Continuing our season awards of the 2. Bundesliga, we move now to the top half of the table. While 9th place Holstein Kiel have 45 points, from 8th place onwards it is important to note that the teams are generally pretty closely placed together in terms of overall quality.
9th — Holstein Kiel
If you’re asking yourself “Why did he have to use this picture???”, I’m a masochist.
Der Kaiser: Phil Neumann (RB/CB)
Neumann was more than solid defensively, making excellent blocks and tackles. Going forward he wasn’t excellent, but 2 assists is a respectable return for a pure full back.
Fußballgott: Fabian Reese (LM)
Reese was simply mercurial, constantly making defenders duck and dance out wide, playing everywhere from left wing back to left winger. A goal and 5 assists is a return that undermines his true qualities in the dribble.
Der Bomber: Fin Bartels (ST/RM)
Fin Bartels wasn’t the fulcrum of attack even when up front, rather supplementing his teammates as a deep lying forward or as a pseudo-attacking midfielder operating in the half-space. His return of 5 goals and 2 assists shows that.
Meister of the Season: Alexander Mühling (CM)
Definitely the best player in the team, Mühling was the most important goal threat making late runs from deep, but was also great at switching and linking up play. 7 goals and 4 assists is elite for a central midfielder.
8th — FC Nürnberg
Der Kaiser: Asger Sørensen (CB)
Sørensen was heavily influential over the defensive setup, leading the line from the back with voice and vigour.
Fußballgott: Tom Krauß (CDM)
The starting 6 of the 4-2-3-1, Tempelmann formed a great partnership with honourable mention Lino Tempelmann.
Der Bomber: Mats Dæhli (CAM)
Dæhli was extremely productive, scoring 3 and assisting 6 while being key to Nürnberg’s creative play in general.
Meister of the Season: Tim Handwerker (LB)
Starting every game, Handwerker was unbeatable at times. While he would be a lot less focused on the attack, his defensive acumen was world class.
7th — SC Paderborn
Der Kaiser: Julian Justvan (LB/CM)
Justvan was used in very diverse manners throughout the season but never dropped the quality, scoring a goal and assisting 4.
Fußballgott: Marco Schuster (CM/RB)
Schuster was similarly versatile, and similarly consistent, with 3 assists to add to his name.
Der Bomber: Kai Pröger (ST)
Pröger was a traditional super sub, coming off the bench 18 times while scoring 5 goals and 4 assists (2G/2A as a substitute).
Meister of the Season: Ron Schallenberg (CM/CDM)
Captain fantastic, Schallenberg was the best and most important player for Paderborn, scoring 3 and assisting 3.
6th — FC Heidenheim
Der Kaiser: Patrick Mainka (CB)
Mainka was impressive at the back, rallying his troops and keeping pressure on attackers throughout the season. He was a goal threat from set pieces too, scoring thrice. In my opinion he was one of the top centre backs in the league.
Fußballgott: Jan Schöppner (CM/CDM)
Schöppner showed his quality even at the unripe age of 22. A goal and 2 assists wouldn’t seem like a good return, but it’s more about how Schöppner conducted play in the middle of the park and moved the ball forward for his attackers.
Der Bomber: Tobias Mohr (LM)
Mohr was ever dangerous marauding down the left, with 8 goals and 6 assists being a deserved return for his efforts.
Meister of the Season: Tim Kleindienst (ST)
Kleindienst was mercurial, constantly getting into dangerous positions and giving defenders trouble. 10 goals and 2 assists is a good measure of his quality.
5th — FC St. Pauli
Der Kaiser: Leart Paqarada (LB)
Paqarada was a force of nature at left back, recovering balls and defending on the counter flawlessly while also showing his quality going forward with 2 goals and a fantastic 10 assists.
Fußballgott: Marcel Hartel (CM)
Hartel was consistently above average in the middle of the park, tracking back and tracking forward with the class anyone who watched him at Arminia Bielefeld would associate with him. His creative output was not the same, with 4 assists to his best-ever return of 11, but Hartel was nevertheless important.
Der Bomber: Daniel-Kofi Kyereh (CAM)
Kyereh, playing as the 10 in the 4-2-3-1 of St. Pauli, was elite. While he wouldn’t be the most visionary, his ability to carry the ball with dribbles was second to none at the club. His end product was excellent too, with 12 goals and 9 assists in the league.
Meister of the Season: Guido Burgstaller (ST)
The Austrian target man has aged like a fine wine, scoring 18 and assisting 7 in the league alongside 2 in the DfB Pokal, surpassing even the legendary individual performances he gave playing for Nürnberg not half a decade ago.
