They’re Back! The 2015-16 Power Rankings (Matchday 12 Edition)

They’re back: the Bundesliga Power Rankings. This latest international break has given us chance to rest our eyes, catch our breath, and study that league table.

So here are here. Bayern reigns supreme. BVB is back as league deputy. Hertha sneaks up. Billy Goats are bleating. Ingolstadt clings on to spoiler status. And – the hell? – Werder and Hoffenheim tumble deep.

The Power Rankings do not necessarily reflect the current table standings, since they account both for form and expectations, all the while acknowledging the fluctuation and random effects riddled through a single match day weekend, yet also acknowledging that the weekly randomness  does something like work itself out over the long run.

Thus, we proudly present our Match Day 12 Power Rankings. Debate. Mock. Challenge. Or Admire.

Rank Movement Form Club Comments



 4-1-0 Bayern



The only reason to not put Bayern at #1 is for the sake of doing it. Otherwise, just think of the Bundesliga as a 17-club competition and focus on the other 17 spots. Always a chance something changes and Bayern stumbles downward, but only after the aliens land and send the world into peaceful coexistence. Football-wise, the gap is immense. (RH)



 4-0-1 Borussia


Borussia Dortmund

Well, that escalated quickly. Kloppo leaves, Tuchel arrives, and magic happens. Aside from Bayern and Barça, a more dangerous attacking unit doesn’t exist in Europe. Auba, Mkhi, and Kagawa have exploded. Ginter is a revelation. And Gündogan reminds everyone why he was tabbed as a superstar a couple seasons ago. Beside teasing out attacking menace, Tuchel has added flexibility to this side: BVB can play along a spectrum from hyper-fast to super-slow. And win both ways. Yikes for everyone else. (TT)






Borussia Monchengladbach

Andre Schubert’s run of wins to start his head-coaching stint with die Fohlenelf was halted at six by drawing FC Ingolstadt, but he’s still not lost a match since taking over for Lucien Favre. ‘Gladbach is looking a lot more like the team that finished last season so strongly. Now they’re just two points out of 3rd in the table, despite having started the season with five consecutive losses. (RH)




 Hertha Berlin

Hertha Berlin

Say whay? Say what? Die Alte Dame finished our 2014-15 Power Rankings in 14th place, plummeting 8 slots for the final rankings. But here they are, winners of 3 of 5, only losing to the violent Foals and dogged Schalke. Dardai is coaching wonders with only snatches of talent. Salmon Kalou (hat trick hero!) is resurrected, scoring 7 of his club’s 17 goals. And Hertha has a GD of +2. Positive. But how long will it last? I give it till Christmas. (TT)




VfL Wolfsburg

VfL Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg seemed to have found their stride just before the international break, until they visited Mainz. It’s difficult to say how the result would have differed had Julian Draxler not earned a red card just 13 minutes into the match, but it’s not hard to imagine that it would have. The Wolves will have a chance to sharpen their claws against Bremen and Augsburg before hosting a big clash with BVB, by which point we should know how well Dieter Hecking’s team will fare in their KDB-less reality going forward. (RH)



 2-1-2 1.FC Köln

FC Koln


There’s something compellingly clear and coherent about the Billy Goats’ tactics and movement right now. Hard to break down, aerial-ball happy, lethal speed on the break (run, Risse, run!). And Modeste is even an improvement on Ujah, thanks to his height, strength, and speed. A top 10 table finish is easily feasible for Stöger’s men. Don’t be fooled by the -3 GD, lopsided losses to Eintracht (2-6) and Bayern (0-4) skew Effzah’s results. This side is “sneaky good,” as we say here in the States. (TT)




Schalke 04

Schalke 04

4 points from the last five matches isn’t as bad as it sounds. Two of the losses are to Gladbach and BVB. However, the issue is that it’s becoming too easy to dismiss Schalke’s losses to top teams, indicating a degradation of esteem for the Royal Blues. They’re meant to be competing with Germany’s European sides and not dropping points at home to sides like Köln and Ingolstadt. (RH)



 1-2-2  FC Ingolstadt

FCIngolstadt logo

Willkommen, die Schanzer! Here’s our first newly-promoted side. Plasticity and Audi-angst aside, FCI has held the Bundesliga in check, conceding only 9 goals (2nd best). Boss Ralph Hasenhüttl seems to be borrowing the Peter Stöger and Köln playbook from last season: stifle opponents to death. It’s working. But the debutants have only scored 7 goals (!). This output will have to increase if Ingolstadt will survive their first season. I’m looking at you, Mr. Leckie – give the rising star Pascal Groß a target! Nonetheless, on form alone, Ingolstadt is one the Bundesliga’s least desirable sides to play against right now. (TT)






Bayer Leverkusen

Die Werkself had taken points in five straight before losing consecutive matches to Wolfsburg and Köln. For the offensive firepower on the roster and Roger Schmidt’s offensive philosophy, 14 goals is thin. Bayer has been held to one goal or none in nine of their twelve league matches, but as Stuttgart learned when a 1:3 lead turned into a 4:3 loss, Leverkusen has the goods to score in piles. But what will it take to do it consistently? (RH)




