Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (l.) and Robert Lewandowski (r.) were two of the protagonists of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season. - © © imago
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (l.) and Robert Lewandowski (r.) were two of the protagonists of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season. - © © imago

Bundesliga season review: from Aubameyang to Lewandowski via Lahm's farewell

It was another thrilling season in Germany's top flight. Although there were countless memorable moments, bundesliga.com has selected ten of the stand-out for you to enjoy...

1) Farewell of the season

For the eighth and final time he lifted the Meisterschale high into the Munich sky, and then it was goodbye. After 653 competitive games at Bayern Munich and Stuttgart, Philipp Lahm called time on his inordinately successful career at the end of 2016/17. The UEFA European Championship aside, the 33-year-old has won everything there is to win in football, although there were probably two high points: the first, the treble with Bayern in 2013; the second, the FIFA World Cup triumph in Brazil a year later.

"First I'm going on holiday," said Lahm, when asked about his plans for the future. "Then anything is possible." The former full-back will almost certainly run his charity and his business, as well as playing a bigger role in family life: Lahm is soon to become a father for the second time.

Read: Click here to find out more about Lahm's lasting legacy at Bayern

Watch: Click play on the video below to see Lahm's send-off at the Allianz Arena

2) Comeback of the season

There was a tear-jerking moment on 28 February in Frankfurt: Eintracht captain Marco Russ headed towards the massed home fans behind the goal and soaked up the applause, holding young daughter Vida. "I can hardly describe how this feels," said Russ, who had returned to football following a ten-month battle with cancer.

"It was a difficult time," said Russ, who twice had to undergo chemotherapy. "But my story shows that you can beat these illnesses. I suppose I'm a sort of example now. I'm enjoying every minute I play."

Read: Marco Russ' journey back to the Bundesliga

Watch: Marco Russ discusses his return to action

3) Coach of the season

Perhaps the toughest end-of-season award to hand out, given the number of candidates: Peter Stöger, Julian Nagelsmann, Niko Kovac and Ralph Hasenhüttl all did remarkable things, but none quite as remarkable as Christian Streich taking tiny, promoted Freiburg into the UEFA Europa League qualifying stages.

"We actually won quite a few games this season," said a clearly emotional Streich at the end of the season. "And it's still quite special for me to win a game in the Bundesliga." While one key player, Vincenzo Grifo, has already left, and others could follow, there is little doubt that Streich will put together a side far more than the sum of its parts once again next season. They'll win the odd game along the way, too.

Read: Vincenzo Grifo joins Gladbach from Freiburg

Watch: Freiburg beat Schalke 2-0 on Matchday 32 to move closer to Europe

4) Drama of the season

It had to be Hamburg, didn't it? Once again the Bundesliga's ever-presents were involved in the relegation battle, and once again it went down to the final day. Likely fearing the worst following narrow play-off victories in 2014 and 2015, HSV fans watched most of the Matchday 34 meeting with Wolfsburg through their fingers.

Knowing only a win would do to keep the side out of the relegation play-off, hope looked lost when Robin Knoche put the Wolves ahead. Filip Kostic equalised, however, before Luca Waldschmidt popped up in the 87th minute to score his first goal of the season and send Wolfsburg into the play-off, in the process keeping the HSV clock ticking.

Read: Click here for the report from Hamburg's dramatic victory

Watch: Click here for full highlights from Hamburg's win on Matchday 34

5) Surprise package of the season

RB Leipzig's maiden season in the Bundesliga could hardly have gone any better: direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League, the runners-up spot and pushing champions Bayern Munich all the way. The Eastern upstarts were a breath of fresh air, their swashbuckling football seeing off teams from Dortmund to Darmstadt.

Many predicted and expected that Leipzig would drop off following a record-breaking first half of the season, but Ralph Hasenhüttl's side continued to improve, winning countless admirers with their high-octane brand of pressing football en route to second place. Europe awaits next year, and with it the writing of a new chapter in the club's short history.

