That’s it: the first leg of the season is over. 17 match days since August, and that is more than enough to see who the winners and losers are this season. I thought I’d compile a magic 11 to show you who I think has really come off well.
As goalie, I’d take Manuel Neuer from Schalke 04. Despite the fact that his team had some serious starting splutters this season, he is in no way to blame, and showed himself to be Germany’s best goalie in the Champions’ League and international games. Others like Adler, Wiese or Weidenfeller aren’t fit to lick his goalkeeper’s gloves.
For defence, I’d go to Borussia Dortmund. In 17 whole games, opposing teams have only been able to put 10 balls past the net: the numbers add up, and so I’d book Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Marcel Schmelzer any day. Nevertheless, my dream team does not have any other defence players, because there are just far too many good strikers going around in this first half of the season, and I need space for them too. Unfortunately, that means I can’t take Lukasz Piszczek (also Dortmund), Sebastian Jung (Eintracht Frankfurt) or Christian Fuchs (Mainz 05) into the team.
My midfield, too, is heavy on Dortmunders. Shinji Kagawa is, if you ask me, the discovery this season. This Japanese guy just came out of nowhere (well, out of Japan’s second league – which is pretty close to nowhere…) and is now one of the biggest footballing stars in Germany. I’d pair him up with Nuri Sahin, who has worked well with the Borussia trainer Jürgen Klopp to become probably the Bundesliga’s best midfielder. I’d back this duo up with Mainz’ Lewis Holtby, who proved his importance this weekend during the game against St. Pauli, which Mainz took 4:2 by finding their way back to the attacking style that served them so well at the beginning of the season: and it was Holtby’s playmaking that helped them to do this. Recently, however, coach Thomas Tuchel had not been fielding him so often, and the effect was a drop off in Mainz’ results. Holtby is getting enough games, though, since he has now been taken up into the Germany team. My fourth midfielder, by the way, is Pirmin Schwegler. This Swiss lad has become the lynchpin of Frankfurt’s side this season, and if he were to move back down to the Alps, Eintracht would be nowhere near their current 7th place in the table.
In terms of strikers, it’s an embarrassment of riches this season. There’s André Schürrle from Mainz, Schalke’s Raul and Kaiserslautern’s Srdjan Lakic. Or how about Bayern München’s Mario Gomez? Or Werder Bremen’s Hugo Almeida? They all of them are worth a place in my dream eleven. Nevertheless, I’d have to opt for Theofanis Gekas before any of them: he’s shot 14 goals this season, making him top of the league’s goal-scorers and something of a phenomenon to boot. His coach, Michael Skibbe, is partially responsible, though, because he knows exactly how Gekas like to play and leaves him all the space he needs to do so. This Greek player his not always at the forefront of play, but is always where he needs to be when the time is right: like during the 1:0 victory over table-toppers Borussia Dortmund this weekend. Good work!
I’d have Gekas playing with Papiss Cissé, who is astonishingly consistent in terms of his goal-scoring: Freiburg can be thankful to him for their high placing at the moment. The same is true of my last striker, by the way, Didier Ya Konan, who came to Germany from the Ivory Coast (via Norway!) and who was something of an unknown – until he became the centrepiece of Hannover’s team and starting getting calls from other big teams. Nevertheless, he seems happy in Hannover and has just extended his contract there. So it looks like I won’t be able to sign him for my fantasy eleven just yet…
Results Matchday 17:
Borussia Mönchengladbach – Hamburger SV 1:2
FC Schalke 04 – 1. FC Köln 3:0
Werder Bremen – 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1:2
VfL Wolfsburg – 1899 Hoffenheim 2:2
Eintracht Frankfurt – Borussia Dortmund 1:0
1. FC Nürnberg – Hannover 96 3:1
FC St. Pauli – 1. FSV Mainz 05 2:4
Bayer Leverkusen – SC Freiburg 2:2
VfB Stuttgart – Bayern München 3:5
1 Borussia Dortmund 43 P
2 1. FSV Mainz 05 33 P
3 Bayer Leverkusen 33 P
4 Hannover 96 31 P
5 Bayern München 29 P
6 SC Freiburg 28 P
7 Eintracht Frankfurt 26 P
8 1899 Hoffenheim 25 P
9 Hamburger SV 24 P
10 FC Schalke 04 22 P
11 1. FC Nürnberg 22 P
12 1. FC Kaiserslautern 21 P
13 VfL Wolfsburg 19 P
14 Werder Bremen 19 P
15 FC St. Pauli 17 P
16 1. FC Köln 15 P
17 VfB Stuttgart 12 P
18 Borussia Mönchengladbach 10 P