Well we have come to the end of the 2022-23 Bundesliga season and what a season it has been With a World Cup in the middle, it was always going to be a unique campaign, but we were treated to one of the most intriguing title races in over a decade- even if Bayern still ended up as champions.
The Bundesliga continues to be the home of some fantastic talent and the end-of-season task of choosing a ‘Team of the Season’ was harder than ever this season without Bayern’s usual dominance. There will of course be those, who disagree with our final choice, but when you have so many top performers, shoe horning them all into a best XI is an impossible task. So who did make our Team of the Season?
1. Frederik Rönnow
Right from the very start the tricky decisions came with the choice for our goalkeeper. In the end it came down to a two-way battle between Gregor Kobel and Frederik Rønnow, but it was the Union Berlin custodian who finally got the nod. Kobel’s huge blooper against Bayern and his below-par showing on the final day opened up an advantage for Rønnow.
The 30-year-old actually saved his club 8.2 goals if you look at the post-shot xG he faced which puts him well clear across all Bundesliga keepers. He tied the league for crosses stopped (43) and led the division in terms of shot percentage saved with 81.5%.
2. Raphael Guerreiro
The Portuguese left-back has announced he is leaving the club after seven years in Dortmund, and he enjoyed arguably one of his best seasons with the Schwarzgelben. He has always had more of an attacking streak than defensive, but the defensive part of his game has improved. He gave the team more options when successfully moving into a more advanced midfield role this season. He led the club for assists with 13 (second highest in the Bundesliga )and added four goals to that tally. His next destination is as yet unknown, but based on this season, he will no doubt have a queue forming to clinch his services.
3. Benjamin Pavard
Pavard has once again confirmed his status as a world-class defender this season and has a big decision to make over his future, with a huge queue already forming to try and tempt him away from Bayern. He appeared in 42 games across all competitions this season, 23 times as a central defender and 19 times at right back, showing his versatility in the defensive third. Going forward has also seen more than a few highlights with seven goals scored this season.
4. Mathijs de Ligt
You get what you pay for in life and in the case of Dutch defender Mathijs de Ligt, Bayern certainly purchased quality when splashing out €67 million in the summer. He settled in quickly in Bavaria and has arguably been the Rekordmeister’s most consistent performer this season. He has chipped in with three goals with his spectacular strike against Freiburg the stand-out amongst them. With Dayot Upamecano showing a few too many instances of brain fog, de Ligt has become the defensive fulcrum for the Bavarians and a key part of their eleventh title in succession.
5. Jeremie Frimpong
The Bayer Leverkusen wingback enjoyed his best-ever Bundesliga season and seems destined to be the latest start to be hoovered up by the moneybags Premier League. Pure speed has always been part of the Dutchman’s arsenal, but this season he has added goals and assists alongside an almost telepathic understanding with Moussa Diaby.
Frimpong contributed eight goals and eight assists this season and was one of the players to really blossom under the tutelage of Xabi Alonso. Not bad for a player not selected by Netherlands national coach Ronald Koeman because he “couldn’t defend”.
6. Ellyes Skhiri
Köln’s running man is another high quality player leaving on a free in the summer and somebody is going to acquire an absolute gem of a player for nothing this summer. The Tunisian once again led the entire Bundesliga for distance covered with a whopping 393.6 km covered- that’s the equivalent of running 9.3 marathons! He added a goal threat to his game this season scoring seven goals to give him his best-ever haul in German football. He will leave a massive hole in the Billy Goats midfield on his departure.
This choice is probably the one that caused the biggest headache. Julian Brandt’s selection in out Team of the Season came at the expense of teammate Jude Bellingham and may cause a fair bit of argument amongst readers. Without wishing to knock the achievements of English midfielder (who has probably earned a €100 million transfer to Real Madrid), it was just felt that Brandt’s influence had been more consistent across the season and deserved recognition.
Brandt has scored nine goals this season and provided eight assists (Bellingham scored eight with five assists). The inconsistency that previously led BVB fans to tear their hair out has gone and he has become a guaranteed starter for Edin Terzic. Bellingham will go on to be world-class no doubt, but this season he had to make way for Brandt. Discuss.
8. Jamal Musiala
Granted the second half of the season was not as awe-inspiring as the first, but that can be put down to the burden of the World Cup and his tender age. At just 20-years-old he contributed twelve goals and provided thirteen assists to Bayern’s title triumph. Scoring the winning goal on the final matchday to clinch the Bundesliga title was the ideal way to end the season and ‘Bambi’ will be Bayern’s main attacking man for years to come.
9. Randal Kolo Muani
The only downside to Muani’s spectacular season is that Eintracht Frankfurt fans are going to see him depart after just twelve months. He will probably go down as the best free signing ever after arriving from Nates. He burst onto the scene on the opening day scoring past Manuel Neuer and his star just rose and rose throughout the season. An appearance in the World Cup final followed as well as fifteen Bundesliga goals and 16 assists. Bayern are just one of many sides wishing to sign him in the summer.
10. Niclas Füllkrug
Few people (even die-hard Werder fans) could have imagined the rise to prominence of Niclas Füllkrug this season. He was outscored by Marvin Ducksch in Werder’s promotion-winning season, but ended this season as the Bundesliga’s joint-top scorer and Germany’s first-choice striker. When the campaign started for his inclusion started, it was more of an ‘outside bet’ kind of movement, but with six goals in six international games, he has become Hansi Flick’s spearhead in attack.
11. Christopher Nkunku
The Frenchman was cruelly denied a place in the French World Cup squad when injury struck, but he came back strongly and ended up as the league’s joint top-scorer with 16 goals and helped fire RB Leipzig into the Champions League next season. His return from injury gave the Roten Bullen a real boost at the ideal time and there is still time for him to clinch a second successive DFB Pokal before an imminent move to the Premier League.
In goal both Gregor Kobel and Mark Flekken were under serious consideration before Frederik Rønnow won out for the nomination. Defenders unlucky to miss the cut were Matthias Ginter, Jeff Chabot, Danilo Doekhi and Willi Orban.
Bayern talisman Joshua Kimmich was a contender, while we have already mentioned the merits of Jude Bellingham. Xaver Schlager had an excellent first season at Leipzig, with Wataru Endo also a key figure for Stuttgart. Vincenzo Grifo was a contender for Bundesliga top-scorer, while both Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman were unlucky to miss out.
Agree with our choices? Disagree? Who did we miss out? Let us know, all opinions are worth the ear/eye time.