For the second year in a row, Borussia Dortmund were crowned Bundesliga champions. Their run in 2011/12 was even more dominant than the previous season: they finished with 81 points from 34 matches. Dortmund added to their remarkable season with a 5-2 win in the German Cup final against Bayern Munich. Their only shortcoming was in the Champions League, where they finished last in their group.
Bayern Munich played second-fiddle to Borussia Dortmund all season long, in both the Bundesliga and the German Cup. But as hosts of the Champions League final, Bayern were determined to at least win that competition in front of their home fans. The Champions League final against Chelsea was decided in a penalty shootout, but Bayern - with Bastian Schweinsteiger, pictured here - came up short.
Germany entered the Euro 2012 as one of the favorites, and after being denied the title at the Euro 2008 and the World Cup 2010 at the hands of Spain, many expected Joachim Löw's team would finally have a breakthrough tournament. But Italy's Mario Balotelli (pictured) dashed Germany's hopes, scoring both of his team's goals in a 2-1 semi-final victory.
Instead of the widely hoped-for Germany-Spain showdown in the final, it was up to Italy to try and knock Spain off their throne as the best team in Europe. The Italians, however, fell quite short. Spain ran circles around an older Italian team, winning the Euro 2012 final by a staggering 4-0 margin and giving them their third-straight title in major international competitions.
Germany's Angelique Kerber had a breakthrough year in 2012. At the end of 2011, she was 32nd on the WTA's world ranking. She's now risen to fifth and won her first two singles titles. Kerber also qualified for the WTA Championships, a tournament that pits the top eight players in the world against each other. Kerber bowed out after losing all three of her round-robin matches.
The London Olympics were one of the highlights of the summer, with organizers praised for putting on visitor-friendly Games that featured a number of sporting highlights. The Games started off with an opening ceremony laden with plenty of British humor, including a clever trick that appeared to show Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium from a helicopter, with James Bond close behind.
German athletes - and the German Olympic Sports Federation - took some heat after the Games for a medal count that fell short of expectations. But Robert Harting, pictured here, was one of the exceptions. He won gold in the discus competition, adding to his world championship golds from 2011 and 2009 and his European championship gold from earlier in 2012.
Harting's win in the discus wasn't completely unexpected, but nearly no one had Jonas Reckermann (pictured left) and Julius Brink on their radar screens to win gold in the beach volleyball competition. The German duo upset Brazilian beach legend Emmanuel Rego and his partner, Alison Cerruti, at one of the London Games' most popular venues, Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace.
British fans' enthusiasm for the Olympics barely abated for the Paralympics, which got underway a few weeks after the Olympics. Stadiums were packed, and Paralympic athletes made front page news. Germany took home 66 medals from the Paralympics, including Katrin Green's (pictured right) bronze medal in the 200m-T44.
Security was a major concern for London Olympic organizers, but the Games went off without a hitch. The same cannot be said for soccer stadiums in Germany, where increasing incidents of violence and fan disruptions led to a number of discussions in 2012 on balancing safety in stadiums with fans' desire to have a lively, unrestrictive football culture.
Heading into the final day of the Ryder Cup, which pits the best American and European golfers against each other in a biennial tournament, the Europeans were up against the wall. But one decisive putt on the 18th green by Germany's Martin Kaymer essentially saved the tournament for the Europeans, allowing them to retain the trophy.
In December's German Athlete of the Year awards ceremony, discus thrower Robert Harting and the men's eight rowing team won in the men's and team categories for their gold medals at the Olympics. In the women's category, retired biathlete Magdalena Neuner (pictured) won the award at the end of her final season for her third overall World Cup title and two World Championship gold medals.
DW's look back at major sports events of 2012