Football’s back! At least it is in Germany, as the Bundesliga becomes the first major football league to return when they continue their season on 16 May. All eyes will be on Germany as Europe looks to get its footballing fix, so, for the uninitiated, what do you need to know? Here’s the essential information ahead of the Bundesliga return this weekend.

The strength of the Bundesliga has been on display in Europe this season, with RB Leipzig comfortably beating Tottenham in the Champions League, while Bayern Munich held a commanding lead over Chelsea in the same competition before it was suspended. There was also Bayern's 7-2 hammering of Spurs in the group stages too. All indicators that the level of competition in the league is improving, and with at least nine games still to play for each team, nothing is finalised yet. So who’s going for the title and who’s the plucky underdog in the relegation battle? Who are the best players to look out for, and most importantly, how do you watch the action? Here’s all the information you need to know ahead of this weekend’s return.

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What’s the story at the top?

After a 61-day hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the Bundesliga is set to return, and if you know anything about the league, it’ll probably be that Bayern Munich are the team to beat. And sure enough, they lead the pack once again in the 19/20 season. But while they have ruled Germany for the last seven seasons, the 2019/20 campaign sees them under pressure from four other teams. 

Just eight points separates Bayern in first and Bayer Leverkusen in fifth – a far cry from the 25-point gap between first and second in the Premier League. Indeed, this title race is just heating up and it is set to be one of the most exciting title races among Europe's elite leagues. Nine games of the campaign remain but it is all to play for with a number of fixtures involving the top-five sides coming up against each other.

Bayern are the favourites to retain their crown, currently sitting four points clear at the top on 55 points, but those in the chasing pack are not ready to give up just yet. They include Borussia Dortmund in second, RB Leipzig in third, Borussia Monchengladbach in fourth, and Bayer Leverkusen in fifth. After that there’s a 10 point gap to Schalke in sixth.

The battle for a European spot then stretches down to Koln in tenth, with Wolfsburg, Frieburg, and Hoffenheim making up the numbers.

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What’s going on at the other end of the table?

At the other end, things are looking bleak for Paderborn. The Bundesliga features a playoff for the team finishing third from bottom, but Paderborn are currently 6 points off this, sitting rock bottom on just 16 points. If you fancy an underdog, this is your team. 

Next up, rather surprisingly is Werder Bremen. They have spent a record 56 seasons in the Bundesliga but their position is under threat as they sit in the relegation zone, four points behind the promotion-relegation play-off spot and eight points off safety – although they do have a game in hand.

Fortuna Dusseldorf currently occupy the play-off spot – four points away from the teams either side of them. Mainz, Augsburg, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt are all within six points of them and will be anxiously looking over their shoulders.

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Which players should you look out for?

Aside from the well-honed talents of the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho, the Bundesliga is rife with young talent. With the return to action, scouts will finally have something to occupy their time, as they run the rule over the best the German league has to offer, and here are just some of the incredible young talents that may be in focus this weekend.

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Starting with the name that most English fans will recognise, Jadon Sancho has been absolutely shredding the Bundesliga this season. The 20-year-old has 17 goals and 19 assists on his tally across all competitions already, and it’s understandable that he has caught the attention of numerous suitors back home. Nuff said really.

One of Sancho’s Dortmund partners in crime, Erling Haaland is a name that really shouldn’t need much of an introduction either. A hat-trick for Red Bull against Genk on his Champions League debut caught the attention, and that added to a tally that now stands at an impressive 40 in 33 appearances for Red Bull and Dortmund this term. Big numbers for the 19 year old.

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Timo Werner is a name that Liverpool fans will be familiar with, the Reds being linked with a possible move for the German striker over the last 12 months. He’s played across the front three and his strike rate is impressive, but some have questioned how he would adapt to Liverpool’s style of play, given that his style is more suited to getting in behind the defence.

Werner’s teammate, Dayot Upamecano, is another player whose performances have caught the eye of numerous Premier League sides. A commanding central defender with the ability to carry the ball out from the back, it’s easy to see why many see him as tailor made for the Premier League. And at only 21 years old, it’s even more reason to be interested.

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Touted as the next Michael Ballack, Kai Havertz is a real presence in the midfield areas, drifting past defenders with relative ease and posing that attacking threat. He has scored ten goals, alongside a further eight assists, in 34 games across all competitions this season, eight of which have come since the season restarted in January. The future of Germany’s midfield.

And finally, Suat Serdar has everything that you could want from a central midfielder. He's a player who likes the ball at his feet but isn't afraid to tackle to try and win possession back. The 23-year-old German has seven goals in 18 Bundesliga appearances so far, while he also sits inside the top-ten for successful tackles among midfielders this season.

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How can you watch every match in the Bundesliga?

BT Sport have got your back here. They will be broadcasting all nine games this weekend, and every match until the end of the season. At least one match per weekend will be available in stunning 4K UHD picture quality on BT Sport Ultimate, while The Bundesliga Goals Show will bring viewers all of the action and all of the goals as they happen from every single Saturday game. BT Sport is available in more ways than ever, with BT Sport Monthly Pass offering all sports fans a flexible way of watching top-flight sport for a simple monthly fee with no contract. That’s right, £25 and you can enjoy a month of football, contract free. Get on it!

If you need us this weekend, we'll be sat in front of the telly watching the footy, as it should be...