Naysayers will brush aside the Bundesliga as a boring one-team league but that would be at their loss to be honest. With fan ownership, great atmosphere, and an environment in which quality young players are given an opportunity to thrive, there’s plenty to like about the Bundesliga.
Having pointed out the obvious draws of the league, one has to admit that it could use some more competition at the top end of the table. Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have emerged as forces to be reckoned with not only domestically but also in Europe in recent years. However, with Dortmund’s slide this season (and Bayern’s dominant campaign the last time around as well), the Bundesliga lacks the drama associated with a prolonged title battle seen in other leagues. This season saw Bayern wrap up the title with plenty of time to spare but the future looks interesting. With their resources, Wolfsburg look ready to challenge Bayern to a greater extent although perhaps they don’t stand for the same ideals that makes the league one to admire. But that’s an argument for another day.
What cannot be denied is that there are plenty of entertaining teams outside the top 2. Lucien Favre has done a great job at Gladbach and as neutrals it’s easy to get behind the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and of course what was the hipsters’ favourite team a couple of years ago, Borussia Dortmund.
And so, here are the winners, as selected by you, our discerning readers!
Goalkeeper of the Year
By now, Manuel Neuer is one hell of a decorated footballer. The keeper has won the European Cup, all German trophies, and now even a World Cup. As an individual, he was even one of the finalists for the Ballon D’or, along with the two usual suspects. He’s a keeper who is the symbol of the changes taking place in the role of that position. All this work to surround him with an aura of invincibility, often a great thing for a goalkeeper. He retains his title in style. Most happily for us, Karius, our choice as one of the best young keepers in Europe, has finished in the top 3 of this list.
Defender of the Year
This category too, sees a youngster, Bernat finishing in the top 3. This is proof of how good a place the Bundeliga is to spot young talent, and to grow, for a young talent. However, Bernat, for all his virtues, has been beaten to the prize by his teammate, Jerome Boateng. Hilarious fall in the semi final aside, Boateng has been a constantly solid presence in the Bayern backline. 3 man, 4 man, or even 2 man, the one player who is always there, and relied on, is Boateng. he has fast risen to being the most important defensive player for his club and his country, which is no mean feat, considering the fact that he’s a City discard.
Midfielder of the Year
Woflsburg have been the surprise package in the Bundesliga this season, and their star player has been Kevin De Bruyne. The former Chelsea man has played all across the middle of the park, and been an attacking force. His loan spell in Germany saw him playing in central midfield, and this really helped him hone his skills. The fruits of that loan spell have been borne by Wolfsburg, as the versatility, decision making, and creativity of the Belgian player has been a treat, Robben and Alonso have finished a far second and third respectively, despite having wonderful season. It’s just a tribute to the brilliance of De Bruyne really.
Forward of the Year
This was a category that saw close competition, with a number of impressive competitors. The usual stars like Lewandowski and Muller were accompanied by the likes of Meier, and Dost, making for good competition. Eventually, the award has gone to the Polish star. Many feel that he’s not really done as well as he was expected to, with his performance in the Champions league semi final help up as an example. However, if a striker can be called the best in his country, in a bad personal season, opposition defenders have to hope he doesn’t have a good one very soon! Bas Dost was another impressive player to emerge from Wolfsburg. He’s no spring chicken, but he’s taken full advantage of the players behind him to perform at a good level and fire his side into the top 2.
Manager of the Year
One of the closest races, this one sees Lucien Favre just about edging out Dietmar Hecking for the award. he award is well deserved, and sees the manager get his recognition after many years of overachievement. Gladbach as a team have been hard to stop, and their quick counter attacking football has made for pulsating viewing for the fans. Along with the results, Gladbach have also seen a lot of young players emerge and make an impact. Players like Kruse, Xhaka, and Sommer have all grown under Favre, much to his credit. hecking too, deserves all the plaudits he’ll get. Resources or not, spending them correctly and getting results isn’t easy, and Hecking has done the tough part of his job well.
Talent Radar Young Player of the Year
Once again, we are very proud of the winner of this category. Hakan Calhanoglu is a player we have tracked via our Talent Radar for almost 2 years now, and his performances this season for Leverkusen are making Europe sit up and take notice. He’s consistently been ranked as one of the better young midfielders in Europe too. A creative player with a penchant for the spectacular, Calhanoglu seems to be getting better and better. Bernat and Karius, who have finished in second and third have also had great seasons. Karius in particular has been one of the stand out keepers in the division. Bernat has been thrown onto the big stage straight away, and he’s looked like he’s always belonged there.
Player of the Year
Once again, finishing well above his competition, Robben and Neuer, is Kevin De Bruyne. Rejected by, and ignored at Chelsea, the Belgian midfielder has silenced his critics quite spectacularly. He’s proven that he isn’t a jack of all trades, he’s the master of all trades, with his excellent performances across the positions he’s been deployed in. Robben looked like he was having the season of his life, until injuries cut him short. The fact that he’s second on the list despite a premature end to the season speaks for itself. Neuer rounds up the top 3. As always, the keeper has been very impressive, and led Bayern’s title charge.