Archive for the ‘Bundesliga’ Category

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 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…

The die has been cast, and both Greuther Furth and Eintracht Frankfurt will be plying their trade in the Bundesliga next season.

Furth are celebrating as champions, with Frankfurt happy to have played second-fiddle as the end result has ultimately been the same: promotion.

You’d have to go all the way back to matchday three to find an instance of neither side being in the top two positions, and they have occupied the automatic promotion spots together since matchday 22.

Olivier Occean has led the charge for Furth this season, with 17 goals and 6 assists for the Cloverleaves. He has been aided and abetted by, to name but two, Sercan Sararer (9 goals, 12 assists) and Christopher Nothe (13 goals, 1 assist).

For their individual efforts, it has been a team effort that has seen Mike Buskens men reach the promised land that is the Bundesliga for the very first time.

Ian Holyman, Bundesliga writer for Eurosport, said: “Furth have been the bridesmaid and never the bride a number of times in recent years, but has now won the 2BL title and will play in the top flight for the first time. It promises to be tough for them, though they will have taken heart from the performance of Augsburg this season.

“They have some useful players, such as forward Olivier Occean, who has scored goals at all levels he’s played at up till now, though he’s unproven at the highest level. As they don’t have the biggest resources, they are going to require their squad to step up collectively.”

While it’s first time for Furth, it’s a case of back at the first time of asking for Frankfurt.

Most expected them to bounce straight back from their relegation last season, and they haven’t disappointed.

The Eagles have done it with style as well, finishing as the league’s top scorers. Alexander Meier matched Occean’s 17 goals and 6 assists, with Mohamadou Idrissou finishing with 14 goals, while both Benjamin Kohler and Erwin Hoffer scored 9.

Holyman said: “That accolade [of most attractive side] goes to Eintracht Frankfurt, who have bounced back into the top flight at the first attempt.

“They have some excellent players, such as Alex Meier, while I really rate their right-back, Sebastian Jung, who is undoubtedly a future German international. I’d give them more of a chance of staying up as they have greater financial clout too.”

The relegation battle will reach an epic climax this weekend, with two teams fighting to avoid the automatic drop.

Hertha Berlin are at home to Hoffenheim, and it is literally a must win game, anything else and they will be on their way to 2. Bundesliga.

FC Koln, meanwhile, face the daunting task of welcoming Bayern Munich to the RheinEnergieStadion. They can afford to draw, or even lose, but must hope that Hertha do the same.

The chances of Koln getting something from the game, however, look slim; they have the league’s worst defence, while Bayern have the second best attack.

Hertha, meanwhile, will be slightly more confident of getting the necessary win against mid-table Hoffenheim, although their home form has let them down this season: three wins, three draws and 10 defeats. Markus Babbel’s side, by contrast, have picked up twenty points on their travels this season, the 7th best record in the league.

The fact that these two sides are struggling will come as a surprise to anyone who was only watching before the winter break.

After the first 17 games of the season, Koln were 10th with Hertha in 11th, having picked up 21 and 20 points respectively. In their last 16 games, The Billy Goats have managed nine points, The Old Lady just eight.

Form suggests neither side will win, which would mean relegation for Hertha. History seemingly can’t pick between the two: the Berlin side were only promoted last year; Koln have been relegated three times in the last decade. 

Die Alte Dame slipped into the 17th position they currently occupy after matchday 26, following a 6-0 defeat to Bayern. Die Geißböcke first occupied 16th after matchday 28. Neither has moved since. In fact, since Hertha’s fall into the relegation zone, they have managed only one win between them.

Koln could be helped by the fact that Bayern will be focusing on their two upcoming cup finals, although Hoffenheim don’t exactly have much to play for either. It’s down to the wire, and it certainly looks too close to call.

Allan Edgar, of Bundesliga Football, did give us his prediction however. He said: “Köln to me are likely to be automatically relegated – they have been in freefall and not even the outgoing Lukas Podolski will be able to save them it seems. Hertha Berlin I consider to have enough in their arsenal to fight the drop. If they finish in the play-off spot I would envisage them seeing off the challengers from 2. Bundesliga.”