VAVEL Writers' Bundesliga Team of the Season

Who made the starting eleven and who had to settle for a spot on the bench? We review the Bundesliga's cream of the crop in 2015-16.

VAVEL Writers' Bundesliga Team of the Season
Image credit: VAVEL

As the 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign draws to a close, it's a time of refection and appreciation for what has gone on in the past months.

We have lost Hannover 96 and VfB Stuttgart, gained SC Freiburg and RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt pipped 1. FC Nürnberg in the play-off.

SV Darmstadt 98 and FC Ingolstadt 04 retained their Bundesliga status after promotion, and with time to spare at that.

At the top, Bayern Munich were crowned champions of Germany for a 25th time after fighting off a sustained challenge from Borussia Dortmund.

With that being said, who were the star performers across a campaign that provided plenty of twists and tales? Here are the thoughts of VAVEL's Bundesliga writers.

GK - Timo Horn

Timo Horn's remarkable development seems to be continuing at a rate of knots, and attracting some of Europe's top clubs at the same time. The 1. FC Köln stopper has picked up where he left off last term and has maintained his fine form, winning the Billy Goats plenty of points this season.

Horn has kept eight clean sheets in 33 Bundesliga games and conceded just 40 goals - only the top three can boast a better record. Aside from his fantastic shot-stopping, Horn has a great command of his area and is confident with his feet; at just 23, it's no wonder there is such interest in him. Read more from Dan Pinder, here.

RB - Mitchell Weiser

Arriving in the capital after three seasons on the fringes of Bayern Munich, the pacey wingback soon became a fan favourite and a permanent fixture in Hertha's most successful side in over a decade. Adept at right full back or on either wing, Weiser has only missed five games of Hertha's season and provided five assists and two goals in those he has played.

As Hertha prepare for European football next season following their seventh placed finish, the former Germany Under 21 player has spoken of his determination to add to his already burgeoning trophy cabinet. Having reached the semi-finals of the German Cup, only to fall to Borussia Dortmund, he will be hoping to go even further next season with the club.

Mats Hummels.
Mats Hummels.

CB - Mats Hummels

Dortmund's out-going captain returned to form, and then some, this season. The centre-back has looked back to his best, not only in terms of his influence in BVB's build-up, passing and darts into midfield. Hummels' defensive solidity is back, and has helped lead the club to one of their highest ever points totals.

Even if he may be heading back to Bavaria, the development Hummels has taken means the Westfalen outfit have been able to enjoy what could be his best years as a footballer. The 27-year-old has featured almost 50 times across all competitions for Thomas Tuchel's side, and will be a hard act to follow for whoever replaces him.

CB - Benjamin Hübner

He came up with Ingolstadt with high recommendations after a superb season in the 2. Bundesliga, and Hübner has shown he is more than capable of making the step up. The centre-back was key in helping the Schanzer to a comfortable mid-table finish, and a European place was even in sight until the latter stages of the campaign.

His partnership with Marvin Matip has been the envy of all the teams in the bottom half, and has helped them boast one of the league's best defensive records. A strong and confident header of the ball, as well as being equally strong on the ground, he is a key part of their future.

Marcel Schmelzer.
Marcel Schmelzer.

LB - Marcel Schmelzer

Arguably Thomas Tuchel's most impressive work has been shown in Schmelzer's superbly improved performances. The left-back has always been a steady performer, but he has added a near unstoppable cross to his game. Schmelzer has eight assists this term, and has been a regular threat down his wing.

With Hummels heading to Bayern Munich this summer, it seems like Schmelzer will be the man who is afforded the armband when he does depart. At 28, he will be an important part of Tuchel's future plans as he comes into his prime.

RM - Karim Bellarabi

It has been another superb season for Bellarabi, which has rightly earned him a place in Germany's provisional Euro 2016 squad. The midfielder missed just one Bundesliga game all season, through suspension, and that proved to be the only match he missed through Bayer's 50-game campaign.

Six goals and 11 assists have seen him shine in a side that has had their fair share of impressive performances during the year. Full of pace, tricks and a strong shot to boot, he could be well worth a start in Germany's opening game in France. If not, he is an enviable option off the bench.

DM - Julian Weigl

As far as rises to fame go, Weigl's move from almost-relegated 2. Bundesliga side 1860 Munich to an almost-ever present in Borussia Dortmund's side is nothing short of a Roy of the Rovers' storyline. The youngster has performed beyond anyone's expectations this season and has formed a key part of BVB's midfield.

Weigl has adapted to the Bundesliga brilliantly and does not look out of place in the top tier, regularly putting in a shift that players his senior could only dream of. That has earned him a call-up into Germany's provisional Euro 2016 and, even if he doesn't make the final cut, it has been an incredible 12 months for the 20-year-old.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

AM - Henrikh Mkhitaryan

After the previous season where Mkhitaryan frustrated BVB support with his brilliance on one occasion before passing up the easiest of chances the next, this year has seen him transform. However, the Armenian attacking midfielder has acted like a new signing under Tuchel, and gone on to shine in a campaign full of positives for the new boss.

