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Saturday, June 6, 2009

German Bundesliga Season 2008-2009 Team by Team Review (Part I)

German Bundesliga had ended the season 2008-2009 with surprise. Now it is 2 weeks after the season, it is a good time to review it team by team. In this part I will review the teams from 1st to 6th:

Champion - VfL Wolfsburg: I believe there was not so many people to tip them to be the champion. The main reason to win the title was the excellent home performance. They recorded 16 wins and 1 draw in their 17 homes games, which including a 5-1 astonishing victory against Bayern München. The other important reason was the improvement of the away game record after the winter break. Comapre with 1st half of the season, they played far better when they were away from home, which including the 5-0 victory against Hannover 96. Eden Dzeko, Grafite, and Zvejezdan Misimovic played an important role to lead the team to reach their first ever title. So I believe these factors were so important to lead them to win.

Runner-up - Bayern München: Bayern München again, they had a title-less season. It was drastic for them as they did not even reach to the top of the table once. Jürgen Klinsmann failed to bring the team consistency so I can say this season was like a rollercoaster ride for them. Careless loss was the biggest problem for them, especially at home, which they conceded 23 goals in 17 games. This poor record led them to erase all the good efforts in the away game form, which was the best in the league. The team still relied on Franck Ribery too much, as when he was absent, the whole team could not create. Luca Toni was the worst player in the team, even he was top goalscorer in the team but he missed a lot of chances and slowed down all the plays. Another big change is urgently needed in order to regain all the pride next season.

3rd place - VfB Stuttgart: Stuttgart was the comeback kid of this season. There was not any clue to bounce back like this before the winter break. Coach Markus Babbel took the credit for sure. He brought the team spirit and determination in order to do the nearly impossible job. Their excellent performance after the winter break ever led them to challenge the title. The other reason was Mario Gomez. The future Bayern München striker had improved a lot, which he scored 17 goals after the winter break. Compare with 7 goals before the winter break, it was very obvious to see his revival led Stuttgart improve and challenge the title. Now they have extra 30 million Euro for the departure of Gomez, I believe they will improve very well next season.

4th place - Hertha Berlin: Hertha Berlin was one of the teams who could challenge the title. However, they could not hold on in the end and led them even fail to reach next season's Champions League. The main reason was the inconsistence performance of Andrei Voronin. Hertha Berlin reached the best form when Voronin reached his best. However, when Voronin reached the cold streak, the team lost the scoring point and reached the cold streak. Marko Pantelic was unable to relieve the pressure from Voronin even he took the starting place in the end of season. The defense was very solid so they always held on and took the win with small margin or held out for a draw. As Voronin was likey to return to Liverpool, Hertha Berlin must find another good striker in next season.

5th place - Hamburger SV: "Northern Derby" was the phrase that they never forget. "Werder Bremen" was the team they hated most. The 4-game series of "Northern Derby" did kill all of their title hope. Before the derby Hamburger did very well and they were one of the teams who could win the treble (League, DFB Pokal, and UEFA Cup). However, they only failed to beat one team, that was Werder Bremen. The main reason was player fatigue. Piotr Trochowski, Jose Paolo Guerrero, and Mlaten Petric were stroke by the fatigue and their form slipped fast. Only Ivica Olic could maintain his best form but the others were too tired to relieve him. I believe they need to recruit more players in the next season in order to deal with the tight match schedule.

6th place - Borussia Dortmund: They also were one of the surprises this season. They had a young coach with a young team to lead them to reach a good performance and result. Neven Subotic did very well in the back together with Mats Hummels. Nelson Valdez started to improve and matched the style with Alexander Frei. However, they had too many draw games, which were 14 games of the season and was the second highest draw games. It showed that they failed to finish the game when they were leading. The inexperience led them to have this problem as they young guns could not hold their grip in the crucial moment. I believe they need to input more experienced players in order to stablize the team.

So this is the first part of the review. The second and third part will be coming soon!

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