Four Bayern Munich Players Feature in Bundesliga Team of the Week
Round 13 of the Bundesliga saw the top five clubs distance themselves further from the pack, with Leverkusen opening a five-point lead over surprise package Freiburg.
At the top, Bayern maintained their dominance, routing Hannover 5-0 and maintaining a nine-point lead over Dortmund, who moved second in the table. For their stunning victory, four Bayern players have been selected to Team of the Week.
Elsewhere, Freiburg earned a 3-0 win over Stuttgart as they leaped into the nosebleed area of the table, while Leverkusen's 2-1 win against Hoffenheim put the Werkself level on points with Schalke and Frankfurt.
All of the aforementioned winners had at least one player represented in Team of the Week. Read on for the full selection...
Goalkeeper: Fabian Giefer
Round 13 of the Bundesliga was not one for particularly stunning goalkeeping displays, but someone had to be nominated for Team of the Week, and Fabian Giefer did just that.
The 22-year-old and ex-Leverkusen stopper was on good form for Fortuna Duesseldorf in their 2-0 win against Hamburg. He had a relatively easy final half hour but came up aces when needed, making good stops from Marcus Berg and Maximilian Beister in particular.
Defender: Philipp Lahm
The first of many Bayern players to feature in Team of the Week, Lahm put in a captain's performance on the right side of defense as the league leaders trounced Hannover.
The Germany international minded his duties at the back but capitalized on the run of play and bombed forward to support Thomas Mueller on the wing. He played more crosses than any other Bayern player; one such pass assisted Toni Kroos' goal to make it 2-0.
Defender: Pavel Krmas
Freiburg stunned Stuttgart and Bundesliga fans overall on Sunday as they earned a 3-0 win against the Swabians and climbed into sixth place.
Krmas was a candidate for man of the match on the day. The Czech defender not only shut down the Stuttgart attack, but also bundled home a scrappy goal to make the score 2-0 and effectively settle the result with a quarter of the match left to play.
Defender: Timm Klose
Fuerth have not exactly been prolific in attack this season, but Timm Klose's performance in shutting out the promoted side's attack on Saturday is worthy of the highest praise.
The Switzerland international was tested time and time again and, in most every case, managed to win the ball back. At full time, the score still read zero goals to the hosts: Despite their woeful attack and thanks to Klose, Nuernberg earned their point.
Defender: Bastian Oczipka
Sebastian Jung has enjoyed widespread recognition for his performances on the right of the Frankfurt defence this season, but it was Bastian Oczipka who stood out for the high-flying Hesse side on Saturday.
Frankfurt had Oczipka to thank as they held Schalke to a 1-1 draw at the Veltins-Arena on Saturday. The 23-year-old left-back did well to force Jefferson Farfan into wide areas and assisted the visitors' only goal of the match.
Midfielder: Lars Bender
Leverkusen drew level on points with Schalke and Frankfurt following their 2-1 win away to Hoffenheim on Sunday and have Lars Bender to thank for his man-of-the-match performance.
The 23-year-old's pressing and quickness to the ball forced mistakes from the Hoffenheim midfield and made the difference in both of Leverkusen's goals. Early on, he won a header that eventually led to an opening in the hosts' defense, and fired in the opener.
Later, the Germany international won a challenge that caught the Hoffenheim defense out of position, and Daniel Carvajal took advantage as he made it 2-0.
Midfielder: Javi Martinez
Much was expected of Javi Martinez upon his arrival in Munich, but the €40 million man struggled to make an impression initially. In recent matches, and especially since Luiz Gustavo became injured, the Spaniard has improved. And he had his best match as a Bayern player on Saturday.
Martinez scored the all-important opener against Hannover with a spectacular overhead volley. He then settled into his usual defensive role and put on a virtuoso display, both in winning and distributing the ball.
Midfielder: Toni Kroos
With a goal and two assists, Toni Kroos led the way for Bayern in their rout of Hannover. Two of the goals he orchestrated may have come with the result already decided, but the 22-year-old's volleyed strike—a display of flawless technique and precision—was a crucial finish that put the hosts in the driver's seat at 2-0.
Forward: Robbie Kruse
Promoted side Fortuna Duesseldorf stunned Hamburg with a 2-0 victory on Friday, leapfrogging past Hoffenheim and Nuernberg and into 14th place in the Bundesliga table.
Australia international Robbie Kruse was the match winner for the hosts, playing a hand in both of his team's goals. The attacking all-rounder scored on the stroke of halftime, then set up Stefan Reisinger's goal that doubled Duesseldorf's advantage and put the result beyond question.
Forward: Franck Ribery
After disappointing in midweek, Franck Ribery was at his best for Bayern Munich once more in their decimation of Hannover.
The winger scored Bayern's third goal with a cool finish, but his effect was felt in far more ways than one. The Frenchman had more touches of the ball than any other player on the day and constantly drew multiple defenders his way, opening space for his teammates.
His presence was undeniably the driving force behind Bayern's win. As Guenter Netzer asserted in his weekly column for Bild, "more and more, the evidence is showing how important Franck Ribery is for the team" (link is in German).
Forward: Robert Lewandowski
The only Dortmund player selected in Round 13's Team of the Week, Lewandowski maintained his fine run of form by scoring both his side's goals in their 2-1 win away to Mainz.
It took just 11 minutes for the Poland international to net the opener, using the most delicate of touches to score from Marco Reus' cross. He scored a brilliant second goal, taking Maro Goetze's through pass with a marvelous first touch before chipping goalkeeper Christian Wetklo.