2012 German Bundesliga Best XI

At the end of the day, a standard of a league comes down to it’s star players, the ones that really define the style of play and create the league’s greatest moments. La Liga has Messi, Ronaldo, and Sergio Ramos. The Premier League has Van Persie, Rooney and Kompany.

The Bundesliga is also very much at the level of Spain’s and England’s elite leagues. But who are the best Bundesliga stars? Here’s my Bundesliga team to rival the best from all around the world.

Goalkeeper – Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer

Bayern Munich’s big German stopper has a claim to be the best keeper in the world. His shot stopping is tremendous and it is rare that the ball goes past him without it being a quite spectacular goal.

Right Back – Lukasz Piszczek

Dortmund’s Polish right back impressed me particularly with his impressive performances for his country at Euro 2012, and his performances at Dortmund over the last year have been even more sensational. A marauding right back who can make goals and stop them, he would fall straight into most La Liga and Premier League sides.

Center Back – Mat Hummels

This is possibly one of the easiest choices to make. Hummels is one of the most exciting defensive prospects in the world at the moment. Big teams will certainly have their eye on this man.

Center Back – Benedikt Howedes

Howedes is an underrated defender. Big and strong, Schalke’s main man at the back was one of the reasons they have been so impressive in the Champions League this season.

Left Back – Philip Lahm

Another easy choice. Lahm has been top of the full back game for many years now, and whether he’s in Bayern Munich colors or German national team colors, the versatile full back always comes good when needed.

Defensive Midfield – Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger

It doesn’t matter where this German midfielder is playing, he always runs the game. His composure on the ball and range of passing make him a valuable asset to Bayern and Germany.

Central Midfield – Rafael Van Der Vaart

Having only recently moved back to Germany from the Premier League, Van Der Vaart is still readjusting to life back in the country’s top division. His playmaking skills and powerful shots have already proved valuable this year, with the Dutchman scoring some impressive goals in the process.

Center Midfield – Juan Arango

This final central midfield spot was incredibly difficult to call. Gotze, Kroos and many more could have gone into this slot, but from what I’ve seen of Juan Arango this year, he is placed into the squad on a sort of wildcard calling. Gotze and Kroos may be better overall players, younger and more exciting, but Arango’s range of passing and incredible technique is undeniable. His shooting powers are second to none, with him scoring some quite sensational goals this year. All of the central three in the midfield have the ability to blast the ball in from range or pick a fantastic pass, making this team very dangerous when the midfield moves forward.

Right Winger – Arjen Robben

The Bayern Munich and Holland winger has been criticised for being a bit of a diver over his career, but without his injury problems I truly believe he’d be up there with Messi and Ronaldo. A dazzling left foot combined with amazing pace and dribbling skill makes him a defender’s worst nightmare.

Left Winger – Frank Ribery

Ribery is the other Bayern Munich winger and has similar traits to Robben. The Frenchman’s lightning pace and dangerous right foot make him a problem for left backs all around the world.

Striker – Klaas Jan Huntelaar

Klaas Jan Huntelaar

This was the hardest pick of all of the positions: Huntelaar or Lewandowski. I chose Huntelaar because of his tremendous season last campaign. 48 goals during the previous season was a tremendously impressive record and his competition for the starting striker spot in the Dutch team with Robin Van Persie is tantalising to watch.

Other names I wish I could include:

  1. Mario Gomez
  2. Thomas Muller
  3. Robert Lewandowski
  4. Marco Reus
  5. Toni Kroos
  6. Mario Gotze
  7. Mario Mandzukic
  8. Jefferson Farfan
  9. Neven Subotic

I hope you enjoyed my article on FutbolPulse! Check out my football blog Rematch of the Day and follow me on twitter @rematchoftheday.

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The Bundesliga’s Assault on La Liga and the Premier League

After the big debate about FIFA’s Team of the year, and how it was a disgrace that there were only La Liga players and that the Premier League should definitely have featured some of their own, many people started to draw up Premier League elevens or world elevens that could challenge FIFA’s choice.

BundesligaFair enough, I do believe there should be both Premier League and La Liga players in that team, but no one seems to have spared a thought for the Bundesliga. The Bundesliga is possibly one of the most up and coming leagues in modern-day football, and in terms of stadia, fans and match day experience, the top German division can certainly challenge the Spanish and English top leagues.

The question about the Bundesliga has always been the quality of football and players, but I don’t think this is a problem anymore. There is a definite case for a couple of the best Bundesliga players being in the FIFA team of the year, and I believe a Bundesliga eleven would certainly be able to challenge any La Liga or Premiership eleven you could pick.

Over the past few years, the quality of German football has improved from just an organised defense and hard-working team that grounded out 1-0 or 2-1 victories to a league that feature seriously impressive football.

Indeed, this is typified by the German national team’s performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where a young team containing the likes of Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, and Thomas Muller played attractive football and were one of the most exciting squads in the tournament. The quality of the national team has received international acclaim, with players who impress in the German set up, such as Mesut Ozil, gaining moves to high-class teams such as Real Madrid.

The improved quality of the national team has been reflected in the improved quality of the national league. Dominated primarily by Bayern Munich and Borrusia Dortmund, the Bundesliga possesses several top quality sides and many, many top quality players.

Bayern MunichIndeed, over the last three years, Bayern have been in the Champions League final more times than Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, and other top sides. Earlier this year, Germany’s other big team, Borrusia Dortmund, finished on top of a Champions League group that contained Real Madrid, Man City, and Ajax, proving that it is not only Bayern Munich that can call themselves a truly world-class German team.

In recent years, many top players have left Germany for the ‘grander’ leagues, with the likes of Sami Khedira, Nuri Sahin, Mesut Ozil, and Lukas Podolski moving to either La Liga or Premiership teams.

I question why La Liga and the Premiership are held in such higher regard than the Bundesliga. I watch a fair chunk of Bundesliga football on ESPN and know that the standard of play is highly impressive.

Admittedly, there are no teams in Germany that rival the likes of Barcelona, but over the whole league, there is a wealth of good quality football on show. Indeed, I believe if you look at some of the teams in the bottom half of each of the respective tables and compared them against each other, the Bundesliga would far outstrip La Liga in terms of quality and could give the Premier League a run for it’s money.

I hope you enjoyed my article on FutbolPulse! Check out my football blog Rematch of the Day and follow me on twitter @rematchoftheday.