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Season review: Germany

Published: Wednesday 23 May 2012, 12.15CET
In a season when FC Bayern München reached the UEFA Champions League final on home soil, Borussia Dortmund defended their Bundesliga title while breaking myriad records.
by Steffen Potter
from Frankfurt
Season review: Germany
Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski (centre) had a huge say in Dortmund's record-breaking campaign ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 23 May 2012, 12.15CET

Season review: Germany

In a season when FC Bayern München reached the UEFA Champions League final on home soil, Borussia Dortmund defended their Bundesliga title while breaking myriad records.

The 81 points accrued by Borussia Dortmund is the greatest tally ever amassed in Bundesliga history and the 47 points claimed in the second half of the season also set a new record. BVB's 25 wins equalled FC Bayern München's 1972/73 milestone while their 28-match unbeaten sequence is the best ever recorded in a single German top-flight season. An average attendance of 80,522 was a European best and to top it all off Jürgen Klopp's charges won the German double for the first time in the club's history by overcoming Bayern 5-2 in the German Cup final in Berlin.

Champions: Borussia Dortmund
Before the season even begun the sceptics had argued Dortmund's 2010/11 title was a one-off and that, given the added pressure of the UEFA Champions League, the Schwarzgelben would be incapable of defending their crown. Indeed, Klopp's team got off to a shaky start, mustering just seven points from their first six matches and finding themselves 11th in the table. By the winter break Dortmund were already out of Europe despite some good performances, but were trailing leaders Bayern by just three points.

Upon the resumption of the Bundesliga in late January, Dortmund never looked back, taking top spot in early February and staying at the league summit thereafter, cementing their position in April with a 1-0 defeat of their only remaining challengers, Bayern, whom they had beaten by the same scoreline in Munich earlier in the campaign.

Cup final: Borussia Dortmund 5-2 FC Bayern München
As well as boasting the most titles, Bayern are by far the most successful German Cup team, their 15 triumphs dwarfing Dortmund's two before this latest success. Bayern's players insisted in the build-up to the Berlin showpiece that the two 1-0 league losses had been tight affairs which could have gone either way. This, however, was as one-sided as it gets. After Arjen Robben's penalty cancelled out Shinji Kagawa's third-minute opener, the floodgates opened. Mats Hummels scored from the spot, before Robert Lewandowski's hat-trick rendered Franck Ribéry's 75th-minute effort academic.

*European places
Borussia Dortmund – UEFA Champions League group stage
FC Bayern München – UEFA Champions League group stage
FC Schalke 04 – UEFA Champions League group stage
VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach – UEFA Champions League play-offs
Bayer 04 Leverkusen – UEFA Europa League group stage or UEFA Europa League play-offs
VfB Stuttgart – UEFA Europa League play-offs or UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Hannover 96 – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round or UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)
The Poland forward did not have it easy after arriving from KKS Lech Poznań in summer 2010 and in Dortmund's one-striker system was second choice behind Lucas Barrios in the 2010/11 Bundesliga-winning campaign, scoring eight goals in 33 league games. However, Klopp recognised him to be a player of high quality awaiting his chance and when the opportunity came he took it, superceding Barrios in the pecking order and rewarding his coach's faith. With no official award made yet, Lewandowski is UEFA.com's pick thanks to his 22 league goals this term and 30 in all competitions.

One to watch: Marco Reus (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach)
His ten goals last season had already played a major part in his side avoiding relegation, but the attacking midfielder almost doubled that mark with 18 this campaign, becoming the key player in a side that sensationally reached the UEFA Champions League play-offs. The 22-year-old became a German international, earned a call-up to UEFA EURO 2012 and rounded off a memorable year by sealing a move back to Dortmund, the home-town club he left as teenager.

Surprise package: VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
Gladbach were in turmoil in the 2010/11 season. Languishing at the foot of the Bundesliga at the midway point few could have imagined the Foals surviving relegation, let alone qualifying for Europe's premier competition. It took the arrival of Swiss coach Lucien Favre in February 2011 and two tight promotion/relegation play-offs against VfL Bochum three months later to keep them in the first tier. The following season was a revelation: at one stage they were keeping up with Dortmund and Bayern before ultimately settling for fourth place.

Leading goalscorer: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, FC Schalke 04 (29)

Relegated: 1. FC Köln, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Hertha BSC Berlin

Promoted: SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf

Number: 81
Dortmund had a staggering 81 points at the end of the season, the highest number in Bundesliga history.

Quote
"I simply don't have the words for what the team did today, to describe my feelings. I now have seven weeks to get my head around it. I haven't been able to do so until now. These are extraordinary moments in history. We now have to prove our sustainability, but we also have to wait and see when and if someone will be able to top us. We will see if we will remain on top for the coming years, it will all depend on how we cope with it."
Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp eventually finds the words to describe the club's first league and cup double.

Last updated: 10/07/12 13.56CET

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