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Bayern Munich

The case for the three candidates

Ballon d'Or
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Reflecting on an exciting first half of the German Bundesliga season

The ESPN FC crew discuss Borussia Dortmund's domestic struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, finishing 2014 joint-bottom with Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

"2014 was a year that made all our wishes come true," said German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach this week. But the World Cup party from Germany's win this summer couldn't go on forever, of course. Domestically, the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign brought more trouble than festive cheer for all but a handful of clubs.

These were the main storylines of the typically eventful, unpredictable first half of the season after "that night in Rio."

1. Borussia Dortmund come off the rails

No other place to begin...

 By Alex Shaw

European Report Cards: How has your team fared so far this season?

The ESPN FC crew discuss Borussia Dortmund's domestic struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, finishing 2014 joint-bottom with Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

With football across Europe winding down for the winter break, it's time to have a look back at the campaign so far. We asked our ESPN FC bloggers to tackle seven questions on their side. Who's your side's unlikely hero, and who has work to do?

Each team's grade for the season so far is below -- and click on the team name for a comprehensive summary.

Click here for the verdict on all 20 Premier League teams.

LA LIGA:

Atletico Madrid: A-

Barcelona: C+

Real Madrid: A

BUNDESLIGA:

Bayern Munich: A

 By Mark Lovell

Bayern Munich Report Card: The champions' Bundesliga season so far

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti reckons the current Bayern Munich squad may be the best Bundesliga side in history.

With the Bundesliga winding down for the winter break, who has starred for the champions and can Pep Guardiola's team retain their title? Here's a look at how Bayern have fared so far.

Grade: A

Your Season So Far -- In A Sentence

The Bavarian bandwagon shows no signs of slowing with the runaway unbeaten Bundesliga leaders also dominating the so-called Champions League "Group of Death" with five wins from six.

Highlight

Bayern's 7-1 demolition of AS Roma remains etched in the memory. The Reds left...

 By Mark Lovell

Manuel Neuer human, Arjen Robben redeemer for Bayern

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola admitted his side were lucky after Arjen Robben's late goal at Mainz ensured they ended the year with a victory.

Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to 14 points with a last-ditch 2-1 away win in Mainz.

Mainz had the temerity to take the lead but a decimated, yet the defiant Bayern side fought back to seal an eight straight league success.

Bastian Schweinsteiger equalised with a sweet free kick immediately after the Reds went behind midway through the first half.

Just as the game seemed to be drifting to a draw, man-of-the-moment Arjen Robben popped up with a last...

Pep Guardiola's interest in Raheem Sterling may ruin Rodgers' Christmas

ESPN FC analyst Craig Burley breaks down how Liverpool's formation and Manchester United's clinical finishing and goalkeeping led to a 3-nil win for the Red Devils at Old Trafford.
Contract negotiations with Liverpool are underway, but Raheem Sterling's head might be turned by Bayern Munich...

Some people think the festive season is about counting down December's days until Christmas morning, but we all know the real fun begins on Jan. 1 -- keep connected with all the build-up with Transfer Talk...

Bayern shock for Sterling?

There's little Christmas cheer to be had at Liverpool, and what's left is presumably going on Mario Balotelli's next inevitable escapade. Still, Anfield fans will be suitably heartened to learn that Brendan Rodgers is "sure" 20-year-old talisman Raheem Sterling will...

 By Mark Lovell

Robben and Muller secure easy win for Bundesliga leaders Bayern

Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to 12 points with a routine 2-0 home win against Freiburg, a seventh straight league success achieved through headers in each half from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller.

Bayern MunichBayern Munich
SC FreiburgSC Freiburg
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In truth, a home victory was always in the cards, especially against an opponent that had only ever picked up two draws in Munich, the last of which came over 18 years ago.

Before embarking on a well-deserved winter break, Bayern head to Mainz on Friday aiming to set...