Read: Click here for a full review of Leipzig's remarkable season

6) Goal of the season

Speaking of writing history, Karim Bellarabi is becoming quite an expert at just that. The Bayer Leverkusen winger scored the fastest-ever Bundesliga goal in August 2014 against Borussia Dortmund, and wrote his name into the history books again this season. On Matchday 21 in Augsburg, the 26-year-old scored the 50,000th goal in the Bundesliga in Leverkusen's 3-1 win.

A cool 54 years after Timo Konietzka (24 August 1963) scored the first-ever top-flight goal for Borussia Dortmund against Werder Bremen, Bellarabi netted the opener for Bayer in the 23rd minute. "It's very special and makes me really pleased," he said, before dedicating the goal to his family and to suspended team-mate Hakan Calhanoglu. "He's an important part of the squad."

Read: Bellarabi makes history again!

Watch: Bellarabi reflects on scoring the Bundesliga's 50,000th goal

7) Head-to-head of the season

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski, two vastly different strikers, delivered a long-distance prizefight worthy of the finest heavyweights for the Bundesliga top-scorer crown this season. The Pole was ahead (30 goals to 29 goals) going into the final game of the season, but the Gabon international's brace (including a late-minute penalty) against Werder Bremen on Matchday 34 secured him the Torjägerkanone for the first time.

Aubameyang is the fourth Dortmund striker to win the prize: Lothar Emmerich (1965/66), Marcio Amoroso (2001/02) and Lewandowski (2013/14) have all been top-scorer in black and yellow before. Third place in this season's running, behind Aubameyang and Lewandowski, was Cologne striker Anthony Modeste (25 goals).

Gallery: Click right here for all of the Bundesliga's top marksmen this season

Watch: Sit back, relax and enjoy all of Aubameyang's 31 goals this season in the video below

8) Song of the season

Speaking of Modeste, the song of the season – and there were several candidates in this category – has to be awarded to the Cologne striker. The home fans in attendance every other week at the RheinEnergieSTADION often chant: "Who's taking Cologne to Budapest? Anthony Modeste!"

It is hard to overstate the importance of qualifying for European football to the fans and the city: a fifth-placed finish and concomitant UEFA Europa League qualification are Cologne's best returns since the early 1990s. While coach Stöger will rightly receive plenty of credit, Modeste scored almost 50 per cent of his side's goals this term. Budapest, Bucharest, Rome or Naples, Cologne fans now have a European journey to relish.

Read: From Blackburn zero to Bundesliga hero, the Anthony Modeste journey

Watch: Modeste reflects on a stunning season with Cologne

9) The record man

When Nagelsmann took the Hoffenheim reins in February 2016, the club were second bottom and staring relegation in the face. Just over a year later and Nagelsmann – still only 29 – has led the club into the Champions League for the first time ever. The records hardly stop there: Hoffenheim were unbeaten at home all season for the first time ever and went the entire first half of the season without tasting defeat.

The 62 points blitz the club's previous highest Bundesliga return (55 in 2008/09), while Nagelsmann also led the club to a first-ever win against Bayern Munich (1-0 on Matchday 27). "It was a brave decision to place our trust in such a young man," said Dietmar Hopp, Hoffenheim's owner, in the club magazine recently. "That bravery has been rewarded, and the good season is of course down to the coach."

Read: Julian Nagelsmann, the mastermind behind Hoffenheim's rise

Watch: Nagelsmann's tactical wizardry has taken Hoffenheim to the top

10) Turnaround of the season

Sitting 15th, a place above the relegation zone, on Matchday 24, things looked bleak for Werder Bremen. Fast forward ten games, however, and the Green-Whites finished the season eighth, only a win away from Europa League qualification.

A run of 11 games without defeat between Matchdays 21 and 31, inspired by Max Kruse and Thomas Delaney on the field and young coach Alexander Nouri off the field, means that Bremen fans go into the new season dreaming of bringing the good times back to the Weser Stadium: after all, it was only 2009 when the northern side were contesting a Europa League final.

Read: Nouri extends contract at Bremen

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