The Bundesliga Twelve Days of Christmas

Forget calling birds, French hens and turtle doves, we bring you the Twelve Days of Christmas Bundesliga Fanatic style as the season stops for the Winterpause and we prepare for the yuletide festivities.

‘On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me……

1- Not unsurprisingly, the position that Bayern Munich occupy as the Bundesliga enters the Winterpause. For the 7th time in a row, the Bavarians have finished as Herbstmeister and they will be firmly focussed on winning a sixth successive Bundesliga title.

The season can be characterised into two parts- the Ancelotti weeks and the Heynckes weeks. Under the Italian Bayern were winning but not playing at 100% with disharmony bubbling under the surface. Under Heynckes, they’ve found their mojo and all is well again.

2- The number of injury time equalisers scored by Schalke’s veteran defender Naldo in the Hinrunde. Not content with being the hero of the hour in the dramatic Revierderby with Dortmund, the Brazilian popped up with a finish any striker would be proud of in the matchday 17 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.

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3- Unlucky Danny Latza has hit the woodwork three times this season for Mainz. The midfielder has found the back of the net twice against Hamburg and Hoffenheim, but he could have had five goals to his name if it wasn’t for the sake of a couple of millimetres.

4- The number of games Wolfsburg coach Andries Jonker lasted before being unceremoniously given the sack. Memories of the heroics to survive the relegation play-off against Eintracht Braunschweig at the end of last season had well and truly faded by the time the VfL board deemed the Dutchman to be the wrong man to take die Wölfe forward.

An opening day defeat to Dortmund was actually followed by a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, but a draw with Hannover and a loss to VfB Stuttgart meant that the Dutchman became the first coaching casualty of the season.

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5- The number of points Borussia Dortmund led the table by after matchday 7. What goes up however must come down and that was to be the highpoint of Peter Bosz’s brief reign as BVB coach. Fast forward to matchday 15 and a 2-1 loss to Werder Bremen (BVB’s 8th without a win) saw Bosz fired to be replaced by ex-Köln trainer Peter Stöger.

6- The number of days into the new millennium that Jan Fiete Arp was born. That’s right, on 6th January 2000 the infant Arp came into this world and 17 years later he was handed his debut by Hamburg in the Nordderby against Werder as a late sub.

Two weeks later came his first Bundesliga goal again as a sub against Hertha Berlin, before he was handed a full debut by Markus Gisdol against VfB Stuttgart and another goal was added to his record. It seems the world is his oyster and the label of ‘Germany’s Next Big Thing’ looks set to be stuck on him.

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7- The number of bookings picked up by Bundesliga bad boys Santiago Ascacibar and Kyriakos Papadopoulos in the Hinrunde. Stuttgart’s feisty midfielder has been nicknamed the ‘poisoned dwarf’ by elements of the German press in recognition of his stature and on-field nastiness. HSV’s Papadopoulos is often referred to as ‘committed, a warrior, and a fighter’. Add to that undisciplined and at times down right dirty.

8- The number of goals seen in the pulsating Revierderby on matchday 13. With Borussia Dortmund really in need of a win, the Schwarzgelben raced into a 4-0 lead with seemingly every attack they launched resulting in a goal.

With 25 minutes played BVB were 4-0 ahead with goals from Aubameyang, a Stambouli own goal, Mario Götze and a peach from Raphael Guerreiro.

Guido Burgstaller pulled one back for Schalke on the hour mark and it was to light the touchpaper for a stunning fightback. Further goals from Amine Harit and Daniel Caligiuri gave the Königsblauen hope, before Brazilian veteran Naldo popped up in injury time with a powerful header to sensationally equalise.

Surely one of the best derbies of all-time?

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9- The number of goals scored by both Hoffenheim’s Mark Uth and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kevin Volland. Their tally makes the duo the top scoring German players in the Bundesliga and with the World Cup just seven months away, both strikers will be desperate for their scoring form to continue as a way to force themselves into Joachim Löw’s final squad for Russia.

10- The number of assists provided by Augsburg’s Max Philipp in the Hinrunde. The nominal left-back has been an absolute revelation this season getting forward to provide the ammunition for the likes of Alfred Finnbogason and Michael Gregoritsch.

When you consider that in the whole of last season, Max only provided three assists, his performance levels this season have entered a different level and he leads Thomas Müller, Daniel Didavi and Amine Harit by four in the assist rankings.

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11- Matthias Ginter has made 11 mistakes that have ultimately led to goals. The summer signing from Borussia Dortmund has played every minute for Borussia Mönchengladbach so far this season, but has been involved in the conceding of far too many goals.

On the plus side. each of the  three goals the 23 year-old has scored this season has  come inGladbach wins — against Hannover, Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich — with two of those goals being game-winners..

12- The number of minutes injury time added on at the end of the Hamburg vs Köln match on matchday 2. The reason for the lengthy period of stoppage time was that referee Dr. Felix Brych was forced off with injury and had to be replaced by fourth assistant Sören Storks. Storks’ first job on taking over the whistle was to send off HSV’s Mergim Mavraj.

The added time saw two goals with Frederik Sörensen pulling one back for Köln to give them a glimmer of hope at 2-1, before Lewis Holtby made it 3-1 to HSV in the 10th minute of time added on.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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