Van Gaal guides Bayern Munich back to the top - the 2009/10 Bundesliga

11:00am on Tuesday 7th April 2020
Martin Macdonald

After the disappointing tenure of Jurgen Klinsmann, Bayern Munich appointed Louis van Gaal as head coach for 2009-10, and he rewarded them with the Bundesliga title, finishing five points ahead of Schalke.

Holders Wolfsburg were unable to replicate their success, and even sacked new boss Armin Veh during the season en route to an eighth-placed finish. Jurgen Klopp returned Borussia Dortmund to Europe, finishing fifth to qualify for the Europa League.

A terrible season for Hertha Berlin saw the capital side win just five games, just a season after finishing fourth. They were joined in the relegation zone by Bochum, while Nurnberg were able to stay up via the playoff.


Numerous clubs changed coaches in the summer, with Louis van Gaal appointed to replace caretaker Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich. Heynckes left for Bayer Leverkusen, while Martin Jol departed Hamburg to be replaced by Bruno Labbadia.

Having won the league with Wolfsburg, Felix Magath moved to Schalke, and Armin Veh took charge of the Wolves until he was sacked in January. Mainz also had a new man in charge, appointing former Augsburg II boss Thomas Tuchel to his first major coaching position.

Wolfsburg’s failure to compete at the top was further hindered by a change in playing personnel. They spent big money on striker Obafemi Martins (€10.5 million from Newcastle), Algerian attacker Karim Ziani (€7m), as well as €5m on Rever and €3.7m on Thomas Kahlenberg.

They made money back on Cristian Zaccardo, Cedric Makiadi, and Ricardo Costa, but saw other players leave for free on loan as they tried to adjust to playing in the Champions League and the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich spent more money in the transfer window, but used it wisely as van Gaal brought the title back to Bavaria. Arjen Robben proved the signing of the season despite costing €24m from Real Madrid, while their most expensive addition was 25-year-old German forward Mario Gomez, a €30m addition from Stuttgart. Anatoliy Tymoschuk and Ivica Olic were also added to the squad, as Lukas Podolski (€10m to Cologne), Lucio, Ze Roberto and Mats Hummels all left.

Hummels was a new signing for Borussia Dortmund, having previously played for the club on loan. The defender was BVB’s most expensive signing for the summer, along with striker Lucas Barrios, a €4.2m arrival from Colo Colo. Sven Bender arrived from 1860 Munich and Kevin Grosskreutz was brought in from Rot-Weiss Ahlen to help provide width.

Werder Bremen made Claudio Pizarro’s loan deal permanent, and spent over €8m on explosive winger Marko Marin from Gladbach. Bremen’s transfer outlay was more than offset by the sale of Diego, who joined Juventus for €27m.

Hoffenheim raided Hertha Berlin to sign €7m defender Josip Simunic, while Stuttgart spent over €12m combined on Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Pavel Pogrebnyak, and brought in Alexander Hleb on loan from Barcelona.

Hamburg also had big summer expenditure, looking to the Eredivisie to sign Eljero Elia for €9m from Twente and Groningen forward Marcus Berg for €10m. Leverkusen’s best signing turned out to be a free transfer, with 35-year-old defender Sami Hyypia providing defensive stability following his move from Liverpool.


Van Gaal became the first Dutch coach to win the Bundesliga thanks to outstanding wide performances from Franck Ribery and new signing Robben. The double-six of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marc van Bommel helped Bayern dominate opponents, while opportunities were handed to young players Holger Badstuber and Thomas Muller, who had come through the club’s academy.

Magath also proved an excellent appointment for Schalke, and S04 never found themselves lower than third in the table as a result. Kevin Kuranyi continued to flourish in attack, but announced he would leave the club before the end of the season, having reached double figures in five consecutive Bundesliga campaigns.

Stefan Kiessling’s goals helped Bayer Leverkusen compete at the top of the table, while young midfielder Toni Kroos proved one of the league’s brightest young players under Jupp Heynckes. Despite leading the league up until matchday 23, Leverkusen ended up missing out on the Champions League thanks to five losses in their last 10 games.

Bundesliga Player of the Year, Arjen Robben

Mesut Ozil was another excellent young talent, topping the assists chart with 17 ahead of Wolfsburg’s Zvjezdan Misminovic and Werder Bremen team-mate Marin. They qualified for the Champions League ahead of Leverkusen and Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund, who returned to the top five.

Hannover suffered a devastating season, despite finishing just outside the relegation zone. The club lost one of its most important and most popular players when Germany international goalkeeper Robert Enke tragically took his own life on November 10.

Hertha Berlin came fourth in 2008-09, but were the worst team in 2009-10, setting a Bundesliga record for the most home games without a win - 16-in-a-row. After 13 years in the top flight, they were back in the second tier. Hertha were joined by Bochum in the relegation zone, but newcomers Nurnberg were able to stay up thanks to a 3-0 aggregate win over Augsburg.



The Dutch winger finished the season as Bayern Munich’s top scorer with 16 goals, including a hat-trick against Hannover and two in the title decider against Hertha Berlin.



After the disappointment of Jurgen Klinsmann, Bayern appointed an experienced head coach with van Gaal adding the German title to the league trophies he had won at Ajax, Barcelona, and AZ.



After finishing as runner-up to team-mate Grafite in 2008-09, Dzeko followed up with another excellent goalscoring season and led the league with 22 goals ahead of Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling (21).




Mario Gomez

Stuttgart to Bayern



Back-to-back defeats for Bayern Munich in March opened up the title race with Schalke hoping to stay ahead of the Bavarians with a win at home just weeks after forcing Louis van Gaal’s side into extra time in the cup. However, two goals in two minutes from Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller saw Bayern win 2-1 and return to the top of the table.

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