Despite Bayern’s dominance, the 2021-22 Bundesliga season has been another entertaining campaign, full of twists and turns right up until the end of the season. A number of rising talents emerged out of thin air this season, with the Bundesliga continuing its reputation as one of the best leagues in the world for developing young players into world beaters. So with that, here is our Bundesliga Team of the Season for the 2021-22 campaign.
GOALKEEPER: MANUEL RIEMANNEmbed from Getty Images
Manuel Riemann has been an essential component to VFL Bochum’s stunning survival. Not only has Riemann been one of the best in the league at performing one of the most basic tasks of a goalkeeper – stopping shots, but he’s also been the league’s elite Sweeper Keeper. Completing more defensive actions outside of the penalty area per 90 this season than any other keeper in Europe’s top five leagues (2.00), Riemann has played a massive part in Bochum’s surprise 13th place finish in the table.
Alternative: Lukas Hradecky
RIGHT-BACK: JEREMIE FRIMPONGEmbed from Getty Images
With work still to do in improving his defensive attributes, Jeremie Frimpong has been a complete livewire going forward for Leverkusen this season. The 21-year-old contributed to 7 of Bayer’s goals this season (1 goal + 6 assists), forming a magnificent partnership with Moussa Diaby along the way. His exceptional progressive carrying (8.29 per 90) puts him within the top 1% of all fullbacks in the world, and allows Moussa Diaby to constantly operate as an inverted winger, where he can cut inside onto his wicked left foot and contribute to the likes of Schick and Wirtz.
Alternative: Christopher Trimmel
centre-back: NICO SCHLOTTERBECKEmbed from Getty Images
With transfer rumours abound over Nico Schlotterbeck’s future all season long, it won’t come as a surprise to you to hear that Nico Schlotterbeck excelled in nearly every facet of the game this season. From dominating his 1v1 duels to progressively advancing Freiburg up the pitch to even scoring goals, Schlotterbeck played a massive role in Freiburg’s success this season. His standouts include a colossal aerial duel percentage of 74.4%, the fourth best in the league, and 5.25 tackles + interceptions per game. With a move to Dortmund now secured, Schlotterbeck is set for a long career of success in the Bundesliga.
Alternative: Jonathan Tah
CENTRE-BACK: LUCAS HERNANDEZEmbed from Getty Images
Lucas Hernandez has arguably had the best season of his career, defending like his life depended on it in Julian Nagelsmann’s 4-2-3-1 system. The progressive ball-playing centre-half excelled in all facets of the game this season, whilst helping the Bavarian giants to 11 clean sheets in 34 matches. Hernandez’s personal highlights include 6.76 progressive carries per game, and a 40.2% pressure success rate. Forming a nice partnership with Dayot Upamecano, Hernandez has been one of Bayern’s standout stars this season in an illustrious line-up.
Alternative: Obite Evan Ndicka
LEFT-BACK: DAVID RAUMEmbed from Getty Images
David Raum impressed last season in 2. Bundesliga for Greuther Furth, and swapped the Bundesliga hopeful club for 1899 Hoffenheim prior to the start of the season. Raum hasn’t looked back since, contributing to a career high 14 goals this season. Playing mostly as a left-wing-back in Sebastian Hoeneß’s fluctuating back-three shapes, the 24-year-old German has been able to use his exceptional crossing and delivery package to contribute more assists than any other defender in the league.
Alternative: Christian Gunter
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER: JOSHUA KIMMICHEmbed from Getty Images
Joshua Kimmich needs no introduction, having been the best defensive midfielders in the league (perhaps even the world) for years now. With the world at his fingertips, Kimmich assisted 10 goals and scored 3 of his own, aiding Bayern’s massive goal haul. From the defensive side of the game, the German anchored the back-line magnificently, with an impressive 2.33 interceptions per 90 despite Bayern’s dominance in possession.
