Posted: Wednesday August 18, 2010 2:23PM ; Updated: Friday August 20, 2010 1:21PM
Raphael Honigstein
Raphael Honigstein>INSIDE SOCCER

Bundesliga season predictions (cont.)

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11. Borussia Mönchengladbach

Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley and Borussia should steer clear of relegation comfortably this season.
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Last year's finish: 12th

Key additions: Igor de Camargo, Mohamdou Idrissou, Anderson

Key losses: Rob Friend, Oliver Neuville, Roberto Colautti

De Camargo could turn out to be one of the buys of the season. Standard Liege's Brazilian captain, 27, was outstanding in midfield for the Belgians and has become an instant crowd favorite in the Borussia Park, too. Gladbach has been careful to buy quality rather than quantity. Relegation should not be an issue for manager Michael Frontzeck. -- but Europe won't be, either.

12. Mainz 05

Last year's finish: 9th

Key additions: Lewis Holtby, Christian Fuchs, Sami Allagui

Key losses: Aristide Bancé, Tim Hoogland, Malik Fathi

The surprising transfer of striker Bancé (Burkina Faso) to Al Ahly (Dubai) has left Thomas Tuchel, 36, scrambling to find a replacement. The league's youngest manager has worked veritable wonders at the Bruchweg-Stadion; no other team is more impressive as a collective if you take the moderate quality of the individuals into account. A plethora of young talent makes Mainz optimistic about the future, but it's hard to see it fly quite as high as it did in 2009-10, when it surprised more aristocratic opposition with its full-throttle approach.

13. 1. FC Köln

Last year's finish: 13th

Key additions: Adrezinho, Martin Lanig. Marvin Matip

Key losses: Zoran Tosic, Maniche, Piere Womé

Lukas Podolski can look forward to another tough season at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion. Cologne couldn't compete with CSKA Moscow for Tosic, who was a great success during his loan spell from Manchester United. Portuguese midfielder Maniche, however, won't be missed too much. Adrezinho (Vitoriá Guimarães) is an experienced midfielder and a dead-ball specialist, but Zvonimir Soldo's team still lacks creative guile to live up to its fans' lofty expectations.

14. SC Freiburg

Last year's finish: 14th

Key additions: Jan Rosenthal, Maximilian Nicu

Key losses: Mohamed Idrissou, Du-Ri Cha

Survival will be the name of the game for Robin Dutt's men. The SC manager will stick with his 4-1-4-1 system and hope that Senegalese striker Papisse Cisse continues to shine as the sole attacker. Midfielder Rosenthal, who was going nowhere at Hannover, will try to resurrect his career along with the Romanian Nicu, who endured a nightmarish season with Hertha BSC. Freiburg should scrape through again. Just barely.

15. Nürnberg

Last year's finish: 16th

Key additions: Per Nilsson, Timmy Simons, Mehmet Ekici, Julian Schieber, Almog Cohen

Key losses: Angelos Charisteas, Dennis Diekmeier, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Daniel Gygax

The Franconians came through a relegation playoff against FC Augsburg to secure another season in the top flight last May. This year, it'll be another close shave, but there is enough quality to avoid the drop. Coach Dieter Hecking has assembled an interesting variety of youngsters -- former Stuttgart striker Schieber and Bayern on-loan forward Ekici are the pick of the bunch -- and added one or two gray(ish) hairs (Nilsson, Simons) for good measure.

16. Kaiserslautern

Last year's finish: promoted

Key additions: Erwin Hoffer, Leon Jessen

Key losses: Sidney Sam, Georges Mandjeck, Markus Steinhöfer, Erik Jendrisek

Marco Kurz and his players were promoted by playing excellent attacking soccer. But their best players have since moved on. Sporting director and former Lautern legend Stefan Kuntz has brought in 13 new faces to make up for the deficit in skill. Germany's version of the "Red Devils" will have to fight their way to safety. Fantastic home support at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion should see them seize the playoff lifeline.

17. Hannover 96

Last year's finish: 15th

Key additions: Mohammed Abdellaoue, Carlitos, Emanuel Pogatetz

Key losses: Jan Rosenthal, Arnold Bruggink, Sofien Chahed, Jiri Stajner

The alarm bells are ringing before the first league game has been played. The Lower Saxons crashed out against lower-league side SV Elversberg in the German FA Cup last week and had angry supporters blockade the team bus after the final whistle. President and benefactor Martin Kind is running out of patience with the loss-making club. All these factors combine to make Mirko Slomka the bookies' odds-on favorite to end up as the first managerial casualty of the season

18. St. Pauli

Last year's finish: promoted

Key additions: Moritz Volz, Carlos Zambrano, Gerald Asamoah

Key losses: None

The league's most colorful club -- the fans are staunchly anarchist, its former president openly gay -- will provide plenty of fascinating storylines. The results, however, are unlikely to be that spectacular. Financial consolidation has been the main aim of the "Bundesliga buccaneers," who are in the process of rebuilding their famous Millerntor stadium. Spending on new players has consequently been minimal. Relegation is in the cards.

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