Following the retirement of Jupp Heynckes, Bayern Munich appointed former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola as their new head coach. The Spaniard began life in Munich in the best way possible, winning the league by 19 points ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund.
Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen finished in the top four, with Leverkusen just one point ahead of Wolfsburg in the race for the final Champions League spot.
Hamburg escaped relegation thanks to an away goals victory in the play-off with Greuther Furth, while Nurnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig went down.
Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen had coaching changes before the start of the season. Guardiola returned from a year away from management to take over at the Allianz Arena, and co-coach Sascha Lewandowski stepped down at Leverkusen leaving Sami Hyypia as the team’s sole coach.
However, Leverkusen’s failure to properly challenge at the top of the table saw Hyypia dismissed by April, with Lewandowski returning in a caretaker role. Hamburg’s flirtation with relegation meant Thorsten Fink was sacked and then replacement Bert van Marwijk also was ousted, leaving Mirko Slomka in charge for the last couple of months of the season.
Guardiola’s most important purchase was midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who he had worked with at Barcelona, for €25 million, while Bayern spent even more on Dortmund attacking midfielder Mario Gotze, a €37m signing who provided 10 assists in his first season in Munich.
Luis Gustavo was sold to Wolfsburg for €16m, while Emre Can joined Bayer Leverkusen for €5m, and Mario Gomez left for Serie A side Fiorentina for €15.5m. Dortmund used some of the money from the Gotze sale to sign Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan for €27.5m from Shakhtar Donetsk and Saint-Etienne forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for €13m.
Sokratis traded Werder Bremen for Dortmund, while Leonardo Bittencourt moved to Hannover. As well as Can, Leverkusen signed Hamburg’s Korean winger Heung-Min Son (€10m) and Inter Milan full-back Giulio Donati (€3m). Andre Schurrle left for Chelsea for €22m and Dani Carvajal went back to Real Madrid for €6.5m.
Schalke took a risk on controversial midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng from AC Milan for €10m, while just over €3m was spent on 18-year-old Bochum midfielder Leon Goretzka. Borussia Monchengladbach changed their strikeforce, with Luuk de Jong (Newcastle) and Igor de Camargo (Hoffenheim) being replaced by Raffael (€5m from Dynamo Kiev) and Max Kruse (€2.5m from Freiburg).
Wolfsburg made a big signing during the summer, bringing Kevin de Bruyne back to the Bundesliga for €22m following an unsuccessful spell with Chelsea. In addition to de Bruyne and Gustavo, they also signed Nurnberg centre-back Timm Klose and Freiburg winger Daniel Caligiuri.
Bayern Munich easily sealed another Bundesliga title, with new head coach Guardiola falling just one point short of the previous season’s record haul of 91 points. Guardiola’s possession-based side dominated the league, finishing well clear of Borussia Dortmund, who had lost key player Gotze to the Bavarians during the summer.
By Matchday 27, Bayern won the title undefeated - the earliest ever winners of the Bundesliga. With Guardiola also battling for the Champions League, he rotated his squad, losing the next two games against Augsburg and Dortmund - their only two defeats in the league in 2013-14.
Dortmund finished with the top scorer and assists leader as Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus had brilliant seasons at Westfalenstadion. New signing Mkhitaryan was brought in to replace the creative talent of Gotze, and did well in his first campaign with 10 assists and nine goals.
Schalke started the season slowly, with coach Keller under pressure to deliver, but despite fan outcry, the board kept faith in their boss, and finished third in the final standings after a strong second-half performance.
Leverkusen were the opposite to Schalke, starting well and then falling back. After the winter break, they fell out of the top five, and coach Hyypia was dismissed following a defeat to Hamburg. Lewandowski returned as caretaker and finished in fourth thanks to a win over Wolfsburg on the last day of the season.
That defeat meant Wolfsburg missed out on the Champions League, but fifth place and Europa League qualification was their best finish in five years. Tayfun Korkut saved Hannover from relegation after replacing Mirko Slomka in December, but none of Nurnberg’s three head coaches could do enough to avoid the drop.
Eintracht Braunchweig finished bottom with 25 points, while Hamburg had just two more points, but stayed in the top flight thanks to an away goals win over Greuther Furth.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI - 20 GOALS
Lewandowski scored 20 or more goals for the third season in succession, also reaching 100 goals for Borussia Dortmund during the campaign.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
NEUER; LAHM, BOATENG, NALDO, ALABA; ROBBEN, GEIS, FIRMINO, KROOS, REUS; LEWANDOWSKI
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Dortmund to Bayern
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Mario Gotze was Borussia Dortmund’s brightest young player as Jurgen Klopp guided BVB to back-to-back titles, but scored the opening goal against them as Bayern Munich won 3-0 on Matchday 13, leaving his old club seven points behind his new one in the title race.