60 years of Bundesliga

The top free-kick routines in the Bundesliga's 60 years


There are few things more pleasurable as a football watcher than seeing a cleverly planned free-kick work to perfection - and the Bundesliga has seen many stunning such examples over its 60 years.

That was one straight from the training ground! Anyone who has watched plenty of football will be familiar with the occasional clever free-kick routine, which tries to catch opponents off guard, and usually fails. That makes the results, when they do come off, all the more spectacular, as the Bundesliga has had the pleasure of witnessing in its 60 years.

Confusing the opposition with the identity of the free-kick taker - or its timing - is always a delightful trick to pull - and nobody has shown that more impressively than Raphaël Guerreiro and Marco Reus in leaving everyone guessing before the Portuguese winger swung a set piece in for Paco Alcacer to head home in 2018/19.

That was impressive - but had the Borussia Dortmund boys had been watching clips of Hannover in the 1980s, they might have been tempted to try an even more sophisticated routine. Welshman Wayne Thomas running past a free-kick before a team-mate backheeled it to another Hannover man who slid a pass behind the defence for Thomas to score is sheer free-kick poetry in motion!

Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus combined in one of the Bundesliga's best free-kick routines of its first 60 years. - Stuart Franklin/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

The turn of the century appears to have been a golden era for the clever free-kick routine. There were delights from Michael Preetz of Hertha Berlin in 1997/98, Marcelo Bordon of VfB Stuttgart in 1999/2000, Oliver Neuville for Bayer Leverkusen in 2001/02, Giovanne Elber for Bayern Munich in the same season and Michael Ballack for Bayern in 2003/04.

An ingenious free-kick of the more recent past saw Maximilian Arnold slip the ball under the wall for Wout Weghorst to net for Wolfsburg in 2020/21. Why go under the wall though if you can hit it before the wall is even in place? Christoph Kramer had the quick-wittedness to try that with brilliant results for Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2017/18.

Of course, if your team tries the same free-kick routine again the following week, the element of surprise would be lost. On the other hand, nobody would be expecting your side to try to recreate a routine from a compilation of the best in the Bundesliga's 60 years... 

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