Bundesliga Review – Season So Far

With only a few days left until the Bundesliga recommences after a lengthy winter break, it’s time to review what has happened so far for each club plying their trade in Germany’s top flight.

Bayern Munich – 1st

In a nutshell: Manuel Neuer, brilliant start, winning group of death, Schweinsteiger injured, losing confidence, slowly regaining it – @redrobbery

Anything to add: The most successful side in the  Bundesliga have been at times unplayable but  Bayern haven’t run away with it yet. They lost to two of the three teams behind them at the Allianz Arena meaning big results are needed on the road in 2012. A reasonable start still for Jupp Heynckes.

Borussia Dortmund – 2nd

In a nutshell: Bumpy start, good turn around, unbeaten after matchday 7. Great football, injury plagued towards the end, but successful first half! – @bvbawesome

Anything to add: The Black and Yellows have steadily built a title challenge to give Bayern a run for their money. The emergence of Lewandowski up front will encourage Klopp and the return of Neven Subotic from injury is crucial to their chances of defending the title.

Schalke – 3rd

In a nutshell: We’re well on track for a European place and have a good chance of making the CL so we have every reason to be pleased so far – @schalkeuknews

Anything to add: Considering the change of management in Gelsenkirchen this year, it has been a very good showing from the Royal Blues. It was sad to see Ralf Rangnick depart for health reasons but Huub Stevens’ side are playing some brilliant attacking football with Raul and Klaas Jan Huntelaar in insatiable form.

Gladbach – 4th

In a nutshell: Favre has put a team together which is defensively solid, giving the team a good platform to go and score goals – @digitalnaiv

Anything to add: This season has been a dream for Gladbach so far. Attacking midfielder Marco Reus has been outstanding and earned himself a move back to Borussia Dortmund in the summer. If Favre’s side are in the Champions League places come the end of the season, it will be a magnificent achievement and however unlikely it might seem, they’re not out of the title race yet either.

Werder Bremen – 5th

In a nutshell: It’s been a season of ups and downs. Although we are in a rather good position, we need to be more constant in the next matches – @La_del_prado

Anything to add: For a side with plenty of inconsistency, Thomas Schaaf has done well to lead Werder into a place just outside the Champions League places. Claudio Pizarro has been pivotal to this and European football looks a very likely possibility in Bremen next season.

Bayer Leverkusen – 6th

In a nutshell: Injuries came to haunt big time; lack of goals from the attacking-line was surprising and disappointing; CL delight; still good – @Vampy04

Anything to add: By Bayer’s recent high standards, Robin Dutt’s first six months in charge have been slightly disappointing. Nevertheless, they have a tie against Barcelona to come in the Champions League – the club received nearly a million calls in one day regarding tickets for the game.

Hannover – 7th

In a nutshell: As good as could be expected with the distraction of the Europa League. The extra games taking their toll with injuries – @RomfordReject

Anything to add: Through to the knockout stages of the Europa League along with victories over Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Mirko Slomka can be proud of his team’s efforts in the first half of the season. It didn’t stop him handing out a questionnaire to the Hannover players in the winter break asking about their sexual habits.

Stuttgart – 8th

In a nutshell: Results better than actual football. Solid defensively,woeful going forward. Players 2 mention: Tasci, Ulreich, Kvist – @jens1893

Anything to add: Going into the winter break, Stuttgart were bottom of the form table with four losses in their last six. Should Bruno Labbadia resurrect this in the second half of the season, European football is a possibility for the Reds.

Hoffenheim – 9th

In a nutshell: So-so. It started out well but the team has struggled with scoring and that’s led to weaker teams getting points off us @TheHoffSide

Anything to add: In his first season at the club, Holger Stanislawski has made a positive impact. He needs to try and regain some of the early season momentum or else Hoffenheim’s season threatens to flutter away into the abyss.

Cologne – 10th

In a nutshell: We were a one man show. Podolski is the reason we are still OK in the ranking. Also unlucky with injuries (Nova, Geromel etc.) @KenSommer

Anything to add: It’s hard to put Podolski to one side such has been the importance of “Poldi.” Despite a thumping win over rivals over Leverkusen, innovative boss Stale Solbakken will demand more consistency from the Billy Goats.

Hertha Berlin – 11th

In a nutshell: A series of draws and losses, peppered by a few wins, and punctuated with high-level coach drama. @strafraum

Anything to add: Beating champions Borussia Dortmund away is the undoubted highlight. However, coach Markus Babbel announced he wouldn’t sign a new deal when his contract expired at the end of the season. As a result, he was fired after Matchday 17 and Michael Skibbe must now keep Hertha in the Bundesliga.

Wolfsburg – 12th

In a nutshell: Been inconsistent (home form gd, away form bad!) Magath has been tinkering with tactics but needs stability in defence. Improved the squad this month by signing young players with great potential. Should have a solid second-half to this season. @man20c

Anything to add: Felix Magath threatened to cancel Christmas for his players if they failed to beat Mainz in their final game before the winter break. They were victorious but Magath has acted by bringing in eight new players in January, to try and force a surge into the top half.

Hamburg – 13th

In a nutshell: Early problems, but in the end a good and promising run after rejuvenating the squad last summer. Fink the right manager now @dan_bu

Anything to add: After a shambolic start, Hamburg’s proud record of being the only top flight side never to be relegated looked under threat. However, new boss Thorsten Fink hasn’t lost any of his first nine games but six of these were drawn. Convert these into wins and a comfortable top half finish is in store for HSV.

Mainz – 14th

In a nutshell: Mainz have struggled to find consistency after the loss of their brightest stars, but the spirit and spark is still intact. @cheekybackheel

Anything to add: Last year’s surprise package have struggled without the likes of Lewis Holtby, André Schurrle and Christian Fuchs.  The back-to-back victories over Stuttgart and Bayern Munich will have done a lot to raise the mood in Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

Nuremberg – 15th

In a nutshell: Very unlucky situation after a good start. Lots of injuries and bad luck in some games. Could have been better @johannes

Anything to add: “Der Club” must improve going forward and make the most of impressive young centre back Phillip Wollscheid who is on his way to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer. Young striker Tomas Pekhart needs to find some more form in the second half of the season.

Kaiserslautern – 16th

In a nutshell: Not good enough going forward so far, we have to improve our conversion of chances strongly to stay in Bundesliga @bengalow

Anything to add: Kaiserslautern boast the sixth best defence in the Bundesliga but the loss of striker Srdan Lakic to Wolfsburg in the summer looks to have hit the club hard – they have the worst attack in the division.

Augsburg – 17th

In a nutshell: A 17 round boxing bout with a mixture of bad luck (injuries) & hard work, down but not out! @daveimmerz

Anything to add: Considering this is their first ever season in the top flight of German football; it’s been a great effort from Augsburg.It would still be a shock should the team with the smallest budget in the Bundesliga avoid the drop.

Freiburg – 18th

In a nutshell: The defence a shambles, lots of injuries to key players and over-reliant on an unsettled Cisse = the sack for Marcus Sorg. @SCF_UK

Anything to add: Marcus Sorg sacking was no real surprise given Freiburg’s poor season thus far. His assistant manager Christian Streich has taken over as head coach and needs to shore up a defence which has conceded over two goals per game.

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It all kicks off again on Friday night with Borussia Monchengladbach hosting Bayern Munich, a game that will get the juices of any Bundesliga fanatic flowing. The game could well set the tone for the rest of the season and a positive result for Gladbach would immediately kick start the second half of the season.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow me on Twitter – @arhindtutt

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