Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin top of the class in half-term Bundesliga review

Bundesliga commentator Kevin Hatchard picks out the teams that get an A+ or failed to make the grade at the halfway mark in the German top flight this season.


Bayern Munich (1st, 46 pts)

On course to be top of the class for the fourth season running. Dropped just five points, and racked up stunning 5-1 wins against Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg. Robert Lewandowski, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller all star pupils. Pep Guardiola proving a masterful teacher once again.

Grade: A

Borussia Dortmund (2nd, 38 pts)

Change of tutor made little difference, as Thomas Tuchel worked wonders. Scored more goals than any other team, and played breathtaking football. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the teacher’s pet, with a league-high 18 Bundesliga goals. Unlucky that Bayern are so good.

Grade: A

Hertha Berlin (3rd, 32 pts)

Pál Dárdai has created a team in his own image: reliable, hard-working and disciplined. As a former Hertha pupil, he understands what the institution is all about. Squad depth is a worry, but all departments are currently performing above expectations.

Grade: A

Borussia Mönchengladbach (4th, 29 pts)

André Schubert was a superb supply teacher, revitalising a club that had taken no points from the first five matchdays, and had parted ways with coach Lucien Favre. Schubert went unbeaten in his first 10 Bundesliga games, and his Foals were the only team to beat mighty Bayern Munich.

Grade: B

Bayer Leverkusen (5th, 27 pts)

Maddeningly inconsistent, but wins from the final two games of the Hinrunde papered over the cracks. If it wasn’t for the goals of star performer Javier Hernández, Die Werkself would’ve been in big trouble. Must do better.

Grade: C

Schalke (6th, 27 pts)

Forward Leroy Sané, 19, and midfield tyros Johannes Geis and Leon Goretzka excelled, but their elders didn’t always back them up. New teacher André Breitenreiter has impressively united the group in his first term.

Grade: B-

Wolfsburg (7th, 26 pts)

Head boy Kevin De Bruyne moved to Manchester, and Wolfsburg keenly felt his absence. Strong at home, but dreadful away, scoring a pitiful four goals on the road. Max Kruse, André Schürrle and Julian Draxler will all be on the naughty step if they don’t improve.

Grade: C-

Mainz (8th, 24 pts)

Consistent in their inconsistency, with seven wins and seven defeats, but exceeded overall expectations. Yunus Malli and Japanese import Yoshinori Muto have been top of their class by some distance.

Grade: B

FC Köln (9th, 24 pts)

Flying start which faded somewhat, but still a strong effort. Started the season with noble intentions of playing attacking football, but reverted to type, with home games featuring an average of just 1.4 goals.

Grade: B-

Hamburg (10th, 22 pts)

Hamburg still don’t score enough goals, and still lack consistency, but long-suffering fans must be pleased to see them seven points above the drop zone. Must keep improving.

Grade: C

Ingolstadt (11th, 20 pts)

Have raised eyebrows in their first ever Bundesliga season, staying clear of the relegation scrap. Innovative coach Ralph Hasenhüttl has organised his charges wonderfully, but goal tally of just 11 must improve.

Grade: B+

Augsburg (12th, 19 pts)

The Bavarians seemed to stay on summer holidays for a bit too long, but finally knuckled down. Took 13 points from last five games of the Hinrunde, and qualified for the Europa League’s last 32.

Grade: C

Darmstadt (13th, 18 pts)

Featured many pupils who had failed elsewhere, but still formed an impressive unit. Their style won’t win any beauty contests, but you would have to go some to out-work them.

Grade: B

Eintracht Frankfurt (14th, 17 pts)

Coach Armin Veh should’ve learned the “you should never go back” lesson at Stuttgart, but he’s now pushing his luck with a second spell in Frankfurt. Injuries haven’t helped, but the squad’s morale appears fragile.

Grade: D

Stuttgart (15th, 15 pts)

The Stuttgart school is famous for producing inspirational leaders, but none of them ever seem to coach their first team. Alexander Zorniger lasted just 13 games, and his replacement Jürgen Kramny must fix one of the worst defences in Europe. Another chaotic term.

Grade: F

Werder Bremen (16th, 15 pts)

Former Under-23 coach Viktor Skripnik graduated to the top job last term, and led the northerners out of relegation danger. Now they are right back in the mire. The defence is leaky, and the attack is over-reliant on Anthony Ujah.

Grade: E

Hannover (17th, 14 pts)

Coach Michael Frontzeck failed to inspire his side and has now walked away. The lack of a sporting director over summer wrecked the club’s recruitment drive, and the new intake have all underwhelmed. A failure at all levels.

Grade: F

Hoffenheim (18th, 13 pts)

The biggest underperformers in the league, as Hoffenheim appeared to have done sensible summer business after Roberto Firmino left. Some talented players have really struggled, and accomplished firefighter Huub Stevens faces one of his biggest ever challenges.

Grade: F

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