Who will win the Bundesliga title in 2023-24? Which clubs will qualify for the Champions League and who will be scrapping for survival this season? We look at all the key questions with our German Bundesliga 2023-24 season predictions via our trusty Opta supercomputer.
Bundesliga Season Predictions: The Quick Hits
Favourites for the Title: Bayern Munich to win a 12th successive Bundesliga.
Top Four Favourites: RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen to chase Bayern.
Relegation Favourites: SV Darmstadt 98 and FC Augsburg.
We tasked the Opta supercomputer with simulating the 2023-24 Bundesliga season 10,000 times to see how it believed the campaign may pan out.
Across those results, 11 of the 18 Bundesliga teams won the league title at least once – but it won’t surprise anyone to hear that record champions Bayern Munich won it in over half of those simulations. Mainz and Stuttgart fans can dream. Yes, you both won the Bundesliga once across our 10,000 pre-season simulations.
With many German football fans recovering from the dramatic final day in 2022-23, we look at all the key findings from the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations of the 2023-24 German Bundesliga season.
Who Will Win the Bundesliga in 2023-24?
The good news for Bayern Munich fans is that the Opta supercomputer simulations make you the favourites to win a 12th successive Bundesliga title in 2023-24. Across the 10,000 simulations before a ball is kicked in the Bundesliga, Bayern won the league in over half (52.4%).
The bad news? The unimpressive 3-0 defeat to RB Leipzig in the German Supercup last weekend got a big reaction from the supercomputer. Before that game – and despite the arrival of Harry Kane from Spurs – Bayern’s chances of winning the league in 2023-24 were rated at 69.3%. That’s a fall of 16.9%.
Thomas Tuchel took over at Bayern in late March 2023, replacing Julian Nagelsmann in the dugout. Despite defeating rivals Borussia Dortmund in his first game in charge on 1 April, Bayern won 19 of a possible 27 points with him in charge – that was fewer than RB Leipzig (21) over the same timeframe.
It’s Leipzig that follow Bayern in the pre-season title contenders list, having finished as champions in a third of the pre-season Opta supercomputer simulations (33.3%).
The biggest question mark over RB Leipzig is how they’ll cope with losing three key players over the summer to Premier League clubs: Christopher Nkunku to Chelsea, Dominik Szoboszlai to Liverpool and Josko Gvardiol to Manchester City. Judging by Saturday night’s Supercup performance, they’ll cope just fine.
Tuchel eventually led Bayern to the title last season, but that arguably had more to do with Borussia Dortmund’s inability to get over the line. In the end, 71 points was enough to seal first place – the fewest points by a Bundesliga champion since 2009-10, when Bayern won it with a 70-point total.
Dortmund went into the final game of the season at home to Mainz knowing that a win would assure them of their first league title since 2011-12. They could only manage a 2-2 draw, while Bayern secured a late 2-1 win at Köln to steal the title on goal difference. It was the first time since 1999-00 that the second-place team overtook the league leaders on the final matchday of the season to become champions.
Unsurprisingly, BVB’s title chances stood at 84.6% ahead of the final round of games according to the Opta supercomputer – those chances are drastically lower ahead of the opening matchday in 2023-24, with Borussia Dortmund given a 12.2% chance of claiming the title.
One of Bayern, RB Leipzig or Dortmund won the Bundesliga title across 97.9% of pre-season simulations by the Opta supercomputer, so the chances another club goes on to win in 2023-24 seems extremely unlikely. However, shock title wins by Bayer Leverkusen (92 times), Union Berlin (57) and Freiburg (28) did happen in the sims, as well as wins by Eintracht Frankfurt (15), Wolfsburg (11), Gladbach (3) and the single title victories by Mainz and Stuttgart. Fans can dream, can’t they?
Who Will Qualify for the Champions League?
Unsurprisingly, the three title rivals are all favoured by the Opta supercomputer simulations in the race for the highly demanded UEFA Champions League places.
Across the 10,000 simulations, Bayern Munich only finished outside the top four in 1.5% of them. That’s a very unlikely event indeed, but it’s still more statistically likely than being struck by lightning. The last time Bayern finished outside the top four come the end of a season was in 1995.
RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund should also secure a top-four finish in the Bundesliga this season, according to the supercomputer predictions.
Leipzig ended in the UCL qualification spots in 96.5% of the pre-season simulations. In their relatively short league history, they’ve only finished outside the top four once (in 2018) when they finished sixth. The cup winners in both 2021-22 and 2022-23 have big plans for this season, with the arrivals of Loïs Openda, Benjamin Sesko, Christoph Baumgartner as well as the highly praised Nicolas Seiwald boosting their hopes of a title charge. Dani Olmo opened the new season with an exceptional hat-trick in the Supercup – his form could be crucial to their challenge.
A finish outside the Champions League qualification spots would be a disaster for Dortmund, but the Opta supercomputer deems that nightmare to be unlikely, with only 14% of the simulations seeing them finish fifth or lower. It hasn’t happened since 2014-15, when they finished seventh in Jürgen Klopp’s final season in charge. The departure of the brilliant Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid has been softened slightly by midfield incomings Felix Nmecha and Marcel Sabitzer, but they’ll hope Sébastien Haller can fire the goals to lift them high up the table.
The battle for the final UCL qualification spot in fourth place is the most intriguing.
Bayer Leverkusen may have lost their biggest attacking threat from last season, with Moussa Diaby heading to Aston Villa, but they have added Victor Boniface, Jonas Hofmann and experienced leader Granit Xhaka. Moreover, Xabi Alonso extended his contract as head coach for two more years and spent pre-season with his Leverkusen squad for the first time. Could they be the surprise package of 2023-24?
Across the 10,000 season sims by the Opta supercomputer, all 18 of the teams in the Bundesliga finished within the top four places at least once, proving anything is possible in one of the most exciting European leagues.
The best chance among the four clubs not already mentioned is for Union Berlin (27.2%), who will play in the 2023-24 UCL following their fourth-place finish last season. Freiburg – who finished fifth last season, three points off the top four – managed to seal a UCL place in 20.5% of the simulations, just ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt (13.9%).
Who Will Be Relegated from the Bundesliga in 2023-24?
Augsburg fans, look away now. Based on the 10,000 Opta supercomputer simulations, Augsburg are both the favourites to finish bottom of the league (27.7%) and in the automatic relegation spots (47.6%). One result that won’t have bred confidence was their disastrous weekend exit from the DFB Pokal against Unterhaching, who have only just been promoted to the third tier themselves.
Augsburg avoided relegation last season – just. With 34 points, they finished three points ahead of the automatic relegation spots, and just a point above Stuttgart, who had to play in the relegation play-off. Augsburg have been a Bundesliga club since 2011-12, surviving relegation 12 seasons in the top flight. Is this the season that run finally comes to an end?
It’ll come as no shock to see the two newly promoted sides SV Darmstadt 98 and 1. FC Heidenheim 1846 in the relegation battle. But it may come as more of a surprise to see Werder Bremen as the third favourites for the drop.
No Bundesliga club won fewer points than Werder Bremen following the break for the 2022 FIFA World Cup (15), and although they ended the 2022-23 season in 13th, their five-point advantage over the bottom two clubs was too close for comfort. Pre-season hopes won’t have been aided by their elimination from the German Cup last weekend at the hands of third-tier club Viktoria Köln. They finished in the bottom two places in 33.0% of the pre-season simulations, which is just slightly lower than Darmstadt (35.3%) and higher than Heidenheim (31.5%).
This will be FC Heidenheim’s first ever Bundesliga season, as they become the 57th different club to play in the competition. Last season saw them win the second-tier title in the most dramatic of circumstances on the final day, with Tim Kleindienst’s 99th-minute winner versus Jahn Regensburg sealing top spot.
How Does the Opta Supercomputer Model Work?
• Opta’s League Prediction model estimates the likelihood of teams finishing in each position in the competition. We can therefore see how successful a team’s season is likely to be, whether it’s their relegation or title chances.
• The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Opta Power Rankings. The odds and rankings are based on historical and recent team performances.
• The model considers the strength of opponents by using these match outcome probabilities and simulates the remaining fixtures in the competition thousands of times. By analysing the outcome of each of these simulations, the model can see how often teams finished in each league position to create our final predictions.