Bundesliga 2021/22 Top Four Finish Predictions, Odds & Picks

  • Finishing in the top four in the Bundesliga is a prize worth fighting for
  • It is a near-certainty that Bayern Munich will secure Champions League qualification
  • Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig will also expect to finish in the top four

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The Bundesliga 2021/22 season beings on 13 August 2021 and will conclude on 14 May 2022. Each team in the division will play 34 games, with three points available for a win and one point for a tie. The four teams with the most points will qualify for next season’s edition of the Champions League.

Bundesliga 2021/22 Top Four Odds

Odds taken 13 September, 2021 from BetMGM

Bundesliga 2021/22 Top Four Odds
Borussia Dortmund -1200
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RB Leipzig -650
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Bayer Leverkusen +135
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Borussia Monchengladbach +250
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Wolfsburg +220
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Eintracht Frankfurt +1400
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Hertha Berlin +1600
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Hoffenheim +1400
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Stuttgart +1600
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Union Berlin +1600
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Mainz +2000
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You do not have to be a Bundesliga expert to know that Bayern Munich will almost certainly qualify for the Champions League. Bet MGM, as well as other bookmakers, does not even offer odds on the Bavarians finishing in the top four such is the overwhelming likelihood of them doing so.

Borussia Dortmund are also considered overwhelming favorites to secure a spot in the top four, despite their turbulent campaign last time out. Only a strong finish to the season saw BVB qualify for the Champions League in 2020/21, but they are not expected to endure similar struggles this time round.

RB Leipzig could be a little more vulnerable following Julian Nagelsmann’s move to Bayern Munich, but the new manager Jesse Marsch knows the Red Bull system well. Fourth place is likely to be a fight between Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Wolfsburg. The Wolves won that race last season and could do so again – odds are attractive.

What Happens to the Top Four Teams in the Bundesliga?

The top four teams in the Bundesliga automatically qualify for the group stage of the following season’s Champions League. It is therefore a prize worth fighting for, and often the more realistic one for most clubs to aim for given Bayern Munich’s recent monopolization of the Bundesliga title.

In previous seasons, the top three teams automatically reached the group stage of the Champions League, and the fourth-place finisher entered the qualifying phase. That changed at the start of the 2017/18 campaign when UEFA handed more automatic qualification spots to Europe’s biggest leagues, including Germany’s top flight.

Who Is on Top of the Bundesliga?

At the time of writing, no matches have taken place in the 2021/22 campaign, so the table is ordered alphabetically. Not even the most passionate Arminia Bielefeld fan will expect their team to still be occupying top spot come 14 May 2020.

More broadly, Bayern Munich are on top in the Bundesliga. They have won 31 titles since the division was created in 1963, which is 22 more than second-placed Nurnberg. Bayern have finished in first place in each of the last nine seasons, and are widely expected to make it 10 championships in a row in 2021/22.

Bayern are the wealthiest team in the Bundesliga. That would give them an advantage in any league, but it is even more beneficial in German soccer due to the restrictions on external takeovers and investment in clubs. The 50+1 rule requires the members of every German club to own 50 percent of shares, plus one share. Under the current regulations, it would not be possible for a figure like Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who owns Chelsea, to buy a Bundesliga club.

Which Clubs Have the Most Finishes In the Bundesliga Top Four?

(Last 30 seasons)

Club Number of Finishes
Bayern Munich 28
Borussia Dortmund 20
Bayer Leverkusen 14
Schalke 10
Stuttgart 7
Werder Bremen 7
Borussia Monchengladbach 5
RB Leipzig 4
Hamburg 4
Hertha Berlin 4

Bayern Munich have only missed out on the top four in two of the last 30 Bundesliga seasons. The kings of German soccer finished in a lowly 10th position in 1991/92, and then ended the 1994/95 campaign in sixth spot when Borussia Dortmund won the title.

Dortmund are second with 20 top-four finishes, with Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke the only other sides to have reached double figures.

The 10 clubs listed above have finished in the top four at least four times in the last 30 years. In addition to those, Wolfsburg and Kaiserslautern have secured three top-four finishes, and Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt have each done it twice. Another four sides have finished in the top four since 1991/92.

Who Are the Top Four in the Bundesliga?

Whereas the Premier League had a ‘big four’ in the 2000s – Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool – the term is not really used in the Premier League. It is more common to hear talk of a ‘big two’, referring to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Of late, though, it has almost become a ‘big one’ consisting of Bayern alone.

Was the Bundesliga Top Four Always a Goal for Clubs?

It is only in the last nine years that Bundesliga clubs have actively targeted a top-four finish. The 2011/12 was not the first time the division’s leading quartet all qualified for the Champions League, but that was the season in which it became established as such.

In the Champions League’s debut campaign of 1992/93, only the Bundesliga title winners were eligible to take part. A second qualification place was added in time for the 1996/97 campaign, and by 1998/99 there were four spots up for grabs to Bundesliga teams.

This dropped down to three in 2001/02 and remained that way until a fourth place was re-added in 2011/12.

How Can I Watch Bundesliga on TV?

Soccer fans based in the United States can watch the Bundesliga on ESPN. Kick-off times usually range from 9.30 AM to 2.30 PM (EDT).

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]