Alternative: Kerem Demirbay
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER: JUDE BELLINGHAMEmbed from Getty Images
It’s crazy to think that Jude Bellingham remains just 18-years-old, despite his massive development into one of the world’s best midfielders at Borussia Dortmund the past two seasons. Bellingham took his game to new heights this season, becoming an essential box-to-box presence that Marco Rose built his team around in the first half of the season. Contributing 3 goals and 8 assists to Dortmund this season, Bellingham plays with a class and poise beyond his years.
Alternative: Julian Brandt
RIGHT WING: MOUSSA DIABYEmbed from Getty Images
The likes of Florian Wirtz and Patrik Schick may have garnered more headlines this season, but Moussa Diaby played an undeniably important role in Leverkusen’s third-place finish. Forming a wonderful partnership with Jeremie Frimpong down the right, Diaby constantly fed the better players around him with chances, assisting 12 goals this campaign. But he also chipped in with several of his own on that stunning left foot, scoring 13 goals to do one better than his already impressive assist tally.
Alternative: Serge Gnabry
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: THOMAS MULLEREmbed from Getty Images
Marco Reus may have enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career (with 9 goals and 12 assists), but it’s hard to knock Thomas Muller off the top spot in the number 10 position. Assisting goals at an insane rate, allowing Lewandowski to bang so many into the back of the net in the process, Thomas Muller was once again crucial to Bayern’s title winning success. With 8 goals and 18 assists this season, Muller made every other number ten look like peasants, assisting 5 more goals than Nkunku in second place.
LEFT WING: CHRISTOPHER NKUNKUEmbed from Getty Images
Arguably the Bundesliga’s Player of the Season for 2021-22, Leipzig would be nowhere near the top four had it not been for Christopher Nkunku this season. Almost single-handedly leading Leipzig through the toughest of times this season, under two different managers, Nkunku contributed 33 goals (20 goals + 13 assists) in 34 appearances this season. The Frenchman became the undeniable starter and star inside Leipzig’s stellar attacking unit, making himself the man of the match in nearly every single fixture.
Alternative: Vincenzo Grifo
STRIKER: ROBERT LEWANDOWSKIEmbed from Getty Images
Several Bundesliga strikers have enjoyed impressive campaigns in 2021-22, but it remains impossible to top the madness of Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern legend netted 35 goals as he appeared in all 34 matches this season, a formidable record that highlights not only his excellence in front of goal, but his durability in avoiding injury at 33-years-old now.
Alternative: Patrik Schick
So there it is! Our 2021-22 Bundesliga Team of the Season. Be sure to check out more Bundesliga articles from this season, and follow on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
After catching the eye for Montreal Impact’s Academy in 2018, the career of future Canadian international Calin Calaidjoglu has gone quietly under the radar. Currently plying his trade in his native Moldova, that much is understandable. But Calaidjoglu recently impressed in his side’s UEFA Conference League tie against Slovenian side NS Mura, and has enjoyed a bright start to the 2022-23 season. While CPL clubs tend to recruit even younger players, the 21-year-old would have plenty to offer if a move were to be made back home. In this tactical analysis, we break down the strengths and weaknesses of Calin Calaidjoglu at the age of 21, and the CPL clubs that would most benefit from his playing style. Here is our analysis!
The ‘Tempo Setter’ is a unique player type to our system, taking into account the possession-based players that operate in a ‘number 8’ position, and thrive when given the ball in the half-spaces. Youri Tielemans, Christian Eriksen and Jordan Henderson feature as some of the best within the role from an emblematic perspective, perfectly exuding the cucumber coolness required. But the likes of Thiago and Tchouaméni also stake a claim despite their extreme exceptionalities on the ball, due to the high influence they present in keeping the game moving along from a withdrawn position. Beyond the streamlined skill of Thiago, they tend not to be the flashiest of players in their teams. But ‘Tempo Setters’ are key to setting the tone of a football match, and conducting the orchestra from start to finish. Quite simply, without their class and composure in possession, the whole entire musical production could crumble.
Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it’s becoming more difficult to quantify ‘Target Men’, recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as ‘Target Men’ for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the ‘Target Man’ in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.