Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga title for the first time in nine years as Jurgen Klopp got the best from his young squad to finish seven points clear of Bayer Leverkusen and 10 above Bayern Munich.
Jupp Heynckes had another successful season with Bayer Leverkusen, resulting in Bayern Munich seeking him out at the end of the campaign to replace Andries Jonker, who took a caretaker role following the dismissal of Louis van Gaal.
Thomas Tuchel’s Mainz also performed above expectations, finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League. Schalke, Wolfsburg, and Borussia Monchengladbach all finished near the bottom of the table, with Gladbach only surviving via the playoff.
Eintracht Frankfurt and St Pauli were not so lucky, and both suffered relegation to 2. Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund brought in young talent, signing Polish centre forward Robert Lewandowski for less than €5 million, while Shinji Kagawa and Moritz Leitner both arrived for less than €500,000 combined. Teenage midfielder Mario Gotze was promoted from the reserves, and finished the season with 11 assists and a call-up to the Germany squad.
Wolfsburg appointed Englishman Steve McClaren as their new head coach, who brought Diego back to the Bundesliga through a €15m transfer with Juventus. Simon Kjaer was a €12m addition from Palermo, while €7m was spent on Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic, who replaced Manchester City bound Edin Dzeko (a €37m sale). Zvjezdan Misimovic had been one of the Wolves’ best performers in recent years, but was allowed join Galatasaray for €8.5m.
Schalke’s main aim during the summer was to strengthen their attack, spending €25m total on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jose Manuel Jurado. Defenders Rafinha and Heiko Westermann were sold to Genoa and Hamburg respectively. Ivan Rakitic was allowed to leave for €2.2m to Sevilla.
Stuttgart’s midfield was plundered as Sami Khedira joined Real Madrid for €14m and Sebastian Rudy moved to Hoffenheim for €4m. TSG added two players based in England: Glyfi Sigurdsson and Ryan Babel, as well as young Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino.
Mesut Ozil also left the Bundesliga for Real Madrid, an €18m sale from Werder Bremen. Santos midfielder Wesley was a €7.5m for Bremen with Marko Arnautovic joining from the Eredivisie.
Bayern Munich failed to defend their title under Van Gaal thanks to a terrible opening period, where they had just two wins from their first eight games. In their absence, Mainz took control of the table thanks to seven wins in their first seven games, but steady performances from Borussia Dortmund saw Klopp’s side take control of the league by matchday 10.
Dortmund topped the table until the end of the season, with young players like Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Sven Bender, and particularly Gotze not feeling the pressure of being league leaders. Gotze’s dynamic playmaking performances gained him national attention, earning him a call-up to the Germany squad, making his debut in November.
Japanese attacking midfielder Kagawa played just 18 Bundesliga games, but was another standout performer in Klopp’s young team, providing eight goals in his maiden season in Germany.
Bayern’s struggles meant that van Gaal was out of a job by April, with Munich lining up Heynckes to return to the club at the end of the season. Heynckes’ Leverkusen were strong again, but finished seven points behind Dortmund in second.
Hannover and Mainz qualified for the Europa League, with top five finishes the best ever performances from both clubs in the Bundesliga. Kaiserslautern had a solid season after returning to the Bundesliga, but the same could not be said of St Pauli, who finished rock bottom.
Eintracht Frankfurt were fourth after 11 games, but fell away in the second half of the season and were relegated as new coach Christoph Daum could not turn things around. Lucien Favre was also appointed late in the season, taking over Borussia Monchengladbach in February and saved the club from relegation by beating Bochum in the playoff.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
Having returned Borussia Dortmund to Europe, Klopp continued to develop the team and added enough young starts to turn BVB into title winners and perennial contenders.
MARIO GOMEZ - 28 GOALS
Bayern Munich’s €30m signing a year earlier, Gomez proved his worth with 28 goals in 32 appearances, finishing six goals clear of Freiburg’s Papiss Cisse.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
NEUER; SUBOTIC, HUMMELS, SCHMELZER; KAGAWA, VIDAL, GOTZE, SAHIN, SCHURRLE; GOMEZ, YA KONAN
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Hoffenheim to Bayern
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Mainz had started the season brilliantly under Tuchel, but were undone on matchday 10 as Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund left town with a 2-0 win and three points. Mario Gotze and BVB top scorer Lucas Barrios netted the goals to put Dortmund top of the table, where they sat for the rest of the season.