BUNDESLIGA 2015: Dortmund rediscover lost mojo as Lewandowski gets into his groove
Raf Diallo looks at the year in German football11:03 Wednesday 30 December 2015, 11:03 30 Dec 2015
What a difference a year makes. 365 little days … to paraphrase the song made famous by Dinah Washington.
When it comes to the Barclays Premier League, to give it its full name, our yesterday was Blue at the start of the year but while the hue remains the same, it’s the Leicester of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez who have been the real story of 2015.
While their run to the upper reaches of the table this season will never be forgotten, let’s not forget that the first half of the calendar year bore witness to their great escape from relegation thanks to the not-so-media-friendly Nigel Pearson.
But while cross-channel action captures the attention for traditional reasons, it’s been an interesting year of football on the continent, spanning the end of last season and the start of the current campaign.
Today let's look at the footballing year in Germany.
Like Austin Powers in the Spy Who Shagged Me, Borussia Dortmund lost their mojo only to win it back again.
A charismatic protagonist in his own right of course, Jurgen Klopp righted the ship somewhat to steer Dortmund away from the Bundesliga relegation zone in 2015 before ending his seven year love affair with the club before the summer.
Thomas Tuchel has them back where they belong in the second half of 2015 as the best in the rest in Germany after Bayern Munich and with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoying a superb calendar year.
The Gabonese striker has just shy of 20 league goals in the latter part of 2015 to add to the 11 domestic strikes he netted in the first half of the calendar year.
Let’s just say that the evidence of 2015 proves that Dortmund are back, yeah baby, yeah!!!
Bayern's Robert Lewandowski, second right, and teammate Arjen Robben celebrate after Lewandowski scored his side's third goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga again in April with a few games to spare but that will hardly matter for the departing Pep Guardiola who again fell flat to Spanish opposition in the Champions League semi-finals, this time to his boyhood Barcelona.
It was a good year personally though for his centre-forward Robert Lewandowski, who is in formidable goalscoring form and made everyone sit up and take notice when he scored an astonishing five goals in nine minutes against a Wolfsburg side that finished second last season and are into this campaign’s Champions League knockout stages.
Speaking of Wolfsburg, they lost Kevin de Bruyne to Manchester City in the summer, which has pushed them a little bit back down the table.
However, clubs with more tradition than the Volkswagen-owned team have enjoyed a resurgence.
Seventies’ giants Borussia Monchengladbach were back in Europe’s elite in the Champions League group stages, while 1983 European Cup winners Hamburg have shaken off their recent habit of battling a first ever Bundesliga relegation in the second half of the year. They are in a relatively comfortable mid-table spot that a struggling Stuttgart would only love. Werder Bremen are another traditional big club who have spent the vast majority of 2015 out of the top half of the table.
The whole concept of traditional and non-traditional clubs popped up there earlier and if you look down in 2.Bundesliga, RB Leipzig look like they will be in the Bundesliga this season.
RB Leipzig's players (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Having ended up fifth in the second tier in May, they are now top of the division heading into 2016 and that will anger traditionalists.
RB Leipzig are owned by energy drinks giant Red Bull hence the RB part (even though that actually stands for RasenBall) and their rise has not been welcomed in a land where club member association ownership or more accurately, the 50+1 has generally held sway with a few notable exceptions like Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen.
RB Leipzig have bubbled under the surface in 2015, expect a fizzy shake-up in 2016 assuming they do reach the Bundesliga.
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