Team of the Week – Matchday 31

Borussia Dortmund continued their fine form against Mainz and secured another Champions League group stage appearance with their win. Bayern Munich meanwhile scraped a win against last-placed Braunschweig ahead of their big Champions League semifinal midweek. Freiburg picked up a huge win in their campaign to stay up by beating Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg can continue to dream about the Champions League with their win against Hamburg. Here is the attack-heavy TOTW for matchday 31.

Goalkeeper

Oliver Baumann – Freiburg’s No. 1 stopped Gladbach’s penalty and led his team to a huge win with his outstanding individual performance. Only two teams have been on a better run in the last seven games and Baumann’s leadership in the back is a big reason why.

Defenders

Christian Pander – Once owner of the most feared left foot in German football, Pander struggled to beat injury to be able to properly show it off. This season has not been much different but he had his best outing against Frankfurt where he set up two goals down the left and helped his team to three immense points as the relegation zone loomed dangerously in the last couple of weeks.

Emir Spahic – They won’t make any highlight reel or contend for goal of the year but Spahic scrapped and took advantage when it counted to score two crucial goals in Leverkusen’s 4-1 win against Nürnberg. The Bosnian international and captain displays a kind of hunger and drive that Leverkusen have been lacking in the Rückrunde and this was the perfect “big” win to see out the season successfully.

Midfielders

Mario Götze – There wasn’t much to crow about with Bayern’s performance, despite an improved second-half performance. Götze, however, did himself and the team justice with a fine performance. He set up the first goal and had the best pass percentage in an otherwise sluggish side.  He made a good case for starting against Madrid midweek.

Leon Andreasen – Once a reputation for long-term injuries, now a stalwart in Hannover’s midfield.  Andreasen put in arguably his best individual performance of the season against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Friday game. He got things going with the first goal and brilliantly set up Hannover’s third in a great defensive and offensive performance.

Marco Reus – Well, we can’t have a TOTW without the best player in Germany at the moment. No surprise he kept up that form in Dortmund’s win against Mainz. Reus was part of 13 of the team’s 28 goal attempts (four shots and nine assists). He also converted his fifth penalty of the season and was Dortmund’s best attacking player. Low can thank his lucky stars he has Reus in this kind of form ahead of the World Cup.

Martin Harnik – Schalke were surprisingly out of form on Sunday but Stuttart and Harnik, desperately needing three points, were not. The Austrian attacker in particular stood out and headed Stuttgart into the lead before securing the three points with their third goal. His aggression and willingness to take defenders on and get into dangerous positions will be a crucial asset in the final three games.

Heung-Min Son – The South Korean attacker didn’t get on the scoresheet in Leverkusen’s rout of Nürnberg but he was the brains behind the big win. Son set up the first and third goal brilliantly, displaying the technique and pace that has made him one of the best attackers in the league in the last two years. Leverkusen finally seem to have gotten past their slump and Son will be key in making sure they play in the Champions League again next season.

Forwards

Ivica Olic – Olic shows us week in and week out that age is irrelevant. Despite the transfer rumors and uncertainty over his future he has been performing brilliantly.  Wolfsburg fans will be glad there is more clarity about his future now because Olic has been playing lights out in the last two months. He scored and set up a goal against Hamburg and put his team one step closer to the Champions League.

Admir Mehmedi – Freiburg have now won four consecutive home games, the first time this has happened in almost 20 years, and are all but safe, thanks in large part to another crucial Mehmedi performance. The Swiss striker now has eight goals in his last nine home games and is playing the best football at the most crucial point in the season. Streich will have to work overtime to keep the player at the club over the summer.

Shinji Okazaki – His team may have lost but Okazaki continued to make a name for himself as one of the league’s premier strikers. The Japanese forward notched his fifth brace of his Bundesliga career and his 13th of the season, equaling Shinji Kagawa’s record for most goals in a single season for a Japanese player.

Honorable Mentions

Antonio Rudiger, Omer Toprak, Gotoku Sakai, Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels, Naldo, Sokratis, Santiago Garcia, Erik Durm, Paul Verhaegh, Marcelo, Jeong-Ho Hong, Matthias Ginter, Carlos Gruezo, Oliver Kirch, Philipp Bargfrede,  Vladimir Darida, Julian Schuster, Luiz Gustavo, Kevin De Bruyne, Milos Jojic, Henrikh Mkhytarian, Daniel Didavi, Lars Stindl, Cacau, Dider Ya Konan, Robert Lewandowski

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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