We are reaching the end of this season and, inevitably, teams around Europe and worldwide are preparing themselves for the summer transfer window. The focus for many will be on exciting prospects and young talents from around the globe. Here is a list of 13 talented African footballers who are going to be high on […]
Another Bundesliga season is over and although the league of the reigning world champions does seem a bit one-sided at the top, it still produced surprising winners and losers.
Here is our Just Football team of the season, Bundesliga 2016/2017. P.S. – Yes there are two major notable additions, but we all already know how good those two are by now anyway, right…?
Bundesliga team of the season 2016/17
Timo Horn (1. FC Köln)
Germany has never been short of quality goalkeepers, so one could pick almost any name here. With the obvious choice of Manuel Neuer not having to show his qualities in the league too often, our choice fell on one from the newer generation.
Before and after missing 14 games this season due to injury, the Cologne keeper Timo Horn, who is the favourite of German sport journalists this year, gave his defence confidence and made it into the notebook of Andreas Köpke, the goalkeeping coach of the national team.
Niklas Süle (TSG Hoffenheim)
The Hoffenheim defender Niklas Sule who, along with Timo Horn, put himself into the spotlight during the Olympic tournament in Rio last year, was already in our team of the first half-season. He managed to keep playing at the high level he had in fall, eventually making our prediction come true that he might join Bayern Munich next season. Uli Hoeneß is just so predictable…
Mats Hummels (FC Bayern München)
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) June 12, 2017
The former Dortmund captain Mats Hummels returned to his youth club last summer, and did not need much time to acclimatise.
He was probably the most constant of Bayern’s centrebacks throughout the past year, although he will remember the season not so much for the league matches, but for his heroic fights in the cup against Dortmund and the Champions League against Real Madrid, when he played “one-legged” according to himself. Back then he showed how to replace physical fitness with anticipation and an eye capable of reading the game.5
Marc Bartra (Borussia Dortmund)
In a normal year, the young Spaniard, who joined Borussia Dortmund from Barcelona, would not have made our team of the season. But for Dortmund this was everything but a normal year. When the team bus was attacked by what appears to be a greedy speculating terrorist, Marc Bartra was the only player severely injured and had to be hospitalised. After the team won the cup, bringing the season to a happy end, he stands as a bright symbol of BVB’s resilience.
Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig)
The Swede, like Niklas Süle, has also been one of our first half season favourites. After his three-match ban for a foul against Philipp Lahm in early spring, Emil Forsberg confirmed his strong performances of fall and winter and collected 30 scorer points in the end, with an outstanding 22 assists. Without his contribution RB Leipzig would most probably not have finished just behind Bayern, which earned them a spot in the Champions League next year.
Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München)
The old man from the Netherlands is still one of the best wingers in Europe. Arjen Robben‘s ever-energetic performances on the right wing and his almost teenage-like anger when he’s taken off early easily makes you forget his age.
At 33 he now seems to have stabilised his once fragile body. His signature move earned Bayern countless points and wins (ask Arsenal fans) and himself some scientific research about his famous bespoke move.
Ousmane Dembelé (Borussia Dortmund)
The semi-final match of the cup between Dortmund and Bayern might in hindsight prove to be the point of handing over the baton of best winger in the Bundesliga. Just minutes after Arjen Robben missed the almost (except for Sven Bender’s big toe) empty goal, Ousmane Dembelé made Bayern’s defence look their age with one fluent move and a brilliant finish, which took Dortmund to the Berlin final.
At just 20 years old, the future looks more than bright for the French prodigy.
ARCHIVE: Ousmane Dembele – Scouting Profile
Vincenzo Grifo (SC Freiburg)
The German-born Italian playmaker stands representative for the philosophy at Freiburg that earned them a spot in next year’s Europa League. The financially not-so-potent club from the south-west has been really successful with its strategy of developing young promising players.
With focus on players that will eventually join bigger clubs higher up the food chain for decent money, this has allowed them to recruit the next young talent with the transfer surplus. Vincenzo Grifo will join Mönchengladbach next season but SCF manager Christian Streich will already have a plan on how to replace his top scorer, who grabbed 9 goals and 13 assists in all competitions as Freiburg finished 7th.
Anthony Modeste (1. FC Köln)
— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) June 16, 2017
The 25 goals were not only a personal best, but one of the main reasons for putting Cologne back on the map of European football. Almost unbelievable that it has been a quarter of a decade since Cologne last competed in Europe. However, it’s not certain that Anthony Modeste himself will have a ticket for their cross-European trip. Rumours are still circulating that a rich Chinese club will lure the physically strong striker to Asia.
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
After his beloved Stuttgart was relegated the year before, Timo Werner joined the freshly promoted Red Bulls from Leipzig. He turned out to be the perfect striker for RB’s style of rapid counter-attacks and the most important benefactor of Forsberg’s set-up qualities.
With his speed and cool finishing he effortlessly outgunned his VfB idol of his youth, Mario Gomez, who did not play a too shabby season himself. We might see Werner again this summer when Germany plays in the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Max Kruse (Werder Bremen)
“Maserati Max” who in recent years made more headlines by playing poker and losing money in taxis finally brought his horsepower to the street (or pitch).
After a slow start of the season due to injury, Bremen played an inspired second half, with Max Kruse being the most outstanding Werder Bremen player. 13 goals this spring (15 in total) almost heaved Bremen back to the European places in the ranking – and the striker back into Mr. Löw’s focus.
Ralph Hasenhüttl (RB Leipzig): Leipzig’s head coach showed that he has a subscription for success. After he managed to bring and keep Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga the year before (who, by the way, got relegated without him) he proved himself ready for higher ambitions and led Leipzig straight to the Champions League in their very first Bundesliga season.
Words: Thomas Reichart