Hitzfeld: "Bayern, Dortmund and Schalke - clearly the strongest teams"

Munich -

... Bayern Munich's first Bundesliga defeat in 2012/13:
"The Bundesliga benefits from the defeat as it adds to the excitement. Leverkusen proved that Bayern are beatable which will be extra motivation to their upcoming opponents. It would be boring if one side permanently topped the league by nine points, particularly as Bayern normally remain at the wheel when so far ahead."

... Bayern's main competitors:
"In the past, no club managed to establish itself as the Bundesliga's number two behind Bayern. For a long time, many teams competed for the top spots and a team that became 10th the previous season possibly would have qualified for the Champions League. However, Dortmund have recently had it their way and, being the German Champions, assert their claim as a regular competitor in the Champions League. I expect BVB to constantly participate in Europe's elite competition in the years to come. Then there's Schalke, the third established side. They have continuously improved their squad and now depth they'd been lacking in previous years. FC Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 - they're clearly Germany's strongest teams to me, not only because they participate in the Champions League."

... newly-promoted Eintracht Frankfurt's positive start:
"One's got used to having a surprise package in the Bundesliga. Eintracht play very attractive football, they totally deserve to be in the mix at the top. Their success is courtesy to [coach] Armin Veh and the management team who have brought in some good players. However, one will see whether this will be enough to play in Europe next season."

...the battle for the UEFA Europa League spots:
"Anything's goes behind the top three, as many teams are on a similar level. A lot can change between the number four and 14 within just a few Matchdays. It's difficult for the Europe League participants to cope with the extra efforts. Stuttgart, Hannover, Leverkusen as well as Mönchengladbach don't have the quality in width that Bayern, Dortmund or Schalke have. The routine's deranged when you play in the Europa League on Thursdays and the Bundesliga on Sundays, and that's something not easy to cope with."