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Bundesliga - The Midseason Report

 
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Backspacer


Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:18 am    Post subject: Bundesliga - The Midseason Report Reply with quote

Halfway home through the 34-game season and bored as hell waiting for winter break to be over (the league has been off since December 18th and resumes play on January 20th), here's my review of what's been going on in Germany.

THE TABLE



THE BEST XI

Up Front


ST: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich)
ST: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04)

Plain and simple, the two most prolific goalscorers in the league thus far with Gomez knocking in 16 and Huntelaar with 15, both playing a big hand in their respective clubs claiming the 1st and 3rd spots on the table.

Other candidates under consideration were Werder Bremen's target man Claudio Pizarro whose 14 goals have played a big part in his club's quick revival after last year's disappointing campaign and Huntelaar's partner, Raúl González, who has excelled in a supporting role this season, doling out four assists to go with his 10 goals.

The Midfield


LM: Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
CM: Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
CM: Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich)
RM: Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Both of the attacking players in the selection were no-brainers, both at times holding one-man-army status for their clubs, Podolski having a career year thus far with 14 goals and four assists for the otherwise hapless Köln and Reus leading the Champions League charge for Mönchengladbach with 10 goals and consistent electrifying performances.

The selection of central midfielders was a bit more difficult, but both Kroos and Bender have both excelled this year, both being just about the player on each's respective team thus far, and pushing their way into the German MNT picture.

Others under considerations were some other recognizable names, Dortmund's Mario Götze, who has put together a strong first half with five assists, and Bayern's Schweinsteiger and Ribéry.

The Back Four


LB: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)
CB: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
CB: Dante (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
RB: Łukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund)

The central defenders have both been the respective rocks of their teams stellar back lines, the third (Dortmund) and second (Mönchengladbach) best defenses in the league. Nothing really new with these two, both were playing at this level at the end of last season. Holger Badstuber of Bayern Munich has taken amazing steps forward this season and I would consider him a close third.

Fullbacks definitely aren't the strong suit of the league (also evidenced by the German MNT's constant search for a natural right back to play across from Lahm. The best two in the league are probably Lahm and Schalke's Christian Fuchs, but both play on the left so I only could choose one. Piszczek has put together a solid campaign.

Goalkeeper


GK: Marc-André ter Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

The 19-year old has continued his fine run of form he picked up on late last season and has played an integral part in Mönchengladbach's transformation from fighting relegation to fighting for titles. The guy is an amazing shot stopper and his level of play is far beyond what his age would indicate, only conceding 11 goals thus far.

Some may be wondering about the omission of Bayern's Manuel Neuer, he's still easily one of the best keepers in the world, but his new gig has simply left him with far less to do and thus, less of a chance to really catch the eye as he did last year. Neuer, Stuttgart's Sven Ulreich, and Leverkusen's Bernd Leno were also under consideration.


MID-SEASON SUPERLATIVES

Best in Show: Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Definetely a fan favorite here on FF, Reus has taken his game to the next level this season with a move to a supporting striker role rather than hugging the touch line as a winger, necessitated by injuries and Mönchengladbach's crap depth. A force to be reckoned with week in, week out, here is what he's done in these first 17 matches.

Breakout Player: Bernd Leno (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

A loan move to Leverkusen necessitated by injuries to René Adler and Fabian Giefer, 19-year old Leno's steady hand has been a huge lift to Leverkusen's leaky defense.

Best Coach: Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich)

Top of the table, ran over the Champions League "Group of Death," Jupp Heynckes has done all of the above so far in the debut year of his third stint at Bayern.

Worst Coach: Felix Magath (VfL Wolfsburg)

Ex-Hamburg coach Michael Oenning gets a dishonorable mention for dragging HSV the into the relegations places, but Magath deservedly receives this dubious honor for squandering what is a very nice amount of talent in the Wolfsburg squad with his gigantic ego and lack of man-management skills (he just yells at his players a lot and hopes it works).

Best Executive: Horst Heldt (Schalke 04)

Shortly after finishing a terrible 14th and losing of Manuel Neuer to Bayern in the summer, Schalke 04 is back in business. Heldt's hiring of head coach Huub Stevens had worked itself out perfectly, his signing of left back Christian Fuchs looks to be the bargain of the year (£3.3m), and S04 looks ready, willing, and able to make a run at silverware in the second half of the season.

Worst Executive: Michael Preetz (Hertha BSC)

Hertha's return to the Bundesliga has gone quite smoothly, 11th in the table as things stand, and his acquisitions this summer on a shoestring budget are doing decently. Overshadowing all of this was his recent dismissal of Markus Babbel, the coach who gained countless plaudits bringing Hertha straight back to the top flight, because of a personal conflict between the two. Mudslinging in the press has me shaking my head even more at what this man has let occur with such an important character within the club.
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amac


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good post, another breakout candidate could be gokhan tore, hes been excellent the few times i've seen him and hes 2nd in the league w/ 6 assists.......really hope arsenal get reus
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PurpleLion


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't follow the club football in Germany much. Didn't know that Babbel was managing there. He was a heck of a player for Liverpool. Don't know the background or full story. There's always one guy with a club in a suit who knows crap about people or football and he's usually not the manager. Liked your write very much.
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yankee0724


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PurpleLion wrote:
I don't follow the club football in Germany much. Didn't know that Babbel was managing there. He was a heck of a player for Liverpool. Don't know the background or full story. There's always one guy with a club in a suit who knows crap about people or football and he's usually not the manager. Liked your write very much.


