The Bundesliga, in the opinion of many, has overtaken the Premier League in England as the best league in the world – for us it is not quite there yet, as you rarely see teams near the bottom even get near some of the bigger teams, whereas in England the bottom team can beat any of the top few on their day, which happens very often!
The 2013/14 season was rather one sided at the top – Bayern winning their 23rd title with 7 games to go, a new record in Germany. On average there were 3.1 goals per game! Further down the table was the interesting bit – here are the main facts to take from the season:
Champions – Bayern (CL Group Stage), 2nd-3rd – Dortmund/Schalke (CL Group Stage)
4th – Leverkusen (CL Playoff Round), 5th – Wolfsburg (EL Group Stage)
6th/7th – Monchengladbach/Mainz (EL Qualifying Rounds)
Relegated – Eintracht Braunschweig/Nurnburg
Promoted – Cologne (Koln) + Paderborn
- Robert Lewandowski – 20 Goals (Dortmund)
- Mario Mandzukic – 18 Goals (Bayern)
- Josip Drmic – 17 Goals (Nurnburg)
- Marco Reus – 14 Assists (16 Goals) – Dortmund
- Roberto Firmino – 12 Assists (16 Goals) – Hoffenheim/Max Kruse – 12 Assists (M’gladbach)
- Alexandru Maxim – 11 Assists (Stuttgart) / Franck Ribery – 11 Assists (Bayern)
One case where goals did not mean success – Nurnburg – Josip Drmic scored 17, but the giants still went down with a whimper. Bayern dominated, which was clear to see. Dortmund, having lost Gotze in the summer, replaced well with Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, but injuries to Schmelzer, Subotic and Hummels cost them dearly. Erik Durm and the stand-in centre backs did a decent job but they could not prevent Bayern’s dominance.
Schalke prevailed this season, with the talents of Huntelaar, Julian Draxler and Max Meyer proving to be more than useful – they finished 3rd and made it to the Champions League group stages. Leverkusen dropped off towards the end, securing 4th and a place in the playoff rounds of the CL.
Entering the Europa League this season is Wolfsburg, who had a brilliant season thanks to the likes of Luis Gustavo and Ivica Olic. They were very good all season long, proving more than a match for the big boys, taking plenty of points in the process. Borussia M’gladbach also enter the qualifying rounds of the EL, as do Mainz, who despite losing Adam Szalai, did very well. An honourable mention goes to Augsburg, who were one point behind Mainz. They were very nearly relegated last season but did brilliantly in this campaign. 8th place was deserved.
Braunschweig were the other along with Nurnburg to go down, in their first season in the Bundesliga. They were 18th from the 2nd week, never leaving the foot of the table once. Hopefully newly promoted Paderborn, who similarly are set for their first season in the top flight. They were runners up to Koln, who won the II division after a few seasons down.
Furth and Hamburg contested the relegation playoff – after a 0-0 first leg and a 1-1 2nd leg, Hamburg came out on top thanks to an away goal from Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who interestingly turned down Newcastle this summer to stay with Hamburg. Strange one!
The 2014/15 season could be even more one sided, with Bayern securing Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund, who in turn have replaced him with Torino’s surprise top scorer – Ciro Immobile. The big Italian may struggle in the Bundesliga, but only time will tell. Toni Kroos has departed for Real Madrid – but Bayern have plenty of players capable of covering the World Cup winner.