After a tremendous start to the season, we went into the Rückrunde only a matter of points behind Bayern. Fixtures away to Cartagena and Red Bull Salzburg kept our playing styles fresh in our minds, ready for the coming fixtures.
We only made one change in the transfer window, and that was saying goodbye to long time servant of the club Neven Subotic to Spurs for €9m. We’d planned on letting him go in the summer anyway, and with the offer to play in the Premier League coming in, we felt it was a good enough time to let him move on.
We started the second half of the season at home to Bayer Leverkusen, where we thrashed them 6-2, recording our highest goal scoring match of the season. Aubameyang ran the show, scoring 4 goals in the game. From then on, we went on a crazy run of form, picking up 12 straight wins, (including a well-deserved 3-1 win over FC Bayern), before a 2-2 draw with Spurs in Europe. We found ourselves battling at the top with Bayern, the positions of first and second changing each week depending on goal difference.
Our good run of form meant we found ourselves in the latter stages of the Europa League and the DFB-Pokal. The former of the two would end in utter heart break, as a 2-0 first leg lead over FC Porto would be undone in Portugal with a 4-1 loss on the night! Any other team would struggle to come back from such defeats, but we set our minds on the domestic tasks at hand.
A victory over Hannover saw is us into the cup final, against none other than Bayern, who we were still fighting neck and neck over the league. A loss by Bayern on matchday 33 gave us hope, but a loss against Darmstadt meant that the title would be decided on the last day of the season. A victory for us would seal the title. Our opponents, FC Augsburg were battling for their lives down the bottom, and a tough match was to be expected. What actually occurred however was the opposite, with BVB coasting 6 goals past their opposition, before a single consolation goal was acquired. That was it…the title was ours!
With the title in our hands, we moved to Berlin, to face Bayern in our final game of the season, the cup final. We had the opportunity to grab a domestic double, and Bayern were saying goodbye to Pep Guardiola, this being his final match with them. Whilst this game was certainly tougher, Bayern’s game plan came unstuck in the first few minutes, when Henrikh Mkhitaryan tapped in at the back post. From then on, BVB were the better team, ramping up 3 goals from (A penalty from Reus and a great goal by Gabriel). Lewandowski grabbed one back for Bayern in the second half, but our defense stood firm, and when the whistle blew, we held aloft the cup, completing our double.
Tactically, we’ve shifted slightly from the start of the season, which has seen Aubameyang score the majority of his 46 goals (in all competitions). Switching him to a poacher, with two wingers out wide, crossing early, has meant that he has used his pace to out ran defenders, latching onto great balls from out wide, before finishing well. He has great composure, and he deserved all the plaudits that have come his way.
Something needs to be said about Weigl, who in my opinion, has made a case for me to build a team around him. His ability and intelligence means he is the perfect hook to play in midfield, and with Gündoğan potentially off in the summer (city are sniffing), Weigl could well be our midfield general.
Gabriel and Zivkovic have also improved vastly, now fluently speaking the language, and showing why they are the future of the club. We had a nasty business with Dunga the Brazilian manager, attempting to tell Gabriel he should move to a bigger club. Hopefully the Champions League next season will be a bigger stage for the kid. He’s also proven to be very solid out wide right, a position I may consider him in for next season.
Transfer wise, we could have a busy summer. Ramos is off to Turkey, so a striker is a must, although Gabriel is natural in that position. Either way, a back up option is required. Some of our bigger players with release clauses are also grabbing headlines abroad, so we will see who goes, but we do have a list of replacements built up ready, just in case.
All in all, a grand first season, one I am very proud of. We will now look to do it all again, and overcome any big departures we have in the transfer window.
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