Cologne - We are approaching that time of year again when the world's best player is decided, and this season, five Bundesliga players are in with a shout of being named the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or.
All five play their football for the champions FC Bayern München, and all five have had a 2015 to remember. bundesliga.com takes a look at their achievements in the calendar year so far...
FC Bayern München and Germany goalkeeper Neuer again makes the shortlist, after making last year's final three. The 29-year-old kept 20 clean sheets in 32 Bundesliga appearances as Bayern lifted their 24th Bundesliga title in 2014/15, thereby surpassing Oliver Kahn’s Bundesliga record for most shut-outs in a single season. He also foiled a league- and career-best 56 per cent of opposition teams’ clear-cut chances.
Lewandowski tore up the history books on 22 September 2015. Coming on as a half-time substitute with Bayern trailing VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 on Matchday 6, the Poland international notched five times in an unforgettable nine-minute spell. In doing so, he became the first substitute to score more than three goals in the history of the German top flight and the proud record-holder of the fastest three-, four- and five-goal salvos since the Bundesliga’s formation.
Müller has never finished a season with more than 13 Bundesliga goals to his name, but he is already well on his way to setting a new personal best with nine goals in as many Bundesliga outings at the start of 2015/16. He netted 13 in the Bundesliga for the fourth time in his career last season, while Bayern have won their last 43 and are unbeaten in their last 62 Bundesliga matches in which he has scored.
After lifting his fourth successive Serie A title with former club Juventus, Vidal went on to help Chile to their first Copa America crown in the summer, netting three tournament goals and scoring from the penalty spot in the final. The Bayern No.23 also collected runners-up medals in the Supercoppa Italiana and UEFA Champions League last term.
Robben played some of the best football of his career in 2014/15. The flying Dutchman had a direct say in 25 goals in 21 Bundesliga appearances, but missed the last three months of the campaign through injury. He nevertheless reached the century mark for Bundesliga wins faster then any other player, on only his 126th Bundesliga appearance (against Hannover 96 on Matchday 24).
World Coach of the Year nominee: Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola is only the second coach after Ernst Happel (Hamburger SV) to win the Bundesliga title in both his first two seasons in the dugout, but he could become the first to win three on the bounce in 2015/16. Since the Catalan took charge, Bayern have won 82 per cent of their 77 Bundesliga games: an all-time best-mark among coaches that have overseen more than four matches for one club in Germany’s top flight.