Archive for May, 2012

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover).

Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm (all Bayern), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer (both Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke).

Midfielders: Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira (both Real Madrid), Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all Bayern), Marco Reus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Mario Goetze, Ilkay Gundogan (both Dortmund), Lars Bender, Andre Schuerrle (both Bayer Leverkusen).

Forwards: Lukas Podolski (Cologne), Mario Gomez (Bayern) Miroslav Klose (Lazio).

Possible starting XI: Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Muller, Ozil, Podolski; Klose.

Do you agree with Low’s choices? What would your starting XI be? Leave a comment below.

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Player of the Season

Robert Lewandowski: Only Mario Gomez and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bettered the Pole’s return of 22 Bundesliga goals this term, not bad for a man who started the season as second-choice striker for Borussia Dortmund. His goals, assists and link-up play as the lone striker have been an integral part of The Borussians title success. So much so, in fact, that Lucas Barrios, the man whose injury gave Lewandowski his chance, has been sold to Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou Evergrande.

Eurosport’s Ian Holyman said: “22 goals is a great return for a man who started the season as second-choice to Lucas Barrios. The Pole seized his opportunity wonderfully when Barrios returned injured from the Copa America, and I think gave Dortmund more as their lone striker than the Paraguayan did in 2010-11.”

Young Player of the Season

Marco Reus: He’ll be a teammate of Lewandowski next season, having agreed back in January to play in the black and yellow of Dortmund from next season, with a fee of around £17.5m reported to have been paid for his services. If he carries on from this season, that will be an absolute bargain. Only Gomez, Huntelaar and Lewandowski have more ‘points’ in terms of goals and assists combined, with Reus delivering 18 goals and 9 assists for Monchengladbach – a remarkable return for a 22-year-old, and one that played a huge part in The Foals securing a Champions League spot.

Ian Holyman said: “Sensational for Mönchengladbach…He’s a player who I think will receive wider acclaim at EURO 2012, where he isn’t likely to start, but will be explosive when he comes off the bench.”

Manager of the Season

Jurgen Klopp: While honourable mentions must go to Lucien Favre (‘Gladbach) and Christian Streich (Freiburg) et al, Klopp deserves this for leading Dortmund to back-to-back league titles for the first time since the mid-90s. His role in the success of the side, and the development of youngsters like Mario Gotze, cannot be underestimated, and his reputation is now such that his name is linked with almost every top managerial vacancy. However, you’d imagine he’ll be at Dortmund for the forseeable (and very bright) future.

“Managed to find the rights words to inspire his team to hold off Bayern, who invested heavily last summer, once again.” – Ian Holyman.

Team of the Season (4-2-3-1)

Ter-Stegen; Piszczek, Hummels, Dante, Lahm; Bargfrede, Kroos; Harnik, Kagawa, Reus; Lewandowski.

Do you agree? Should someone else have won? Shocked Huntelaar was left out of the team of the season? Leave a comment and let us know…

The Champions League climax no one saw coming is final-ly (sorry!) upon us.

This was supposed to be the ultimate El Clasico; the grandest game on the grandest stage.

Not one, but two teams decided to spoil the party. And it could be even better for it.

Bayern’s role in the final was always set to be hosts. However, while it had long been known the game would be played at their home, no one expected them to be in.

Chelsea, meanwhile, thwarted their modern rivals Barcelona. They came through far from unscathed, but came through nonetheless.

Both sides have had casualties, mostly because of suspension. David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luis Gustavo miss out for Bayern. Chelsea’s losses were even greater: Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and, of course, John Terry are all forced to sit this one out.

The defence of both teams is where the suspensions have stung the most, and could well have the greatest impact on the game. The loss of Badstuber and Alaba means the left half of Bayern’s back four is missing.

Philipp Lahm will switch to left back, where he is equally as excellent, but the incoming Rafinha at right back and Daniel van Buyten at centre half are less so, and the likes of Juan Mata and Didier Drogba will more than fancy their chances against them.

It’s the same story for Chelsea, who will likely see a centre back pairing of David Luiz and Gary Cahill, and are set to be in for a tough night against the freescoring Mario Gomez. Similarly, Franck Ribery will be licking his lips at the thought of running at Jose Bosingwa.

In midfield, meanwhile, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien will need to turn the clock back and play like their old selves against a midfield duo of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos. The former is rightly regarded as one of the best central midfielders in the world, and Kroos – who has had a stellar season – will surely be in time.

It’s likely to be a fairly tight affair, and Chelsea will need to be at their Barcelona-beating best to come away with their win. In my opinion, especially given the fact they’re virtually the away side, that will be a bridge too far.

Key Man: Toni Kroos. Talk will be of Gomez, ‘Robbery’, Mata, Drogba and so on. But it’s the young midfielder who is capable of pulling all the strings.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Chelsea

Who do you think will win? Make a prediction in the comments section below…

The Bundesliga is over for another season (*sigh*), and we at Das Boot are jumping on the bandwagon that is end of season awards. Vote below to have your say on Player, Young Player and Manager of the Year.

 
 

One team fighting to come up, another fighting to stop themselves going down. It can only mean one thing: the Bundesliga play-off is upon us.

Hertha BSC narrowly avoided automatic relegation on the last day of the season, with FC Koln the team joining Kaiserslauten in 2. Bundesliga.

Berlin’s reward for temporarily beating the drop is the double-headed play-off against Fortuna Dusseldorf, who finished third in Germany’s second division.

Berlin were only promoted back to the Bundesliga last year, after a solitary season in the second tier, and that will not be something they’ll be looking for more of.

For Dusseldorf, meanwhile, promotion would represent a remarkable rise through the leagues for a side that were in the 4th division eight years ago, and were only promoted from the third division in 2009.

Hertha’s form is, given their league position, unsurprisingly poor, with just one win, one draw and three defeats from their last five games. However, Dusseldorf’s is not much better, a bit of a surprise given their final league place. They head into the game on the back of two wins, two draws and a defeat.

Hertha will also take heart from winning such a crucial game against Hoffenheim on the last day of the season, and the same cannot be said for Dusseldorf. For that reason, I’d back to Die Alte Dame to stay in the Bundesliga.

Eurosport’s Ian Holyman echoed these sentiments, saying: “Having seen their [Dusseldorf’s] display against ten-man Duisburg on the final day of the season, and the poor form they’ve had in 2012 – just 4 wins – I cannot see them beating Hertha.

“Admittedly, Hertha have not been in great form themselves since the turn of the year…but they have players of genuine quality in their squad, who have under-performed.

“Dusseldforf, other than young attacking midfielder Max Beister, who’ll return to Hamburg in the summer when his loan expires, have no-one of similar ilk.”

 

Who’ll be the Bundesliga side after these two games? Comment below with your thoughts ahead of the play-off…