I somehow missed the last paragraph and thought you were talking about Ryan Babel. I was so confused.
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ukjets21


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't disagree with much here, it's been harder for me to follow the Bundesliga while at university. I think there's been an abundance of great CM's this year with Schweinsteiger and Gotze also being fantastic as backspacer mentioned. I just hope that the Bundesliga can somehow keep it's top talent (both away from Bayern and in Germany altogether), it'd be a shame to see players like Reus, Gotze, Hummels, the Benders, Draxler, Schurrle all leaving.
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LeeEvans


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant write up backspacer. I agree with most of your picks for the season. The central defender pair for me is a no brainer and your fullback choices are good considering the lack of strength in the league at that position.

Podolski and Reus have been absolutely unreal and they deserve their spot as well. I have been immensely impressed by Kroos this season, we have been hearing about his potential for quite some time but it seems like he has really put it together this year. Lars Bender is hard to argue with as well, quality player.

Gomez and Huntelaar are no brainers. Both are scoring goals for fun at the moment and a huge reason for their teams success.

I have been extremely impressed by Gladbach and Werder this season. Gladbach was nearly relegated last year and now look at them, Werder was very poor last season as well and they have quite the turn around as well. I think my manager of the season(at least so far) would be Lucien Favre. What he has done at Gladbach has been absolutely sensational.
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Dr. Philly


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm wwondering how Thomas Muller has been for Munich.
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The Wyzzinator


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading this has literally tripled my Bundesliga IQ. Thanks for putting the time into it. Very enjoyable read.
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LeeEvans


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wyzzinator wrote:
Reading this has literally tripled my Bundesliga IQ. Thanks for putting the time into it. Very enjoyable read.
I really wish the Bundesliga was more available and had more streams and games in english. It is a fantastic league and it was easier to watch I think a lot more people on here would watch it and become really into it.
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The Wyzzinator


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LeeEvans wrote:
The Wyzzinator wrote:
Reading this has literally tripled my Bundesliga IQ. Thanks for putting the time into it. Very enjoyable read.
I really wish the Bundesliga was more available and had more streams and games in english. It is a fantastic league and it was easier to watch I think a lot more people on here would watch it and become really into it.


Kinda wish FSC would cover Bundesliga over Serie A. (justsayin). Can't tell you the amount of Italian games I switch off, and the amount of times I realize I've just missed out on a decent German game on GolTV.

Also I don't really like watching Streams on ESPN3 unless it's a big game. My video quality isn't great.
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LeeEvans


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wyzzinator wrote:
LeeEvans wrote:
The Wyzzinator wrote:
Reading this has literally tripled my Bundesliga IQ. Thanks for putting the time into it. Very enjoyable read.
I really wish the Bundesliga was more available and had more streams and games in english. It is a fantastic league and it was easier to watch I think a lot more people on here would watch it and become really into it.


Kinda wish FSC would cover Bundesliga over Serie A. (justsayin). Can't tell you the amount of Italian games I switch off, and the amount of times I realize I've just missed out on a decent German game on GolTV.

Also I don't really like watching Streams on ESPN3 unless it's a big game. My video quality isn't great.
I completely agree with you, I would rather have the Bundesliga(or La Liga for that matter) over Serie A. Not to insult the Serie A fans on here but I just can't stand it, I can almost never watch an entire match and it just usually fails to catch my attention.
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roysmyboy31


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good post. Hard to disagree with any choices. Heynckes has done a great job managing Bayern. He is utilizing our entire roster by squad rotations, which we did not do much of under previous regimes. He has been able to bring out the best in our players. He even has Ribery tracking back more for the ball (and having a season reminiscent of 3-4 years ago when he was dominant) and he is maximizing Kroos' potential like when they both were at Leverkusen.

I understand both Kroos and Bender in the CM position. But Schweinsteiger is the engine of what I feel is the best team in the league. His absence was very sorely felt as Bayern did not have anyone to boss the midfield and act as a link between the defense and the attackers. Easily our most valuable player and it did not take the injury for me to know that.

And I would also like to say that the quality of goalkeeping in Germany is excellent. You have Neuer, Leno, and ter Stegen as you have mentioned. But you also have other solid keepers there like Benaglio, Zieler, and Weidenfeller. Kevin Trapp of Kaiserslautern is also a decent keeper who usually goes under the radar. There is even Rene Adler out there, who seems to be forgotten since he has not been able to play this year due to injury. But he was a very promising goalie at one point and was named Germany's #1 after Enke's tragic death. He will need a new start with Leno taking over at Leverkusen.
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ElReyDeLosReyes


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very enjoyable and informative post. Glad to see "El Capitan" still has plenty in the tank left. Hopefully Del Bosque calls him up instead of Torres for the EURO this summer.

Also, interesting that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is having a good season. Show huge potential at Ajax. Did alright in half of season at Madrid. Couldn't beat Marco Borriello for the ST spot at AC Milan. And, is finding his feet again at Schalke. Glad for him.
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lomaxgr


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome read. I really should watch more German football.
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astefan


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice write up
it's hard to argue with most of your selections
the only thing, I can't see, is why Magath is worst coach, while Heldt ist best Manager
Magath did build the Schalke team, that won the DFB Cup and made it to the championsleague semi finals last season
I like to make fun about Magath, but he needs to get respect also and he is far away from worst coach - Dutt imo

but like I said everything else - a great write up - and I totaly agree
now let's enjoy Bayern vs MG tonight
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