MATCHDAY 16 NEWSLETTER
With the action over for 2016 and the players on a short but well-earned winter break, it's time to reflect: On another great year for one Dortmund forward, some of the sharpshooting prospects coming up fast in his wake, the remarkable rise of Hoffenheim under their record-breaking coach and the ongoing misery of ultimate evergreens Hamburg. All that and more in a festively-tinged end-of-year bow-out.
His Best Year – Aubameyang's 2016
Voted Africa's Player of the Year for 2015 at the start of January, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has fired his way into contention for a repeat award on the back of another tremendous twelve months. Over the opening half of the current campaign in particular, the Gabon international has been in prolific form for Dortmund – indeed, he is currently out in front in the Europe-wide race to win the top scorer's Golden Shoe.
In Auba's Footsteps – The League's Young Hot-shots
Aubameyang is setting a hot pace on the Bundesliga scoring chart, leaving even last season's winner of the cannon, Robert Lewandowski, struggling to keep up. But while they continue to set the gold standard, there are a number of exciting talents taking great strides to close the gap on the Dortmund and Bayern superstar duo. We take a look at five of them.
Festive Spirit – The Christmas Bundesliga
As the league heads off into the winter recess, the clubs and their stars have once again been making good on the Bundesliga's long-standing commitment to social causes – bringing a seasonal smile to many a face in the process.
Frankfurt Enforcer – Omar Mascarell
In a surprise-packed campaign, Eintracht Frankfurt are up there with the best of them so far. The Eagles' transformation from relegation dogfighters to European hopefuls is down in large part to one of the tightest defences in the league, with Omar Mascarell pivotal to that improvement. Signed from Real Madrid in the summer following loan spells in England and at La Liga strugglers Gijon, the 23- year-old holding midfielder is proving one of the Bundesliga discoveries of the season.
Legends Tour – Into Africa
Jay-Jay Okocha and Sunday Oliseh – two Bundesliga cult favourites from years past, signed up for a three-country promotional tour of Africa in association with the DFL's official Sub-Saharan broadcast partner StarTimes. We've put together some of the top moments from the legendary Nigerian duo's trip.
99 Seconds – Hard to Beat
Few indeed would have predicted that 1899 Hoffenheim would remain unbeaten further into the season than any other Bundesliga club. Thus it came to pass, however, with Hoffenheim resolutely on the rise ever since Julian Nagelsmann took charge of a team seemingly bound for Bundesliga 2 in February. The league's youngest-ever contracted head coach is very evidently no mere novelty act.
Tough Times – Where Now for Hamburg?
Hard on the heels of Markus Gisdol replacing Bruno Labbadia as head coach, Hamburger SV also relieved Dietmar Beiersdorfer of his duties as chairman. Former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Heribert Bruchhagen is the new incumbent but amidst the latest round of personnel upheaval and with Hamburg struggling yet again near the foot of the standings, serious questions are being raised about the future of the Bundesliga's only ever-present club.