Next season’s Bundesliga schedule has been officially release aaaand, someone at the DFL must hate Thomas Tuchel, because there’s no other explanation for this. Bayern Munich have a grueling schedule to start the season, which could honestly see the former Chelsea coach fired by October if he isn’t careful.
Here, take a look for yourself.
In case that graphic is too confusing to read (because honestly, who makes a list like that?) here is the whole thing in order:
MD1: Werder Bremen (Away)
MD2: Augsburg (Home)
MD3: Gladbach (Away)
MD4: Bayer Leverkusen (Home)
MD5: VfL Bochum (Home)
MD6: RB Leipzig (Away)
MD7: SC Freiburg (Home)
MD8: Mainz (Away)
MD9: Darmstadt (Home)
MD10: Borussia Dortmund (Away)
MD11: Heidenheim (Home)
MD12: Köln (Away)
MD13: Union Berlin (Home)
MD14: Frankfurt (Away)
MD15: Stuttgart (Home)
MD16: Wolfsburg (Away)
MD17: Hoffenheim (Home)
Reverse the home and away order for the second half of the season. The Winter Break will take place between matchday 16 and 17, from December 20 to January 16.
Now here’s a breakdown of why the early season is so treacherous this year:
- Matchday 1 vs Bremen: This is usually a win for Bayern, so a good way to start the season. Not an issue.
- Matchday 2 vs Augsburg: Here’s where the problems start. Augsburg are a team that routinely cause Bayern Munich problems, though facing them at home alleviates that somewhat. However, they also become the third team Bayern will face after the winter break, in an away game, so things could get tricky in the Ruckrunde.
- Matchday 3 vs Gladbach: Oh god. What did we do to deserve this? Facing Gladbach early is annoying because it’s basically -3 points from the get go. Last year we saw the Gladbach game dent the team’s confidence and precipitate a string of draws that saw Bayern slide down the table — it might happen again.
- Matchday 4 vs Bayer Leverkusen: Xabi Alonso caused the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann and he could to it to Thomas Tuchel as well — his Kusen team is no joke. After games vs Augsburg and Gladbach, you absolutely do NOT want a hard fought game versus Leverkusen in the fixture list.
- Matchday 5 vs Bochum: A breather game. Phew.
- Matchday 6 vs RB Leipzig: After what happened last time, Thomas Tuchel better be wary of facing RB Leipzig. Given the way the fixture list is shaping up, Bayern could walk into this game anywhere between six or nine points off the pace. Given that this is also Leipzig’s away game, it adds another layer of pressure. Lose here, and suddenly things start to fall apart completely.
- Matchday 7 vs SC Freiburg: The hits keep coming. Leipzig followed by Freiburg is NOT an easy jump to make, and Tuchel will have Champions League fixtures to deal with by this point so he can’t afford to rest or rotate his XI. If Bayern are still experiencing hiccups at this stage, it threatens to spill over into multiple competitions.
- Matchday 8 vs Mainz: Mainz away is always a tricky fixture. Again, a poor start would give Bayern zero breathing room to recover.
- Matchday 9 vs Darmstadt: Potentially a breather, though newly promoted teams tend to be scrappy.
- Matchday 10 vs Borussia Dortmund: Putting Dortmund right in the middle of the schedule means that Der Klassiker will not be decisive for the title. Either team can afford to lose here and still have several matchdays to make up the points later.
After this, Bayern’s schedule stabilizes a little, with mostly mid-table teams except for Union Berlin. So basically the months of August, September, and October will be a gauntlet of games where each matchday could push the squad to the limit if they’re not careful.
If Thomas Tuchel is unable to get his team off to a bright start, then things could go off the rails very quickly. Two points dropped vs Augsburg could easily turn into 15-18 points dropped by the time the Klassiker rolls around, if the team doesn’t come out of the gates swinging. We could see a repeat of the annual Bayern “Autumn Crisis” where the coach’s actions are questioned — this often coincides with formation changes, nonsensical lineups, and Thomas Muller being benched.
It would be nice to have a season where that DOESN’T happen, but given the way Tuchel ended things last season, it’s best to not have high expectations. There’s also the question of the new striker and how he’ll fit in with the team — even if it’s someone like Harry Kane, if your opening games feature teams like Augsburg and Gladbach, you’re gonna have a rough start.
The only way forward is to get everything locked in from the very start. Tuchel, however, seems like he’s going to experiment. Let’s see where all of this leads.