BERLIN, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The German Bundesliga is delivering its most exciting title race for decades in the 2019/20 season. It was 10 years ago that the half-time champion, called the "Herbstmeister" (or autumn champion), was not Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.
With league leader RB Leipzig and runner-up Borussia Moenchengladbach, the established forces face serious challengers. But there are many more surprises.
Leipzig: 32-year-old Julian Nagelsmann lifted RB Leipzig on a new level. The first qualification for the knock-out stage in the club's history and the chance to win the first national title are setting new marks for the East-German side.
Mental robustness comes along with the best figure of 48 goals (2.82 on average). Rasenballsport is the trendsetting side with 11 goals after counter-attacks, 13 after dead-ball situations, and 20 points out of nine away-games (all league-best marks).
The youngest coach has added a finely adjusted ball-possession note to the team's convincing forwarding football.
Chance to win the title: high.
Moenchengladbach: The famous "foals" are back on the big stage thanks to the enchanting style implemented by new coach Marco Rose. The best side on home soil (22 points) has played the best first season half since 1976/77.
The five-time German champion stands for the best defense (18 goals) aside from Wolfsburg (9). Failing to secure the next round in the Euro League and the German Cup might increase the chances to win the first Championship since 1977 as the team can entirely focus on the title-race.
Chance to win the title: relatively high.
SC Freiburg: One of the smallest clubs can count on a calm environment and a coach who is said to be the league's most passionate manager, Christian Streich.
Aside from Streichs demands for a high standard regarding running figures has the side from Germany's South-West increased its squad's quality.
Chance to win the title: To reach an international competition seems the upmost. That is no problem as no one is talking about the title.
Frankfurt: The team that reached the Euro League semifinal (5-4 against Chelsea in aggregate) a year ago seems to run out of breath after seven games without a victory before the winter break.
Eintracht has reached its limits as Austrian coach Adi Huetter is admitting: "We are done for now and need to recover."
Only one victory in eight away-games might tell the story of an exhausted team that seems out of balance. Instead of international fame, nerve-wracking relegation battles are waiting.
Dortmund: Is position four with seven points behind the leader a disappointment? Yes. The Blacks and Yellows expressed goal after last season's second place was to win the title.
The team's inconsistency remains the biggest problem. Coach Lucien Favre remains under fire and failed to do the next step. Having skipped plans to sign a true spearhead turns out to be a fatal mistake.
The poor record in away-games (3 wins) is far from expectations for the only unbeaten team on home soil (5/3).
Union: The newcomer might still be in danger of being relegated with 20 points after 17 games. Considering the passion (despite the small budget) the team of Swiss coach Urs Fischer has to give, the "team of iron" is more than a pleasant surprise.
To never give up seems the club's motto. Times might be hard for Union it says in the club's hymn, "but so is the team."
Schalke: The Royal Blues enjoy a surprising upswing under former Huddersfield hero David Wagner. Schalke's performance seems far from spectacular, but the 48-year-old has managed to lead the fragile side back to stability.
It remains a challenge to deal with their number one's announcement to join Bayern for the next season. Alexanders Nuebel's decision is causing turmoil among supporters. The 23-year-old might leave in the winter-break.
Paderborn: It might deserve respect to stick to a risky forwarding football after promoting to the Bundesliga. But 12 points at half-time don't seem enough to secure the first division for the newcomer.
Bremen: Werder is the biggest disappointment as coach Florian Kohfeldt couldn't manage to lead the struggling side to the next level. Instead of reaching an international competition, a fierce battle against relegation is ahead.
Cologne: The newcomer enjoys a surprising upswing with three wins in the last three games. With coach Markus Gisdol the "FC" has discovered its fighting heart but still has to travel over a bumpy road.
Hertha: Juergen Klinsmann is doing small but significant steps. Stability was the former German national coach's main goal. Plans to create a "big city club" are waiting. Things seem to work out well.
Bayern: Never forget about the particular Bavarian DNA. Having changed the coach from Niko Kovac to Hansi Flick was the right decision. The former German national team assistant remains head coach until the end of the season, according to a recent announcement.
The German record champion has the best chances to win the title again. "It's a typical pattern of Bayern to fight back," said former national keeper Oliver Kahn.