Before the start of the 2018-19 season, people were predicting that this year’s Bundesliga would be yet another uncompetitive campaign with Bayern Munich romping home to a sixth successive league title. However, managerial changes for Bayern and Borussia Dortmund have shook things up, meaning this season’s league is the most competitive in years.
As a result, players from all over the league have impressed, meaning that Bayern Munich no longer dominate the table or the Team of the Season so far. Dortmund lead the league at the end of the Hinrunde, taking a six-point lead over Bayern into the winter break.
Here’s the Team of the Season at the half-way point:
Goalkeeper – Yann Sommer (here) – Borussia Monchengladbach – The Swiss goalkeeper had a strong World Cup and kept up his good form for his club side, with 18 goals conceded the second lowest tally of any team in the table (RB Leipzig lead the way with 17). Sommer has kept seven clean sheets so far this season, most notably against Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
Right-back – Joshua Kimmich (here) – Bayern Munich – The versatile defender has not played at right-back in every game, sometimes lining out as a number six under Niko Kovac, but tends to play his best football down the right flank, where he can deliver impeccable crosses into Bayern’s attackers.
Centre-back – Manuel Akanji (here) – Borussia Dortmund – A new signing for the Bundesliga, Akanji has proven his worth already for Dortmund, showing a maturity well beyond his 23 years. BVB have struggled to field the same back four due to injuries, but whenever Akanji has played, they have looked far more comfortable.
Centre-back – Dayot Upamecano (here) – RB Leipzig – Leipzig are a team in turmoil having already appointed their 2019-20 head coach and having Ralf Rangnick juggle club responsibilities with coaching in order to get them through this transition season. However, it’s not evident on the pitch, where Upamecano has been a commanding presence in a resilient backline.
Left-back – Nico Schulz (here) – Hoffenheim – Playing as part of a five-man defence for Hoffenheim, Schulz has been an excellent force going forward and defending. His confident performances at club level have finally seen him rewarded on an international stage, winning his first cap for Germany in September.
Right midfield – Jadon Sancho (here) – Borussia Dortmund – A lot has been written about the England teenager, who is a surefire bet for next year’s Golden Boy award. Every column inch has been deserved as he has turned from an impact sub into one of Dortmund’s most important players.
Centre midfield – Axel Witsel (here) – Borussia Dortmund – The signing of the season so far in the Bundesliga. Many questioned whether Witsel would be able to compete at this level having not played in a top-five league before, but he has hit the ground running, anchoring the BVB midfield as they march on to the title.
Left midfield – Filip Kostic (here) – Eintracht Frankfurt – Having been relegated with Hamburg, Kostic returned to the Bundesliga to join Frankfurt on a two-year loan. Hamburg’s loss is Frankfurt’s game as the Serbian winger has slotted seamlessly into Adi Hutter’s side, laying on six goals and scoring two more of his own.
Right wing – Thorgan Hazard (here) – Borussia Monchengladbach – The younger Hazard has been performing as well as brother Eden for Chelsea. He’s showing a new-found confidence which allows him to dust himself off after missing a panenka to score his ninth goal of the season (he’s got six assists too!)
Striker – Luka Jovic (here) – Eintracht Frankfurt – Any of Eintracht’s front three could easily make a team of the season so far, but Jovic gets the nod thanks to his 12 goals – the joint-most at this stage of the season. Only Dortmund’s Paco Alcacer has as many, but the majority of those have come late against tired sides as he comes off the bench.
Left wing – Marco Reus (here) – Borussia Dortmund – Just one goal behind Alcacer and Jovic is Dortmund superstar Reus, who also sits at sixth in the assists table with five goals set up for his team-mates. He has been crucial for BVB, captaining them to the top of the table, with his goals well spread throughout the season so far – coming up big where it matters.