Mkhitaryan contributed a total of 11 goals and 20 assists in 31 Bundesliga games this term, averaging a scorer point per game. Over the 52 games he played total, he notched up 23 goals and 32 assists; incredible numbers for someone who managed just five goals and seven assists in the year before.

LM - Julian Brandt

Despite having just turned 20, Julian Brandt has enjoyed a real breakthrough season at Bayer Leverkusen. Everyone knows how talented he is, though this year he really shine. In what was becoming an increasingly tough time for the Werkself, Brandt scored in six consecutive games - the first teenager to do so since Dieter Müller.

After an arduous 44-game season - taking him to within seven appearances of his 100th at Bayer - Brandt's late spurt earned him a spot in Joachim Löw's training camp squad for the Euros. With six goals and five assists in his last nine games, he would be one of the form players at the tournament and a great option off the bench.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

ST - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Another one of Tuchel's stars who has thrived with the game time through the middle, Aubameyang's pace in Dortmund's system is a match made in heaven. 25 goals and six assists in 31 games saw him finish second in the race for top goalscorer, yet the Gabonese forward has been the talk of Europe's elite clubs.

Despite the rumours, Aubameyang says he is happy at the Westfalenstadion and his partnership with Tuchel and his BVB team-mates should only get stronger over time. A repeat performance next term has to be the target, as he and Dortmund will look to inch ever closer to toppling Bayern and Lewandowski.

Claudio Pizarro.
Claudio Pizarro.

ST - Claudio Pizarro

When Pizarro arrived on a free in the summer, there was - perhaps - a feeling that it could have been the final stop in his Bundesliga career with mixed opinions about how he would perform. Fast forward to May and the Peruvian's incredible record in the German top flight only got better, helping Bremen retain their status in the Bundesliga.

He rolled back the years with a series of vintage performances, notching up 14 goals and three assists in 28 games. Werder would, undoubtedly, be dead in the water without his finishing abilities and presence on the pitch. He was recently rewarded with another one-year deal, and will be hoping for yet another season of success in front of goal.

Best of the rest

Bernd Leno.
Bernd Leno.

GK - Bernd Leno

Despite enduring a rough and rocky start to the 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign, Leno bounced back in style to help Leverkusen claim third. He kept 13 clean sheets this year, more than every other goalkeeper that doesn't go by the name of Manuel Neuer, and conceded 38 times in the process.

His remarkable run to the end of the season, much like Brandt, saw him included in Germany's provisional Euro 2016 squad. A great shot-stopper and confident in the air, once Manuel Neuer hangs up his gloves then he will be one of the top contenders to take over; this season has only added to that line of thinking.

Aytac Sulu.
Aytac Sulu.

CB - Aytac Sulu

Weigl's rise is a story in itself, but Sulu has marshalled Darmstadt up from the third tier to secure a spot in the Bundesliga. From the drama in Beiefeld and on the final day of last season, there is seldom a moment where a late goal hasn't been key to their success; this year's late win at Hertha was no different.

Sulu has been central to the success. Whether it be putting his body on the line to make that crucial block or organising Darmstadt's defensive shape, the Turkish-German is a staple of their side. A true leader and a centre-half who has scored seven goals this year, he is the embodiment of everything that the Lilies encompass.

David Alaba.
David Alaba.

DM - David Alaba

Arguably the most versatile player in the Bundesliga, Alaba has been used at centre-back, left-back and defensive midfield this term. While his ability to swap positions is superb, the fact that he adds something to the team when he does switch is remarkable; very few players in football can transition with such ease.

Physically excellent and someone who has a remarkable understanding of the game, the Austrian is one of the Bundesliga's most consistent performers and that was on show this year once again. Another spot in the kicker team of the season and an extension signed in March to keep him at Bayern until 2021; all at 23, not bad.

Thomas Müller.
Thomas Müller.

AM - Thomas Müller

While the man below has grabbed the goalscoring headlines at Bayern this season, there is little doubting Thomas Müller's superb record. The enigmatic attacker has found the net 20 times this campaign and has followed that up with five assists; it is somewhat appropriate that Mr. Bayern contributed 25 goals towards their 25th title.

Much like Alaba, it's hard to tie down Müller to an exact position under Guardiola - due to the amount of different roles he ends up playing during the game. Otherwise, he probably would have earned a place in the starting side. Despite that, there is no doubting that, once again, he has shown what a special talent he is.

Robert Lewandowski.
Robert Lewandowski.

ST - Robert Lewandowski

It would be hard to leave the league's top goalscorer out of the team completely, even if he has to settle for a spot on the bench. The Polish striker scored 30 goals this season, which included a stunning five-goal haul against VfL Wolfsburg within nine minutes. He ended up being the first player to hit 30 for the year since 1976-77.

An impressive campaign was capped off with yet another Bundesliga title, and also the DFB-Pokal title - where he scored in the shoot-out. Lewandowski became the first Bayern player to win the Torjagerkanone since Mario Gomez in 2010-11, while also sealing the award - personally - for the second time in three years.