Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger- The 2023 Hinrunde Edition

The raw Bundesliga table tells us the positions of the 18 teams, but a deeper dig into the statistics tells us exactly who the key players are for different aspects of the game. Here we bring you the individuals who’ve led their particular fields during the Hinrunde (don’t be surprised to see the growing influence of Xabi Alonso’s hand appear). 

The metronome

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 so far this season is perhaps unsurprisingly Bayer Leverkusen’s midfield pivot Joshua Granit Xhaka, who chalked up 1763 touches in the Hinrunde. Bayern Munich’s Kim Min-jae was second with 1631 while Xhaka’s midfield partner Exequiel Palacios came next on 1471. The new possession style of Xabi Alonso is clearly on show here.

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 about 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 so far this season in terms of passing accuracy is Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah, who recorded an overall accuracy of 94.1%, which was slightly better than Dayot Upamecano (93.5%) and Kim Min-jae (92.8%). 

In terms of key passes Florian Wirtz led the way with 65 passes that led directly to a shot- two more than Bayern’s Leroy Sané. Looking at progressive distance achieved via passing, of the outfield players Kim Min-jae led the way with 9149 yards.

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The hatchet man

This is perhaps an unwanted accolade, but four players racked up six yellow cards in the Hinrunde with Heidenheim’s Eren Dinkci, Mainz’s Dominik Kohr (surprised?), Hoffenheim’s Grischa Prömel and Bochum’s Keven Schlotterbeck all falling foul of the referee half a dozen times. Schlotterbeck however played four fewer matches than his fellow bad boys.

In terms of raw fouls committed Heidenheim’s Tim Kleindienst was the clear leader with 45 across the first half of the season. The next dirtiest players were Timo Hübers (Köln) and Jens Stage (Werder Bremen) both on 29.

The speedster

The Bundesliga is not short of speed merchants, but the player clocked the fastest thus far was Heidenheim’s Eren Dinkci with a top speed measured at 36.41 km/h. Only slightly slower we have Stuttgart’s Silas (36.15 km/h), Union Berlin’s Sheraldo Becker (36.07 km/h) and Alphonso Davies (36.02 km/h). 

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The deliveryman

Nobody in the Bundesliga has been more adept at getting crosses into the box this season than RB Leipzig’s David Raum. The German international fullback whipped in a tremendous 150 crosses so far this season. His nearest rival in terms of delivery from wide was Mönchengladbach’s Franck Honorat with 135.

In terms of assists, Bayern’s Leroy Sané edged it with eight, although there were five players just one behind him on seven- Jan-Niklas Beste, Victor Boniface, Julian Brandt, Xavi Simons and Florian Wirtz. 

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The barrier

Even though goals are where the glory lies, the art of defending is just as valuable to teams looking to shut out dangerous opponents. Bochum’s Brazilian Bernardo made the most tackles in the defensive third with 33 and also led the league for blocks with 36. Timo Hübers of Köln led the way for clearances (87), while Anton Stach was the league leader for interceptions (39). 

The golden gloves

As the last line of defence Leverkusen’s Lukas Hradecky kept the most clean sheets (7), and also the highest save percentage with 80%. In terms of xG, Kölns Marvin Schwäbe had a post-shot xG of 33.4, but conceded only 28 meaning he saved his side 5.4 goals across the Hinrunde. In terms of saves, Augsburg’s Finn Dahmen made the most with 64. 

The water carrier

Eric Cantona may have originally meant the term in a derogatory way in describing Didier Deschamps as a water carrier, but the role is a vital one. In terms of total distance the ball was carried, Stuttgart defender Waldemar Anton led the way with 5408 yards. Looking at progressive distance Nico Schlotterbeck of Borussia Dortmund led with 2969 yards. Kim Min-jae led for touches in the defensive third with 735.

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The Duracell bunny

If you played in all 16 Bundesliga matches this season for the duration, you would have racked up 1440 minutes of action. That figure was achieved by nine goalkeepers, but just two outfield players- Patrick Mainka of Heidenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Willian Pacho. 

Of the other outfield players Bochum’s Bernado missed just one minute subbed out, while Leverkusen’s Alejandro Grimaldo was absent for just seven minutes all season. 

The running man

Injury to Ellyes Skhiri means that for once the Tunisian doesn’t lead the field here. Leverkusen’s Granit Xhaka covered 189.7km, while Heidenheim’s Lennard Maloney wasn’t far behind on 188.9km. Xhaka’s team mate Alejandro Grimaldo was third on 186 km covered down the left side of the Werkself flank.

The highest number of sprints was led by Jeremie Frimpong with 587, while new Wolfsburg midfielder Lovro Majer showed his value with a league high of 1416 intensive runs.

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About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball