- Newly-promoted RB Leipzig lead the way.
- Rivals made ground on champions Bayern.
- Only six points separate the top seven teams.
The battle for the Bundesliga title is shaping up to be the most exciting in years. bundesliga.com reveals how rival teams have closed the gap on champions FC Bayern München…
Remember 22 September 2015? On a balmy evening in Munich, in the middle of the Oktoberfest, Robert Lewandowski broke a host of records and scored five goals to fire Bayern to victory over VfL Wolfsburg and to the top of the Bundesliga. And that’s where they stayed for almost 14 months before they were knocked off their perch on Matchday 11. By a team playing in the Bundesliga for the first time ever.
New kids on the block
Following a dramatic 3-2 victory away at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, newly-promoted RB Leipzig now sit proudly at the top of the German football tree. With Bayern losing to Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s unbeaten side even have a three-point cushion over the record champions.
Watch: Highlights of Leipzig's win in Leverkusen
New Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti suffered his first defeat in the Bundesliga in Dortmund, extending a disappointing run of form for the Bavarians, who have now won just twice from their last six league matches.
In hot pursuit
However, it is not just a case of Bayern faltering. They still have an impressive haul of 24 points from 11 games. But rival teams have caught up. Alongside Leipzig, fifth-placed TSG 1899 Hoffenheim are also unbeaten so far. Never before in Bundesliga history have two teams remained undefeated after Matchday 11.
A mere six points separate the top seven in the table, and an incredible five teams (Dortmund, 1. FC Köln, Hoffenheim, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt) are all level on points and breathing down Bayern’s neck. The top of the table has not been this tight a third of the way through the season since 2009/10.
Frankfurt strongest seventh-placed side ever
Eintracht Frankfurt perfectly embody the evenly-balanced Bundesliga. With 21 points from their opening 11 games, Niko Kovac’s team have the best record of any side in seventh place at this stage in Bundesliga history. Last season, the gap between first and seventh was a whopping 14 points.
It has been an impressive turnaround for a side that only avoided relegation in the play-off last year. But Frankfurt aren’t the only surprise package to have entered the mix. Hertha Berlin and 1. FC Köln have outperformed and outstripped pre-season favorites such as FC Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg.
Watch: Highlights of Frankfurt's latest victory in Bremen
Can Leipzig extend their lead?
Once again, Leipzig are in action on Friday night as they kick off Matchday 12 away to SC Freiburg and could extend their lead to six points by the time Bayern go into the top match against Leverkusen on Saturday evening. Frankfurt host Dortmund with both teams level on points and Hoffenheim will be looking to keep their unbeaten run going in Mönchengladbach. Köln and Hertha both have home games to look forward to, against FC Augsburg and 1. FSV Mainz 05 respectively.
Watch: The top five in-form players in Official Fantasy Bundesliga
With the Bundesliga so perfectly poised, fans can look forward to a feast of football before the winter break, culminating with the Matchday 16 clash between Bayern and title rivals Leipzig.