Supercomputer predicts standings for 2022/23 Bundesliga as Tuchel replaces Nagelsmann
Despite managerial upheaval, conflict between the fans and the board and their current position in second place, Bayern Munich are set to rack up an 11th consecutive Bundesliga title this season.
Before Bayern's suffocating stranglehold of the German top flight over the past decade, no team had ever won the Bundesliga more than three times on the spin - and that had only happened on four occasions in the history of the competition.
The odds, as ever, are once again stacked in Bayern's favour - but it could be closer than previous processions.
FiveThirtyEight uses its Forecasts and Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings to predict every fixture throughout the Bundesliga season. The current calculations have churned out a table congested at both ends.
Projected 2022/23 Bundesliga table
* as of 24/03/2023
Bayern are predicted to finish the 2022/23 campaign on 72 points, three more than Borussia Dortmund - the team that leads the Bundesliga by one point going into the international break.
The two giants of German football face off in the final Klassiker of the season at the start of April, with Thomas Tuchel replacing Julian Nagelsmann in Bayern's dugout. The pair played out a spiky 2-2 draw in October but Bayern have home advantage next month and FiveThirtyEight give the Bavarians a 63% chance of collecting all three points on April Fool's day, thereby climbing back atop the Bundesliga.
RB Leipzig, a resurgent team under Marco Rose but currently fifth in the actual standings, are the only other side deemed to have more than a negligible chance of winning the Bundesliga - although, that likelihood has been placed at an improbable 1%.
Freiburg are actually above Leipzig in today's table but the supercomputer predicts Christian Streich's side will slip out of the top four by May, with Union Berlin given a 64% chance of qualifying for Champions League football just four years after winning promotion to the top flight.
At the other end of the table is where the mayhem really begins to commence. The bottom four are separated by just two points in the current standings and the gap isn't expected to widen much in the intervening two months - however, the order could well change.
Stuttgart prop up the current division on 20 points but FiveThirtyEight's model suggests they will be able to finish on a tally of 32 which would be enough to haul themselves into the relegation playoff spot.
Hertha Berlin currently occupy that slot but are set to tumble into the red. 777 Partners acquired a majority share of the club in March, adding the capital side to a portfolio which includes Serie A's Genoa - who were relegated the same season in which 777 invested - and Sevilla, a staple of the Spanish top flight that are also on the brink of the drop.
Schalke are the other favourites to go down despite recording an eight-game unbeaten streak going into the March international break - although six of those matches ended in a share of the spoils.
Hoffenheim are expected to remain perched precariously above the maelstrom of the bottom three by May - with their hopes bolstered by a win over fellow strugglers Hertha just before the current hiatus after a run of two points from 14 games.
How will Thomas Tuchel's appointment at Bayern Munich in place of Julian Nagelsmann impact the Bundesliga title
The minor detail of which blond, middling former player will patrol Bayern's technical area is not baked into FiveThirtyEight's model. Although, past precedent is on Tuchel's side. During the club's ten consecutive titles, Bayern have replaced their coach midway through two previous seasons.
Jupp Heynckes came in for his fourth spell at the helm in October 2017 after Carlo Ancelotti's relaxed training methods didn't impress Bayern's demanding squad, steering the club to a breezy title victory by 21 clear points in the end.
Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November 2019, his first senior management position in 14 years. There were few signs of rust as Bayern ended the season with another European treble.
However, both those coaches had considerably more time than Tuchel to set Bayern on the right track. Bayern have not parted ways with a manager this late in the season since Louis van Gaal was ushered out in April 2011. However, by that point, there was little chance of Andries Joncker mounting a charge on Jurgen Klopp's runaway Dortmund champions as Bayern finished a lowly third.
Nevertheless, Tuchel has proven to be adept at rapidly deciphering a system which will suit his new squad of players, sketching up the plans on the plane from Paris to London for the back-three formation which Chelsea used in his debut game against Wolves. That same setup carried the Blues to Champions League glory four months later.
With Bayern up against Manchester City - Tuchel's vanquished victims in the 2021 final - in the competition's quarter-finals next month, there's every chance that the former Borussia Dortmund coach can lead his new side to success both abroad and domestically.