4th — SV Darmstadt
Der Kaiser: Patric Pfeiffer (CB)
Pfeiffer set the base for the rest of the team, always sitting deep but forcing attackers into safer positions and orchestrating build-up in the defensive third.
Fußballgott: Tobias Kempe (CM/CDM)
Kempe had license to push further forward with Patric Pfeiffer having the ball playing ability to substitute for a defensive midfielder, and it paid dividends as Kempe would finish the season with 6 goals and 9 assists. An elite record for a central midfielder.
Der Bomber: Luca Pfeiffer (ST)
No, he is not related to Patric Pfeiffer, but he was similarly excellent this season, scoring 15 and assisting 5. His aerial ability in particular impressed, being played as the more physical of the forward duo.
Meister of the Season: Phillip Tietz (ST)
And here’s his strike partner, Tietz. Honestly, you could pick either player as your MotS, but for me the way Tietz linked up play was much more impressive. 15 goals and 7 assists is a record pretty much identical to Luca Pfeiffer’s.
3rd — Hamburger SV
Der Kaiser: Moritz Heyer (RB)
Heyer was a big contributor to the defense but he truly impressed with how he controlled his flank, even getting forward and contributing to the attack. 6 goals and 3 assists is a bit inflated due to his appearances in midfield, but 3 goals and 2 assists on the right is still a very good return.
Fußballgott: Jonas Meffert (CM)
Meffert was just the enforcer Hamburger needed, keeping opposition midfielders in check both with his physical threat, and his extremely understated ability to reply technically. A goal and 4 assists underpins his ability to control games with the ball at his feet.
Der Bomber: Sonny Kittel (LW/CM)
Kittel was good in midfield, but when employed at left wing he was something else. 9 goals and 12 assists is the kind of production you just do not see in every other winger.
Meister of the Match: Robert Glatzel (ST)
Glatzel started every game in the league, and scored every game. Okay, no he didn’t, but 22 goals and 3 assists in the league along with 5 goals in the DfB Pokal is an elite return.
2nd — Werder Bremen
Der Kaiser: Marco Friedl (CB/LB)
Another Bayern Munich alumni shows up in one of these articles. Really makes you wonder how many more products we will or already have lost in the last few years. Friedl finally found his feet at Bremen with a set of otherworldly performances at centre back.
Fußballgott: Romano Schmid (CM/LM)
Schmid scored 3 and assisted 5 which wouldn’t be the hallmark of somebody in contention for the best central midfielder in the league (well, he isn’t now anyway with Bremen being promoted), but do not be fooled. Schmid reminded me of one Leon Goretzka with his style of play.
Der Bomber: Niclas Füllkrug (ST)
How often is it that two of the three best players in a league play for the same team? Okay, pretty common. How often is it that those two players play for the not-champions? Okay, that’s not very rare. Either way, my point is, this guy is up there. 19 goals and 6 assists.
Meister of the Season: Marvin Ducksch (ST)
Despite the fact that his return wasn’t as high one other player, I do think that Ducksch is up there in the conversation for the best player in the 2. Bundesliga. 20 goals and 9 assists in the league means he averaged a goal contribution every game (29 appearances).
1st — Schalke 04
Der Kaiser: Malick Thiaw (CB)
The best centre back in the league. Enough said.
Fußballgott: Thomas Ouwejan (LM/LWB)
This is kind of cheating as the role Ouwejan occupies is very similar to Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich, but Ouwejan’s role was ever so slightly different as Schalke employed a true 3-man defense this season. 3 goals and 8 assists is a more than impressive record.
Der Bomber: Marius Bülter (ST)
Bülter was the more creative of Schalke’s two-man striker team, but also offered a threat running past the last defender. 10 goals and 12 assists in the league along with 2 goals in the cup are the hallmark of an attacker really hitting their stride in the prime of their career.
Meister of the Match: Simon Terodde (ST)
Terodde was the best player in the 2. Bundesliga. 30 appearances, 30 goals. 4 assists as the cherry on top. Unbeatable in the air. Great at finding men in dangerous positions. Lures defenders into fouling him. The only weakness I could say is he would occasionally lose the ball with a poor or heavy touch.
Did I miss any players? Am I a god of football analysis with no equal? Let us know in the discussion forum below, and let us know who you’re hopeful will gain promotion next season (other than Hamburg of course, we’re all rooting for them!).