An exciting year of football in Germany left us enthralled with not just top-quality action but also some memorable feats to cherish. With the Rückrund about to begin, we have selected 11 players who were stellar performers in the Bundesliga in 2018.
The ongoing 2018/19 season is one of the most entertaining campaigns we have witnessed in recent years with Borussia Dortmund posing a serious threat to Bayern Munich’s six-year reign as Bundesliga champions. Borussia Monchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt have also contributed to what's been an entertaining season so far. Eye-catching performances from up and coming youngsters, as well as improved displays by a few regulars, gave us lots to ponder for our Team of the Year, however, keeping recent results and performances in mind, here's our 2018 Bundesliga Team of the Year.
Goalkeeper - Roman Burk
Burki has improved his performance for Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund this term, with his goal concession rate significantly less than last campaign. Despite conceding a few, the Swiss keeper has played a pivotal role in Dortmund's title push. If he maintains his current form, opposition teams will have a difficult time facing Burki, who has kept five clean sheets from 16 league games this season.
Left Back - David Alaba
Alaba's a valuable asset for Bayern Munich and can contribute in defence as well as attack. His partnership with French winger Franck Ribery on the left flank has always been a threat to opposition teams over the years and 2018 was no different. The pair have played an important part in Bayern’s recent upturn in fortunes and Alaba will be looking to kick on once the season resumes.
Centre Back - Mat Hummels
Hummels is one of the best central defenders in the world and is integral to his national team's setup. Despite some injuries, the 30-year-old German international has been one of the more consistent performers at the back this season and the Bavarians will be banking on his experience as they eye leapfrogging Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga title race.
Centre Back - Naldo
Naldo was Schalke 04’s best performer in 2018 and contributed four goals for the Royal Blues besides being a towering presence at the back. A gritty figure at the base of Schalke’s 4-2-3-1 formation, Brazil’s record appearance maker in the Bundesliga may not have featured much this season, but he is an influential figure for Die Knappen, who are currently 13th in the league standings after a second-place finish last term.
Right Back - Joshua Kimmich
The 23-year-old German has been going from strength to strength, playing in a variety of positions and excelling in them. As a right back, Kimmich’s ability to bomb forward and create chances for the strikers has made him an asset not only for Bayern Munich but also Germany. With a goal and seven assists this campaign, Kimmich is proving why he’s considered one of the best right-backs in the world.
Midfielder - Marco Reus
Marco Reus is Die Borussen’s stalwart and is currently in the midst of his best ever season with the club. With 11 goals and seven assists already, the Dortmund captain has engineered his team’s rise to the summit of the league standings after linking up successfully with youngster Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer. A creative genius blessed with pace and trickery, Reus’ current form might just lead Dortmund to the league title and end Bayern Munich’s six-year winning run.
Midfielder - Thiago Alcantara
The Spanish midfielder is a regular figure in the Bavarians’ midfield despite his struggles with injuries. A trickster with a keen eye for possession, Thiago has taken up a deeper role in Niko Kovac’s tactical system and has certainly blossomed with perfect ball distribution. Smart tackles and interceptions by Bayern Munich’s number 6 has also led to comparisons with countryman and former Bayern star Xabi Alonso.
Midfielder - James Rodriguez
The Colombian international has enjoyed his loan stint with Bayern Munich, recording eight league goals and nine assists in 2018. James’ ability to dictate play and dribble past opposition players is what makes him one of Bayern’s key players. His most notable performance last year came in the Bavarians’ 2-0 win over Schalke, when he contributed a goal and an assist.
Left Wing - Robert Lewandowski
The Polish striker has been Bayern’s attacking spearhead ever since his move from rivals Borussia Dortmund. Lewandowski's scored 116 goals in 143 league appearances and has terrorized defences regularly. With 10 goals in 16 games this campaign, the striker has brought Bayern back into the title race, while also strengthening his status as one of the best foreign goalscorers in Bundesliga history.
Centre Forward - Luka Jovic
The 21-year-old Serbian striker is currently the leading scorer in the Bundesliga charts. With 12 goals in 15 games, Jovic has emerged as a candidate and rival to Lionel Messi in the Golden Boot race. His goalscoring exploits is already attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs with a move next summer not beyond the realms of possibility.
Right Wing - Thomas Muller
The Bayern Munich stalwart continues to play a significant part in the Bavarians’ league campaign, contributing four goals and four assists this season. Considered one of the last one-club players, the German international has shown no signs of slowing down and seems to be getting better with age.
Words: William Paul