[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ayern Munich’s dominance over the Bundesliga continued last season and without perennial challengers Borussia Dortmund as a main rival, other German sides had to step up to the plate.
Wolfsburg, who played some scintillating attacking football on their way to second place, were worthy of the runners-up berth, while serial overachievers Borussia Mönchengladbach ended up in third.
Lucien Favre’s men continue to defy the fact that they are not as wealthy or glamorous as some of German football’s other traditional heavy-hitters, with a third-placed finish more than most of their fans would have been hoping for last term.
The men from Borussia Park had the second most miserly defence after Bayern, while their brand of possession-based football and pressing high up the park was too much to handle for most opponents.
Die Fohlen will embark on a Champions League campaign next term and will hope to fare better than their last outing in the European tournament in 2012-13.
An automatic place in the group stages is guaranteed this time round, nullifying the potential for play-off round elimination, like two years ago at the hands of Dynamo Kyiv.
That Mönchengladbach side that finished fourth in 2011-12 possessed top talent that has since moved on to some of Europe’s best teams such as Marco Reus, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Dante.
This time round, the North Rhine-Westphalian outfit have their fair share of stars but again have lost some of their top performers before stepping out in the Champions League.
The very impressive Christoph Kramer is returning to parent club Bayer Leverkusen after two years at Borussia Park, while Max Kruse has been sold to Wolfsburg.
Although Favre’s men have the remainder of the summer to look for new faces, a couple of exciting attacking talents will be in the contingent next term.
Thorgan Hazard’s time at the club has been made permanent, with high hopes that the young Belgian star can start to emulate the performances of older brother Eden.
However, one deal that has flown under the radar somewhat but has the potential to offer Mönchengladbach an understated attacking asset is the acquisition of Josip Drmić.
Although the Switzerland international’s standing in German football has dropped over the last 12 months, the 22-year-old has all the attributes to offer Die Fohlen a central striker who can score goals consistently.
The former FC Zurich man burst onto the scene with Nürnberg in 2013-14, hitting 17 Bundesliga strikes for the relegated outfit and catching the eye of plenty of visiting scouts.
Arsenal were being linked with making a move for Drmić, with speculation lasting a couple of weeks that the Swiss striker was set to be the latest attacking addition at the Emirates Stadium.
However, it was eventually Bayer Leverkusen that won the race for his signature in a promising deal for the BayArena outfit.
Despite his heroics the season before, Drmić’s sole campaign with Leverkusen was underwhelming to say the least, with the Switzerland international struggling to break into Roger Schmidt’s side.
A paltry five Bundesliga starts prevented Drmić from building momentum, with the 22-year-old restricted to substitute cameos or appearances in cup competitions.
A move to Borussia Park promises to offer the Swiss star more regular action – in fact it looks odds-on that he will be the team’s designated number nine.
Mönchengladbach have been reliant on the goals of Brazilian attacker Raffael over recent years, while Kruse and Patrick Herrmann also made it into double figures last term.
However, unlike at Leverkusen where Drmić was forced to live in the shadow of Stefan Kießling, the new man should get regular game time at a top-four team.
Playing in Europe’s top tournament and harbouring ambitions of repeating their domestic heroics next season will stretch Favre’s ranks in 2015-16 and be a real test of the side’s collective morale.
For Drmić, it is an ideal challenge to show that he has the ability to be a leading centre forward, in what could be a shrewd piece of business by Mönchengladbach.
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