Over the years the Bundesliga has become one of the great powerhouses of the footballing world.
With the rise of clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 and Hamburg, comparisons have been drawn the German league and other great domestic leagues such as the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga.
With the Champions League final being made up by two German clubs, it seems a good opportunity to discuss the Bundesliga team of the decade.
Due to their dominance Bayern Munich players have made up the majority of the XI although there are individuals from Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen, among others.
This XI is not necessarily made up of the best players to have been in the Bundesliga over the last decade but, rather the players who have made the biggest impact in the period of 2003-2013. Here is the Bundeliga's greatest XI of the decade:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer | Schalke 04 (2006-11) & Bayern Munich (2011-Present)
Although there is an argument to put Oliver Kahn in this spot, my reasoning is simple. Since 2003 Neuer has simply had a bigger impact than his fellow German, being a pivotal figure in the indomitable Bayern side that won the lot last season.
He also broke Kahn’s record for longest run of clean sheets after going over 1000 minutes without conceding a goal. His reactions and sheer dominance in the penalty area mark him out as a real contender for the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment.
Right-back: Willy Sagnol | Bayern Munich (2000-09)
Many are curious as to why Lahm was not deployed on the right in his early Bayern years and this is predominantly down to the bombarding Sagnol.
With Lahm a certainty to make this squad, this position was particularly difficult to fill due to the lack of longevity noted amongst Bundesliga full-backs. The closest other possibilities were Rafinha and Lukasz Piszczek but they haven’t made quite the same influence of Sagnol, as he is affectionately known by Bavarian fans. He won 10 trophies since 2003 with Bayern Munich, highlighting the bearing he had within his side.
Centre-back: Marcelo Jose Bordon | VfB Stuttgart (1999-2004) & Schalke (2004-10)
The beast from Brazil was one of the most astute singings in recent Bundesliga history, costing only £2m. Whilst at Schalke he formed a formidable partnership with Mladen Krstajic due to his sheer power, commanding leadership and awesome aerial ability, the latter of which helped him to score 25 league goals.
Centre-back: Lucio | Bayer Leverkusen (2001-04) & Bayern Munich (2004-09)
Another Brazilian to make the list, the former Internacional defender was named vice-captain of Bayern Munich following the retirement of Oliver Kahn.
Although Brazil are not renowned for their defensive prowess, Lucio altered that trend with his bruising, no-nonsense style of play. While in Bavaria, he won the treble in 2004 and the double on two other occasions.
Left-back: Philip Lahm | VfB Stuttgart (loan 2003-05) & Bayern Munich (2003-Present)
Easily one of Germany’s greatest ever players, the full-back has cemented his place as the best in the world in his position. Despite his size, he is a monster in the tackle, a great dribbler down either flank and is blessed with a highly tactical footballing brain.
In his time at Bayern Munich he has won 14 trophies total, the majority of which was as captain and he led his team to the Quadruple last season.
Centre-midfield: Diego Ribas | Werder Bremen (2006-09) & Wolfsburg (2010-Present)
The last of the trio of Brazilians to make this XI, Diego has had a harder journey in the Bundesliga than most. Despite this, whenever he is played he runs the show from midfield with his playmaking abilities and impressive bag of tricks.
He has won two German Cups in his time in the Bundesliga. One the most laudable points is that he tried his utmost to remain in the German league, despite disagreements with managers and players alike. He has the ability to play in any league in the world yet has attempted to remain loyal, despite a brief stint in Italy, for which he is to be commended.
Centre-midfield: Torsten Frings | Werder Bremen (1997-02 & 2005-11), Borussia Dortmund (2002-04) and Bayern Munich (2004-05)
One of the most underrated players in German football, Frings has gone about his job in quiet, yet impressive fashion.
Two of his main assets are his brutish tackling and explosive long-range shots. Highly adaptable, his best position is a deep-lying midfielder who makes powerful box-to-box runs. He has won one Bundesliga title and four German Cups in this period.
Centre-midfield: Bastian Schweinsteiger | Bayern Munich (2002-Present)
Although originally a right-midfielder, Schweinsteiger has come into his own as a deep-lying playmaker with his exceptional passing range, ball-control and decisive judgement on the field.
With six Bundesliga titles, 10 German Cups and the Champions League title last year, the German superstar has developed into one of the most graceful players in world football.
Striker: Miroslav Klose | Kaiserlautern (1999-2004), Werder Bremen (2004-07) & Bayern Munich (2007-11)
Klose is one of the stand-out centre-forwards of his generation, with a plethora of goals to his name. The majority of these came from his impressive aerial ability, as can be seen by his record for most goals in a World Cup tournament scored by the head. He was also the top goal-scorer in 2006 for Werder Bremen.
Striker: Stefan Kiessling | FC Nuremberg (2003-06) & Bayer Leverkusen (2006-present)
Over the last few years Kiessling has been one of the most underrated strikers in the Bundesliga. In the last decade he has scored 127 goals in 279 games and earned the Bundesliga Golden Boot last season after netting an impressive 25 goals in 34 appearances. His particular strengths are his tactical awareness, heading ability and, obviously, goal-scoring prowess.
Striker: Mario Gomez | VfB Stuttgart & Bayern Munich
The successor to the German striker’s throne left vacant by Klose is Polish-born Mario Gomez. At only 21 he scored 14 goals, made seven assists and was named German footballer of the Year. This decade he has hit the back of the net 138 times in 213 appearances. The striker’s most impressive asset is his ability to predict where the ball is going to be and positioning himself accordingly.
Oliver Kahn, Lukas Podolski, Michael Ballack, Claudio Pizarro, Roman Weidenfeller, Tim Wiese, Franck Ribery, Dede, Sven Bender.
If you feel that there are any players that I have missed from the XI or honourable mentions then feel free to leave your comments below.
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