Munich – It has been a landmark season for the Bundesliga after its top two clubs, FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, both reached the final of the UEFA Champions League, establishing Germany’s top-flight as the continent’s most exciting league at present.
And the ever-growing acclaim being thrown German football’s way has now been added to in the form of the European Sports Media's (ESM) Best XI for the 2012/13 season, which includes no less than six Bundesliga-based players.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, treble-winning Bayern dominate the line-up, with as many as five of the Reds’ side that rewrote the record books this season included. Manuel Neuer, a hero of the Wembley final, was picked between the posts, while Philipp Lahm and Dante were named in defence after conceding just 18 goals in the entire league season.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was recognised with a midfield berth after playing a major role in the winning the treble, including scoring the goal against Eintracht Frankfurt that made Bayern league champions. Thomas Müller also made the eleven, having netted 13 league goals and eight in the Champions League, including home and away in the semi-finals against FC Barcelona.
Gündogan flies the BVB flag
The final Bundesliga entrant in the XI was Dortmund’s Ilkay Gündogan. The 23-year-old has emerged as one of the most complete midfielders in the modern game, for both BVB and Germany, and his performances this season, especially in the Champions League, have had the world watching in awe at his composure at the highest level.
While Germany contributed by far the largest contingent, there was also recognition for Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, England’s Premier League and France’s Ligue 1. Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi were included, as were Juventus FC defender Giorgio Chiellini and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gareth Bale. Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, formerly of Juve, AFC Ajax and AC Milan, among others, completed the eleven.