Cologne - At the halfway stage of the 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign, FC Bayern München are sitting pretty at the summit with an 11-point cushion, and two of their key protagonists, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer, have earned recognition from their fellow professionals.
In a 240-player survey conducted by German football publication Kicker, the record title-holders’ Flying Dutchman was named the Hinrunde’s best outfield player, while Bayern’s imperious FIFA Ballon d’Or nominee took top spot in the custodians’ category.
Robben has waylaid fears of physical post-World Cup after-effects by producing the best form of his storied career to date this season. The 30-year-old has been directly involved in 13 goals, scoring 10 and setting up a further three, in 13 appearances and he duly collected 112 votes - 82 more than runner-up Kevin De Bruyne of VfL Wolfsburg.
Meanwhile, having set a new Bundesliga record by conceding just four goals in the opening 17 games of the campaign, it came as little surprise that Neuer was recognised as the top shot stopper, winning by an even greater margin than his talented team-mate. The Germany and FC Bayern No1 received 135 of the 240 votes, with Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Yann Sommer finishing in second with 19.
Elsewhere, Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi was recognised as the breakthrough player from the first half of the season, while FC Augsburg were named the Hinrunde’s surprise package, with boss Markus Weinzierl scooping the best head coach title.