Eintracht Frankfurt

EIntracht Frankfurt

Now we get to the messy part of the table. You know our excuse: many sides here are interchangeable, blah, blah. Well, I’ll say it again. Interchangeable. Eintracht is maddening. Through the first month or so, the Eagles looked awesome with that attack – der Fußballgott Meier, Castaignos, Stendera, etc. – but now? Lost. Conceding a five spot at home to Gladbach was the low point so far, contributing to their -1 GD (16 goals scored, 17 conceded). The direction of this club remains mysterious. Regardless, under-performing is their main descriptor. (TT)




Hamburger SV

Hamburg SV

Hamburg were a bit unfortunate with the officiating in their 1:2 loss at Hannover, the only match of their last four in which they didn’t take points. They haven’t exactly dazzled in draws with Leverkusen and Darmstadt, nor in beating Hoffenheim, but this HSV is simply more-reliable than the models of the last two seasons. Damning with faint praise? You bet! (RH)



 3-0-2 Hannover 96

Hannover 96

These damn guys again. Last season, H96 gave Randall and I fits. We never believed in them and, ultimately, were right, as H96 finished our rankings at #18. Fast forward to post-matchday 12. Here we are. H96 have the same form as Hertha and VfL. And again we just don’t trust them. First, they lost five in a row before this run, conceding 13 goals this stretch. Second, there’s no reason H96 survive their next five (Gladbach, S04, and Bayern are among their upcoming opponents). Finally, who’s going to consistently score (and prevent!) goals on this side? Kiyotake is out till after the holiday break at least. Ugly times loom ahead. (TT)




VfB Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart

How patronizing must it have been for Stuttgart fans to have to listen to Bayern supporters congratulating them for not being able to play ultra-defensively the way Frankfurt did to get their point from the Rekordmeister? Alexander Zorniger said before the match that his team simply wasn’t capable of defending, so they wouldn’t and they didn’t. How they surrendered just four goals is a miracle. They did blank both promoted sides in their last two home games to climb into the relegation playoff spot, so maybe there’s hope for Zorniger’s high-flying style to settle into something semi-sustainable? Just kidding. (RH)




Mainz 05

FSV Mainz 05

I love this side with the Malli/Muto attack on top and Bell anchoring the midfield. Despite baffling results, like a 1-3 loss to clueless Werder, I see upward mobility and midtable stability in the cards for the Mainzers. They can play good “whole-unit-ball” and Schmidt’s coaching seems to compensate for talent deficits on the pitch. Expect brighter things from these guys in future rankings installments. You heard it here first. (TT)



 1-1-3 Darmstadt 98

D98 logo

The promoted die Lilien have started to get dragged back down toward the relegation area after some early successes, losing three of their last five. They managed four points from Augsburg and Hamburg, showing they’re going to be tough on their direct competition to avoid the drop. Just one goal from their last three matches is probably the biggest issue Darmstadt faces right now. They managed to find the net early and need to get back to that. (RH)



 2-0-3  Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen

For my money, the surprise disaster of the campaign thus far. After last season’s great showing, I expected an uptick from Werder, even with Selkie and di Santo’s departures. Ujah and Johannsson promised joy. Junuzovic stayed. Plus Vestergaard seemingly completed his bedding down as defensive anchor. Instead, Werder have conceded 19 goals, while only scratching out 13, looking like the dreary club we’ve grown used to from the last number of years. A sad reversal. Will the narrative flip? So far, no signs indicate consistent upward movement. (TT)





1899 Hoffenheim

Huub Stevens has two scoreless draws in two matches since taking over for Markus Gisdol. It may not be the aesthetically pleasing style of football Dietmar Hopp has pushed since pushing his boyhood club onto the Bundesliga, but Hoffenheim entered into survival mode early with the hiring of Stevens, so they clearly do not care about anything right now other than surviving. It’s going to take more than scoreless draws, though, to get a second win in the record books. With the sturdy defenses of Hertha, Gladbach, and Ingolstadt up next, more scoreless draws may be what’s on order for the time being. (RH)



 0-2-3  FC Augsburg

FC Augsburg

I ache for these guys. Markus Weinzierl’s sides have won many neutrals over since the club improbably clung onto Bundesliga existence four seasons ago. Has the Europa League cursed FCA this much? Heck, if Augsburg could replicate their decent European form (back-to-back wins). Through 12 matches, FCA have conceded 25 (!) goals – 2nd most in the league. That’s over 2 a match. On the other end, they’ve struggled mightily to consistently create chances, generating a below average number of shots on target. Currently, no clear goal scorer stands out and dependables like Baier and Werner are looking, dare I say, old. Weinzierl’s charmed run with FCA looks doomed, as greener pastures surely beckon for him. (TT)


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Travis serves as an editor and regular columnist here. Born and groomed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Travis is a college English instructor in Pittsburgh. Coffee, books, and sports are his passions. His writing has also appeared in Howler magazine, 11Freunde, America Magazine, The Short Pass, Bloomberg Sports, the Good Man Project, his former blog,, and elsewhere. He tweets at @tptimmons. Heja BVB!

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