guessing game surrounding when Julian Nagelsmann leaves RB Leipzig and where he goes will be media mainstays.

PETER GALINDO

Top four: 1) Bayern Munich, 2) Dortmund, 3) Mönchengladbach, 4) RB Leipzig
Relegated: Arminia Bielefeld, Mainz
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich
Player to watch: Marcus Thuram, Mönchengladbach
Newcomer to keep tabs on: Jude Bellingham, Borussia Dortmund; OR Alexander Sorloth, RB Leipzig (if confirmed)

Storyline to watch: For the Canadian audience, there’s only one story and that’s Alphonso Davies. Davies will be Bayern’s starting left-back for the entire season, fitness pending. But there’ll be plenty to watch from the youngster. Improving his defensive positioning and anticipation should be atop his to-do list. Both shortcomings became an issue in the Champions League against quality attackers, but more reps should cure that.

The other question is his defensive partner in David Alaba, who is in a contract stalemate with Bayern. Alaba has been instrumental to Davies settling into his role, but should the Austrian leave before the closing of the transfer window, it could be tougher for Davies to bomb forward as often without Alaba cleaning up opposing counter-attacks down the Canadian’s flank.

The beautiful game has a new addition. Jeff Blair and Dan Riccio host A Kick In The Grass, a soccer podcast from Sportsnet.

DAN RICCIO

Top four: 1) Dortmund, 2) Bayern Munich, 3) RB Leipzig, 4) Mönchengladbach
Relegated: Schalke, Arminia Bielefeld
Top scorer: Erling Haaland, Dortmund
Player to watch: Giovanni Reyna, Dortmund
Newcomer to keep tabs on: Jude Bellingham, Dortmund

Storyline to watch: While everyone is picking Bayern to capture a ninth straight title, it will be Dortmund who finally finish top after a few close calls over the last couple of years. Jadon Sancho puts on a show for the football watching world collecting 20 goals and 20 assists, while Erling Haaland captures the golden boot. The celebration will be short-lived as the two star players get sold to Manchester United and Real Madrid, respectively, next summer.

ALEX SEIXEIRO

Top four: 1) Bayern Munich, 2) Dortmund, 3) RB Leipzig, 4) Mönchengladbach
Relegated: Arminia Bielefeld, Augsburg, Stuttgart (via playoff)
Top scorer: Erling Haaland, Dortmund
Player to watch: Giovanni Reyna, Dortmund
Newcomer to keep tabs on: Patrik Schick, Bayer Leverkusen

Storyline to watch: Will it be third place again for RB Leipzig? It probably will be. If Timo Werner stays, we’re not having this conversation, but with Werner off to Chelsea, Leipzig haven’t really replaced their No. 1 target man and for that reason alone, I don’t see them surpassing Borussia Dortmund. Julian Nagelsmann, who could be working in the Premier League this time next year, still has an extremely talented squad to work with and having the sought-after Dayot Upamecano remain at the club is vital, but Leipzig are a very young squad and I believe they lack consistency to finish runners-up to Bayern Munich.

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