Germany’s Bundesliga: 2014/15 Team of the Season

The 2014/15 Bundesliga is all over but the fighting, of which there has been lots. Emir Spahic was sacked by Bayer Leverkusen for head-butting a steward after a cup defeat to Bayern Munich, while Hamburg’s Johan Djorou and Valon Behrami went at it during half-time in their match with Wolfsburg.

Those were unsavoury incidents in what has been another madcap season in Germany both on and off the field. Managers came and went, little Augsburg qualified for Europe against the odds while the giants of Dortmund and Hamburg lumbered in the lower reaches of the table, the latter requiring a play-off with Karlsruhe to avoid relegation.

It was of course won again by Bayern Munich, this time by a margin of 10 points, and while such dominance may see them heavily influence this Bundesliga team of the season for 14/15, we will attempt to share out the recognition.

 

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Yes he largely benefits from a team that hogs the ball to overwhelm opponents, but the 29 year old sweeper-keeper is a major component to Pep Guardiola’s high-line that allows his team to press up the field.

Always on his toes and willing to rush out and repel any danger once a ball leaks through Bayern’s firm back-line, Neuer has redefined the role and is worth his place in any team.

The German kept 20 clean sheets, 4 more than anybody else in the league, on his way to a third Bundesliga title and averages 7.3 saves per goal. His 18 goals conceded is by far the best record in the league.

 

Right-back: Vieirinha (VFL Wolfsburg)

His menacing runs from full-back have been good enough to convince Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking the Portuguese international he carries enough threat to be played in attacking midfield.

He is a right-back by trade though and has proven an extremely diligent defender as well as a significant threat going forward.

Impressive numbers such as 101 attempted tackles and 69 interceptions are balanced out by 37 created chances and 5 assists as his irrepressible engine keeps him bombing up and down the right-flank.

 

Centre-back: Tony Jantschke (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Only Bayern Munich conceded less than Gladbach’s 26 goals and a big factor in that solidity was the 5ft 9 inch Jantschke who rarely makes mistakes.

The 25 year old was a model of consistency for Lucien Favre, missing just 3 league games and putting in a series of committed, diligent displays.

His determination is best indicated by his strength in the air, winning 87 of 126 headed duels despite being standing at sub 6ft.

His distribution from the back is also an impressive attribute, finishing the season having completed 87% of his 1870 attempted passes.

 

Centre-back: Naldo (VFL Wolfsburg)

The Brazilian centre-half finished the campaign with 7 goals and 2 assists to his name, while with 118 interceptions no defender in the German top-flight managed more.

Dominant in the air he won 71.4% of his aerial challenges and with a 67.3% success rate in the tackle he was a tough man to get past.

It was his tenth season in the Bundesliga and it was arguably his best, playing 32 times as Wolfsburg claimed a Champions League spot.

 

Left-back: Jonas Hector (FC Cologne)

According to stats website Squawka only Hannover’s Marcelo has better defensive stats than Jonas Hector who was successful with 257 of his duels last season.

The 25 year old has been a model of consistency for Koln as they recorded the best defensive record outside of the top 4 and that form has seen him break into the German national squad.

He also marked the campaign with a superb solo goal against Hoffenheim.

 

Central-midfield: Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach)

No midfielder in the German top-flight blocked more shots than Xhaka while only 4 made more interceptions, illustrating his fine defensive ability as he offered protection to Gladbach’s rigid back-line.

He is tireless in getting around the midfield area and he is also a gifted mover of the ball, only Munich’s brilliant Xabi Alonso completed more passes last term than the Swiss midfielder who gets into this side ahead of Alonso after playing with a fractured rib for a month.

 

Central-midfield: Luiz Gustavo (VFL Wolfsburg)

Wolfsburg’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer managed to keep 15 clean sheets last term as Wolfsburg, even though they shipped a total of 38 goals, failed to lose a single home game and let in just 13 at their Volkswagen Arena.

A big contributor to that was Luiz Gustavo who patrolled the area ahead of his defence with typical intelligence and diligence.

His total of 97 interceptions was unrivalled by the rest of the Bundesliga’s midfielders as the 27 year old Brazilian played well enough to spark rumours of a £33 million summer move to Chelsea.

 

Attacking-midfielder: Patrick Herrmann (Borussia Monchengladbach)

The new long-term contract he signed with the Foals back in April squashed any likelihood of a move to Arsenal or Manchester United and their interest in the 24 year old should be indicative of his form this season.

The Gladbach youth product held off competition from Ibrahima Traore and Andre Hahn for his place at the start of the season to develop into a vibrant attacking force who ended the season with 11 goals and 4 assists.

Herrmann has played on both wings for Gladbach this season creating 34 chances, and is a leader of their lightning-fast counter-attacks.

 

Attacking-midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne (VFL Wolfsburg)

In his first full season for Wolfsburg De Bruyne smashed the Bundesliga assist record with 20 and also chipped in with 10 goals as he has been released from his shackles in Lower Saxony and became player of the season.

No longer tied to the defensive-work Jose Mourinho expected of him at Chelsea, the 23 year-old Belgian has blossomed into an irresistible winger, making use of sublime control, wonderful quick-feet and blistering pace to charge Wolfsburg’s searing counters.

Nobody in the German league created more chances than De Bruyne’s 91 and having tallied 96 shots on goal only Hakan Calhanoglu and Karim Bellarabi of Bayer Leverkusen totalled more.

He was directly involved in 29 of Wolfsburg’s 68 goals and carrying such a relentless and deadly threat, it is no surprise to see Manchester City linked with a move to bring De Bruyne back to the Premier League this summer to the tune of £40 million.

 

Attacking-midfielder: Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

The Dutch winger was narrowly pipped to the Bundesliga best player award by De Bruyne after he suffered a season-ending injury at the end of April.

Despite that, and only managing 20 starts for the champions this term, the 31 year old scored 17 times and added 7 assists as he was playing some scintillating football before he suffered the setback.

Robben’s total of 89 shots is bettered only by Robert Lewandowski in the Bayern squad and the 50 chances the Dutchman created is the highest number in the squad.

With Bayern unable to replace his pace and threat in wide areas, it was no coincidence that their form badly declined since his calf tear.

 

Striker: Alex Meier (Eintracht Frankfurt)

With 19 goals he is the Bundesliga top-scorer who wasn’t supposed to be. Meier started the season on the bench under Thomas Schaaf but has since seized the mantle of Frankfurt’s talisman, almost firing them into Europe at the age of 32.

In a league where the revolutionary Guardiola has won the league as coach, there is an irony that the golden boot winner should be an old-fashioned number 9 who relies on predatory instinct and deadly composure in-front of goal.

All but one of his strikes have come inside the area and for a player who had previously struck more than 10 goals once in the Bundesliga before this season, he has found a clinical edge and has not stopped scoring, well until injury finished his season in early April.

 

Written by Adam Gray

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250

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