So, Bayern claimed their eighth title in succession with Robert Lewandowski banging in 34 goals and Thomas Müller leading the league with 21 assists. Now we all like a good stat, so here at the Bundesliga Fanatic we’ve taken a look at the other ‘leading performers’ in the German top division to bring you the best players in other areas of the game.
All good teams have that player who is a magnet to the ball, the game moves through them and whose passing dictates the ebb and flow of the match. In terms of pure touches of the ball, the outfield player with the most touches this season is perhaps unsurprisingly Bayern’s pivot Joshua Kimmich, who chalked up 3149 touches this season. Sven Bender followed with 2864 while Achraf Hakimi had 2826.
Kimmich also played the highest number of progressive passes this season (333) with Freiburg’s Christian Günter his nearest challenger with 310. He also played 12 through balls, which was one more than Julian Brandt and two more than teammate Thomas Müller.
The pass master
Moving the ball and keeping possession are key elements in the game, so those players who can spread the ball around accurately are at a premium. We’re not necessarily talking passing for passing’s sake or the Tiki taka of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side, the more accurate your passing, the better you’ll do.
The Bundesliga leader this season in terms of passing accuracy was Axel Witsel, who recorded an overall accuracy of 94.1% which was a slight improvement on last season when he also led the league (93.4%). The Belgian’s medium range passing (between 5 and 25 yards) hit an awesome 96.2% accuracy.
Sven Bender of Leverkusen ranked second for pass accuracy (92.8%) with Nico Elvedi close behind (92.3%).
The hatchet man
This is perhaps an unwanted accolade, but Paderborn’s Klaus Gjasula broke the record of Schalke’s Tomasz Hajto for the total number of yellow cards in one season. The Albanian was booked 17 times this season, but remarkably never saw red.
In terms of raw fouls committed Union Berlin’s Robert Andrich led the way with 66 across the season. Marko Grujić of Hertha fouled 63 times with Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer one behind. What is it about these players from the East? Rather strangely Gjasula didn’t even feature in the top 10 players for fouls committed, showing that perhaps he needs to be more subtle in his approach. There are fouls, and then there are Gjasula fouls.
This pretty much came down to a two-way sprint between Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi, but in the Canadian won out. In Bayern’s matchday 32 clash with Werder, Davies was clocked at a speed of 36.51km/h at one point in the first half as he dominated the left flank.
Hakimi is no slouch though with his top speed this season reaching 36.49km/h. Other notable speed demons include Moussa Diaby (35.95km/h) and Köln’s fullback Kingsley Ehizibue, who reached a top rate of 35.85 km/h.
Nobody in the Bundesliga has been more adept at getting crosses into the box this season that Eintracht Frankfurt’s Filip Kostic. The Serb with the ridiculous six-pack abdomen whipped in a tremendous 383 crosses this season. His nearest rival in terms of delivery from wide was Christian Günter on 279- over 100 fewer!
Kostic provided 11 assists, 79 key passes (ranked 4th in the league) and averages nearly 11 crosses per game. Bas Dost and Andre Silva must love having him out on the left.
Defenders nowadays need to be able to play out from the back, but they also first and foremost need to defend dominate their penalty area. In terms of aerial duels won Schalke centre back Salif Sané is (excuse the pun) head and shoulders above the rest. The Königsblauen defender won 83.3% of his aerial duels and his loss through injury was a huge blow to Schalke in the Rückrunde.
Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer was a colossus in a different way to Sané. He put in the most tackles (99), won the most tackles (59) and made the most pressures (831) in the whole league.
The water carrier
Eric Cantona may have originally meant the term in a derogatory way in describing Didier Deschamps, but the role is a vital one. In terms of total distance, the ball was carried, Bayern’s newly converted centre back David Alaba led the way with a total of 13,998 yards. Looking at progressive distance he led with 7671 yards.
He had over 150 more touches in the defensive third than teammate Jerome Boateng. The wisdom of playing the nominal left back in the centre was a masterstroke from Hansi Flick.
The dribble King
Looking at the percentage of successful dribbles brings up a rather surprising winner with Wolfsburg’s Xaver Schlager topping the Bundesliga with 85.7% of his dribbles being successful. Christoph Kramer was next on 85%. The two players best known for their dribbles did in fact beat the most players.
Jadon Sancho beat 100 opponents this season with a dribble, while Alphonso Davies was one behind. Filip Kostic clearly likes a dribble before he crosses as the Frankfurt wide man beat 88 opponents, and Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby beat 81.
The Duracel bunny
If you played in all 34 Bundesliga matches this season you would have racked up 3060 minutes of action. That figure was achieved by three goalkeepers, namely Lukas Hradecky, Yann Sommer, and Timo Horn.
Of the outfield players Freiburg’s Christian Günter notched up the most minutes with 3029. The 27-year-old started every game but was withdrawn on three occasions by trainer Christian Streich. Bastian Oczipka played 3015 minutes, while Moussa Niakhate, Manuel Neuer, Jiří Pavlenka, and Rafał Gikiewicz all missed just the single game.
No, not the funniest player, but the one brought toff the bench the most. The ‘Free Kutucu’ campaign still has a long way to go as Schalke’s Ahmed made 22 appearances from the bench this season.
In a season where they failed to score enough, where their other options were Guido Burgstaller and Michael Gregortistch (one goal between them) the reasons for putting the youngster on the subs bench so often was baffling.