Pitchside Europe

German football year in review: Phantom goals, Robben’s knees, Aubameyang magic

German football expert Ian Holyman takes a look at the best and worst of 2013 in the Bundesliga.

Hero

Where once he was worshipped, Mario Goetze returned to Dortmund to face a Yellow Wall of wrath with Bayern in November. Not celebrating his toe-poked opener suggested his class, his ability to perform at all proved his character.

Villain

He could have earned still more sympathy for his Nationalmannschaft claims, but Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling went for short-term gain with his 'Phantomtor' against Hoffenheim, for which the DFB (pictured) got involved. You say 'professional', I say: 'Pure cheating'.

Funniest moment

There's always something satisfying about a goal celebration gone wrong, but Arjen Robben's knee slide after scoring against Braunschweig was doubly funny as he not only bounced back off the dry turf, but ripped his red tights to boot.

Best goal

Juan Arango could win this every season, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's free-kick against Mainz stirred something of the eternal Juninho Pernambucano fan in me.

Best quote

"I've got four kids, I don't care about my looks!" Augsburg's Sascha Molders showing a self-awareness most footballers lack after scoring and breaking his nose against Hoffenheim.

Prediction for 2014

Could this be the year the Dinosaur finally dies? Hamburg can be thankful Braunschweig and Nuremberg are worse than them, but the do-or-die of the relegation play-off could well be this season's 'reward'.

Christmas wish

There can be only one item on the list for Santa from the Rhein-Neckar Arena groundstaff: new nets, please.

By Ian Holyman - on Twitter @ian_holyman