Well it wasn’t quite the usual unquestionable dominant display we’re used to from Bayern this season. They dropped points for the first time since October thanks to Hoffenheim’s surprise performance. Elsewhere Borussia Dortmund and Schalke kept up the chase for second with wins and Freiburg had one of their most important wins of the season in a five goal thriller against Nurnberg.
Ralf Fährmann – Until recently Bernd Leno had been leading the race in the Goalkeeper of the Year category but Fährmann is quickly displacing him. Schalke’s No. 1 had another fine display following his midweek heroics against bitter rivals Dortmund. He kept his eighth clean sheet of the season and has been the most important part of their improved defense. One should not be surprised if his name begins popping up in the World Cup discussions. He has been THAT good.
Niko Bungert – Replacing captain Nikolce Noveski, Bungert really stepped it up for another huge win for the team. He opened the scoring and was a rock for Thomas Tuchel’s team at the back. Mainz started the season as a relegation contender to many, then they moved up to contending for the Europa League and now they can even set their sights on the Champions League. It is because of performances like this from Bungert from the entire squad that has them dreaming.
Ken Reichel – Reichel has kept Braunschweig’s dream of staying in the Bundesliga alive. His late but brilliant volley ensured a point against Bayer Leverkusen and four points from safety. Reichel was solid all night though and we will no doubt revisit his goal again at the end of the season when we look for the best goal of the year.
Naldo – The Brazilian center-back scored the goal that could well send them towards the Champions League. Thanks to Naldo’s last-minute winner against Eintracht Frankfurt the Wolves are now just one point behind fourth-placed Leverkusen. The technique on his hit was brilliant and you won’t see many better goals than that from nearly 40 yards out.
Ricardo Rodriguez – Another fine display from the Swiss left-back. Rodriguez assisted his eighth goal of the season against Frankfurt. He was relentless on the left and his set piece deliveries always caused havoc in the box. Wolfsburg are headed to Europe and they have an international class fullback accompanying them.
Marco Reus – A match-winning hatrick from the Dortmund attacker. For a while Stuttgart threatened to steal points from Dortmund and put Schalke in second but Reus was there to the rescue. He had seven shots against Stuttgart and was a brilliant foil to Lewandowski. The performance came right on time with Lewandowski missing the first leg against Real Madrid and Dortmund will hope Reus can transfer this kind of performance to the Champions League.
Chinedu Obasi – An unlikely comeback story but Obasi has been performing very well for Schalke recently. He used his opportunity well in the absence of Farfan and played his best game yet for Schalke against Hertha on Friday. He opened the scoring with a nice individual goal and assisted the second. Defensively he won 70% of his duels in a good overall performance from the Nigerian.
Felix Klaus – It’s been a real breakthrough season for young Felix Klaus. And in arguably the most important game of the season it was Klaus’ incredible goal in the second half that was the eventual matchwinner. Freiburg are now five points from the dropzone and in Klaus coach Christian Streich has a fantastic foundation to build on next season should they stay up.
Roberto Firmino – The man who stopped Bayern’s incredible winning streak. Firmino’s late equalizer was the cherry on top of a fantastic performance from the team. After extending with the club, Frimino proved why Hoffenheim may have the most exciting young attack in the league. The Brazilian continued to make his case for a spot at the World Cup with his 14th goal and an excellent all around performance.
Johannes Geis – Quite possibly the breakthrough player of the year. Geis was fantastic in Mainz’s 3-0 win against Augsburg. He scored an outstanding goal from long distance to cap off their win and won every important duel that came his way. At just 20 he is already a hugely influential player for Tuchel and has a very bright future ahead of him.
Claudio Pizarro – Like fine win……Pizarro is just ageless. The Peruvian striker has started just four times this season for Bayern but scored six goals. His two goals against Hoffenheim were examples of vintage finishing. He also showed his versatility by slotting into the playmaking role in the second half after Mandzukic came on. If only he wasn’t 35.
Sven Ulreich, Jens Grahl, Emmanuel Pogatetz, Sebastian Prödl, Joel Matip, Alvaro Dominguez, Kevin Grosskreutz, Christian Gentner, Lars Bender, Jan Hochscheidt, Damir Vrancic, Szabolcs Huszti, Leon Goretzka, Max Kruse, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Stefan Kiessling, Havard Nielsen, Ivica Olic
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