It’s normally a difficult task to put together a Team of the Season, however the dominance of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Champions League make the task that much easier.
Without needing to be a Bundesliga connoisseur, the likes of Neuer, Lahm, Dante, Hummels, Alaba, Gundogan, Schweinsteiger, Reus, Ribery, Muller and Lewandowski would probably grace the pitch of anyone’s Team of the Season with little debate.
However, to make things a bit more difficult for myself and to hopefully make this article a more interesting read, I’ve decided to create a Bundesliga Team of the Season without any Bayern or Dortmund players present.
In reality, many players from these 2 illustrious clubs deserve to be part of the Season XI, however there are a number of players who have had fantastic seasons for other clubs but unfortunately fail to get a mention besides the might of their Bayern and Dortmund counterparts.
Behold, my Bundesliga Team of 2012/13 (if we ignore Bayern and Dortmund!)…
Oliver Baumann (Freiburg) – The Germany Under 21 International goalkeeper takes the position between the posts after starring in an impressive season for Freiburg. Baumann started every Bundesliga game, kept a league high 13 clean sheets and was a key reason why Freiburg had the 3rd meanest defence in the league as they conceded just 40 goals (only Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen conceded less) on their way to 5th place in the table.
Daniel Carvajal (Bayer Leverkusen) – After signing last summer for around £5 million, the 21 year old Spanish right back has had an excellent season at Leverkusen. He was practically an ever present after missing just 2 league games and has been impressive in both defence and from an attacking perspective – he has averaged 3.4 tackles per game (joint 9th highest) and 3.7 interceptions per game (joint 2nd highest), as well as scored 1 goal and provided 7 assists.
He will not be gracing the Bundesliga unfortunately next season though as Real Madrid have exercised their buy-back option for a fee around £6.5 million.
Naldo (Wolfsburg) – Brazilian defender Naldo has had a good first season with Wolfsburg after moving from Werder Bremen last summer. A strong, tall centre back, Naldo ranks high for both aerial duels won per game (3.3 per game, joint 7th highest) and interceptions (3.4 per game, joint 5th highest).
In addition, his physical presence has caused issues for opposing defence as he has managed to score 6 goals in the league making him the most prolific goalscoring defender along with Per Nilsson.
Heiko Westermann (Hamburg) – The versatile German International was an ever present for Hamburg this season after starting all 34 games.
Despite an inconsistent season which saw Hamburg humiliated 9-2 by Bayern yet get the double over Dortmund, the former club Captain impressed overall at the back – averaging 3.7 interceptions per game (joint 2nd highest), 4.2 aerial duals per game (3rd highest) and 7.3 clearances per game (3rd highest).
Oliver Sorg (Freiburg) – The Germany Under 21 International is comfortable playing on either the left or right side of defence, although he has featured predominantly on the left this season.
Another standout performer in Freiburg’s impressive season, Sorg has been solid defensively having made more interceptions than any other player in the Bundesliga with an average 4.1 per game in addition to making an average 3.4 tackles per game (joint 9th highest).
Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen) – The German midfielder and twin brother of Dortmund’s Sven, has had an excellent season for 3rd place Leverkusen. Featuring in all but 1 game this season, he has chipped in with 3 goals and 6 assists.
Despite this achievement, it is Bender’s defensive play that gets him into the team – he has averaged 4.1 tackles per game (3rd highest) and 2.5 interceptions per game (joint 13th highest) to help shield the Leverkusen backline.
Milan Badelj (Hamburg) – The 24 year old Croatian International has been a key member of Hamburg’s starting 11 this season having won 4 Man of the Match awards in 30 appearances.
Regarded as a deep-lying playmaker, Badelj has provided 5 assists with his impressive range of passing, averaging 58 passes per game (joint 9th highest) and 5.9 long balls per game (joint 17th highest), whilst being able to do a good job for the team defensively with an average of 3.7 tackles per game (joint 6th highest) and 3.5 interceptions per game (4th highest).
Heung-Min Son (Hamburg) – At just 20 years of age, the 2012/13 season was already Son’s third as an important Hamburg first team member. In what has been a spectacular season and his best to date, the pacey attacker has found the back of the net on 12 separate occasions and provided 2 assists in 34 appearances.
His versatility and fine form has persuaded Leverkusen to part with a reported £10 million for the South Korean star.
Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nurnberg) – The Japanese international has been one of the shining lights at Nurnberg in his first season in the Bundesliga. He has provided 10 assists, the highest in the league if you exclude Bayern and Dortmund players, and scored 4 goals to help his team to 10th place in the league.
Kiyotake is a very creative player, completing an average of 2.5 crosses per game (2nd highest) and 2.7 key passes per game (joint 4th highest).
Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen) – The Belgian midfielder is one of the most sought after players in the Bundesliga at present, with both Dortmund and Leverkusen repeatedly linked to the Chelsea youngster.
De Bruyne has had a great season despite Werder Bremen’s poor showing, scoring 10 goals, providing 9 assists and winning 7 Man of the Match awards in 33 appearances. Averaging 2.7 shots per game (joint 6th highest) and 2.6 key passes per game (joint 5th highest), De Bruyne is a game-changer and very dangerous when in the final third of the pitch.
Stefan Kießling (Bayer Leverkusen) – A fantastic season in front of goal saw the tall German crowed the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga with 25 goals in 34 appearances. Combine this with the 7 assists he provided for his teammates and the striker was directly involved in 49% of Leverkusen’s league goals.
Dangerous with his feet or in the air, Kießling averaged more shots than any other player (3.6 shots per game) and won more aerial duels than any other player (5.4 per game). His scintillating goalscoring form rewarded him with 10 Man of the Match awards (only Ribery won more), although he has yet to shine on the International stage having not featured for the German National team since 2010.
Players that didn’t quite make the cut but deserve a notable mention:
Goalkeeper – Rene Adler (Hamburg), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Defender – Bastian Oczipka (Eintracht Frankfurt), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Philipp Wollscheid (Bayer Leverkusen), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke)
Midfielder – Pirmin Schwegler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Gonzalo Castro (Bayer Leverkusen), Max Kruse (Freiburg), Juan Arango (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jefferson Farfan (Schalke), Szabolcs Huszti (Hannover), Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Diego (Wolfsburg)
Forward – Alex Meier (Eintracht Franfurt), Vedad Ibisevic (Stuttgart), Adam Szalai (Mainz), Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover)
So, what do you think? Agree or disagree? Let me know!
(Stats via WhoScored and Squawka)
Written by Dave Hornby
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