Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzig: Who's Closer to Challenging Bayern Munich Next Season?

Dan-Axel Zagadou, Nordi Mukiele
Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are both trying to stay on the same level as champions Bayern Munich | TF-Images/Getty Images

With Bayern Munich recently confirmed as Bundesliga champions for the eighth consecutive season with games to spare, it essentially brings the season to an end for both Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, who had been chasing Bayern in the hunt for the title.

Before Hans-Dieter Flick took over from Niko Kovac in November 2019, Bayern lacked focus and identity and were four points adrift of first place. It's by no means disastrous form, but it felt like the Bundesliga was there for the taking for either Dortmund or Leipzig.

But alas, it wasn't to be.

Both clubs have a big task on their hands in trying to keep up with a new-look Bayern Munich. So, which of the two is most likely to challenge Die Roten next season?

Transfers and Recruitment

Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund look set to battle to keep hold of their star players this summer
Dortmund look set to battle to keep hold of their star players this summer | INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund must brace themselves for a busy summer transfer window. And not a good kind of busy.

They look set to create the saga of the summer with Manchester United over a potential transfer for Jadon Sancho. The 20-year-old has been instrumental this season, chipping in with 20 goals and 20 assists in all competitions.

Erling Haaland only joined Dortmund in January 2020, but with that level of talent and Mino Raiola as his agent, there are no guarantees over his future, either. To add insult to injury, defender Achraf Hakimi looks set to head back to parent club Real Madrid next season, leaving Dortmund with a trio of positions to worry about.

After finishing two points off the Bundesliga title in 2018/19, Favre's second season in Dortmund has yielded no silverware for the club. This season was perhaps their greatest chance in years to snatch away a league title, but he hasn't managed it, even with all that star power. It seems likely Favre will move on at the end of the season, and Dortmund must ensure that the next managerial appointment is the correct one if they don't want to lose anymore ground at the top of the tree.

RB Leipzig

UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"
Timo Werner has already agreed to leave Leipzig for Chelsea this summer | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Leipzig's failure to capture the Bundesliga title will be no doubt disappointing, but they must stay alert and vigilant in the coming transfer window.

Timo Werner signing for Chelsea will no doubt be a huge loss in attack. A world class striker is a must for any club looking to win titles, so they'll have to act fast to replace his 32 goals and 13 assists across all competitions.

Leipzig have been the ones to watch all season, with many heaping praise onto them for their meteoric rise among Europe's elite. This is always bittersweet, however, and Die Roten Bullen must be careful of clubs swooping in and ripping their squad apart.

The likes of Konrad Laimer, Dayot Upamecano and Lukas Klostermann are just a few of many names who have been generating buzz in the football world. There's no reason why clubs won't come sniffing.

Style of Play

Borussia Dortmund

Mats Julian Hummels
Dortmund's relentless attack often leaves their defence vulnerable | Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Despite Favre's future as head coach being uncertain, it's unlikely that we'll see Dortmund undergo a drastic change in their style of play.

Dortmund's defence this season has raised eyebrows and led to some disappointing results. They've failed to win Der Klassiker this season, and despite demolishing Schalke in the Revierderby as football resumed, their unrelenting attacking prowess leaves them far too open at the back.

With Flick's refreshed Bayern side operating like a well-oiled machine from front to back, failure to crack down on obvious defensive issues will leave Dortmund well short of objectives once again. This will only become more difficult to address if the search for a new manager isn't handled properly.

RB Leipzig

Julian Nagelsmann, Konrad Laimer
Julian Nagelsmann has RB Leipzig playing incredible football | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Nobody has impressed more on a tactical front this season than Julian Nagelsmann. The 32-year-old has demonstrated a supreme understanding for football through the way he's set up his side at RB Leipzig.

Now that Bayern Munich play a much more organised high pressing game, the two sides aren't too dissimilar. This was highlighted through a 0-0 stalemate back in February, which shows how far Leipzig have come.

While Nagelsmann undoubtedly has a big future in football management, it's unlikely that he'll jump ship before next season. If the Red Bull group are prepared to continue funding Leipzig's exploits accordingly, then they stand a chance of heading into next season in better shape than Dortmund.

Conclusion

Konrad Laimer, Jerome Boateng
Leipzig could be Bayern Munich's biggest competitors next season | Boris Streubel/Getty Images

The 2019/20 season has proved that a lot of teams need a refresh. Bayern's came mid-season, and whether they wanted it to come then or not, it's been the best thing to happen to them for years.

Borussia Dortmund face a long summer - as if three months in isolation hasn't been long enough. A new manager is probably for the best, but an overhaul of playing and coaching staff means next season might just be too soon for them to stake their claim as Bayern's biggest threat.

RB Leipzig continue to impress. Football traditionalists across the globe might not like their rapid ascension up the footballing pyramid, but money talks. And so does a tightly-knit squad, coached by an excellent young manager. If Leipzig can find a new talisman to keep the goals flowing and perhaps bring in one or two reinforcements to keep competition high, then they are most likely to be closest to Bayern Munich next season.