Team of the Week – Match Day 13

 

Following a lengthy international break the league was back with a bang.  19 goals were scored in Saturday’s five matches, which also saw some pretty incredible results.  In the weekend’s big match, Dortmund got the best of Bayern München for the third time running while this season’s surprise package Mönchengladbach got their biggest win of the season against a lifeless Bremen.  Elsewhere Hamburg got their first home win of the season and escaped the drop zone for the first time in months and Freiburg and Hertha Berlin battled it out to a thrilling conclusion.

Here is our selection of the best of the best of Matchday 13:

Goalkeeper

Jaroslav Drobny – Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is indeed Hamburg’s Czech goalkeeper in our Team of the Week, and for good reason.  Hamburg managed their first win at home since March and even more remarkably, their first clean sheet in 16 matches and Drobny played a big part in making that happen.  The 32-year old made 7 saves, including a fine reflex save against Babel, helping his side move out of the relegation zone for the first since Matchday 1.

Defenders

Papadopolous stood firm against Nürnberg.

Mats Hummels – Gomez, Robben, Müller and Ribery were all anonymous in large part because of Dortmund’s disciplined and thorough defensive performance.  Leading that effort was Dortmund’s “abwehrchef”, Hummels.  Few defenders have been able to keep Gomez at bay this season but Hummels kept him in complete check, never giving him the time or space to move or receive the ball all while winning crucial challenges and just about every aerial ball.

Kyriakos Papadopolous – Just 19 years old but with the build of a veteran boxer, the Greek center back is one of the toughest players to knock off the ball but can also be quite nimble in the tackle.  Against Nürnberg, Papadopolous won 75% of his tackles and had a firm hold on Esswein and Eigler throughout the match all without committing a single foul over 90 minutes.

Jeffrey Bruma – The Dutch center back was Hamburg’s standout defender against Hoffenheim, winning an impressive 15 tackles and ensuring that Ibisevic had a relatively quiet day at the office.  Bruma’s awareness and timing was particularly impressive, making the right challenge at the right time and always looking to build up play. With 38 completed passes, Bruma was Hamburg’s best passer on the day.

Midfielders

The timeless "Brazzo" led Wolfsburg to victory

Hasan Salihamidzic – The last time Salihamidzic scored a brace in the Bundesliga was over 10 years ago.  Back then Wolfsburg had just gotten promoted to the first division for the first time. This is telling of how much can happen in that course of time but also of Salihamidzic’s longevity and quality as a player.  His industrious effort in central midfield and threat in front of goal ensured Wolfsburg got their best win of the season in the derby against Hannover.

Juan Arango – Quite possibly the most underrated player in the Bundesliga this season, the Venezuelan is the league’s assist leader and Gladbach’s primary playmaker.  Arango is key in setting the platform for players like Reus and Hermann and is more of a provider than finisher but he too got on the scoresheet against Bremen with a fantastic half volley. Above all else, his game intelligence and creativity is what distinguishes Arango and what has separated him from most other players this season.

Patrick Hermann – Already labeled the “next Reus”, 19 year old Hermann was involved in three goals against Bremen, scoring the first and setting two others up and had more shots on goal than any other player on the pitch.  His link up play with Arango and Reus and sheer industry against Bremen added to his growing reputation as one of this years breakout young players.

Sven Bender – It is no coincidence that Sven and his brother Lars ran more than any other player this weekend in the Bundesliga, as both are known for their great industry and never say die attitude.  It is Sven who finds himself in our TOTW this time thanks to his outstanding performance against Bayern.  His intense pressing allowed little room for Kroos and Ribery all while having time to initiate his own attacks. It was a complete all around performance from a player whose incredible output does not appear human at times.

Forwards

Reus stole the show against Bremen.

Marco Reus – Prior to the Bremen match, Reus scored 4 goals in 2 matches.  Against Bremen he added a hattrick to make it 7 in 3 games, a remarkable statistic from the league’s hottest player.  Few players play with more confidence and bravado than Reus and when he is on his game, he is virtually unstoppable as Bremen found out first hand. He was rightfully given a standing ovation for what is sure to be one of the season’s best individual performances and his second goal would make Maradona supporters proud.

Martin Harnik – When good things happen for Stuttgart on the pitch it is no exaggeration to state the Austrian is behind most of it.  Harnik was Stuttgart’s match winner against Augbsurg, scoring the first before the break and a world class solo goal shortly after to seal the result.  Harnik’s speed of thought and constant desire to get forward has made him one of the best attackers in the league and invaluable to Stuttgart.

Stefan Reisinger – Freiburg will look to get their goals from anyone they can get that isn’t named Cisse. This weekend the 30 year old Reisinger stepped up and led his side from behind to get a valuable point against Berlin.  His last minute goal came in dramatic fashion but Reisinger was present throughout, scoring two other times (one disallowed) and was the most dangerous player on the pitch.

Coach of the Week

Jürgen Klopp – No other side has managed back to back wins against Bayern in their stadium before so Dortmund’s win was quite significant other than just keeping the title race wide open.  More important though were Klopp’s tactical decisions that set his team up to win.  Taking a more cautious and defensive approach proved to be the perfect formula against Bayern.  His decision to keep his fullbacks further back for example was one of those decisions.

Honorable Mentions

Roman Weidenfeller, Dante, Felipe Santana, Christian Träsch, Marcel Schmelzer, Lukasz Piszczek, Lars Bender, Lewis Holtby, Sidney Sam, Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, Mike Hanke, Klaas Jan Huntelaar

Images courtesy of spox.com

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

9 Comments

  1. Hanke divides people like few others, people either love him or they loathe him and think he is useless. I don’t particularly love him but I can certainly see his value, especially this season. In Favre’s team, no player is unimportant and each serves a certain role, thats why they’re doing so well.

    Hanke is a kind of screen for Reus so his goal scoring is somewhat secondary. I think he, along with Arango, are two of the biggest reasons for Reus’s improved goal scoring. Simply put, Hanke is a nuisance for defenders because he never really stands still despite being Gladbach’s most advanced player. Another thing is his improved defending, never seen Hanke do so much defensive work than this season.

  2. I totally agree with Hummels influence. But as you’re previously stated it’s good to put new names every week as soon as possible. Hummels is arguably one of the best performers of the season, only Ribery can be his competitor, but as for the Brazilian defender it’s a case of playing one of his best lifetime performance. I guess you agree on that perspective.
    btw, I’d like to read your perspective of Mike Hanke’s controversial effect on Gladbach’s success [some rate him so wasteful in front of goal and other praise him for industrious effort]. Long Life for Gladbach!!!

  3. I was originally going to pick both Hummels and Santana but then the whole TOTW would have been Dortmund and Gladbach players. Reason I went with Hummels is because he is the leader of Dortmund’s backline as well as the spiritual leader of the team now. More than anyone, he imposes himself on the game and actually has an immense influence from all the way back, which I find incredible because I can’t think of the last defender to have that influence, perhaps Lucio. Santana did an amazing job of course. I consider him not only the best back up defender in the league but one of the best back ups in Europe.

  4. Given our convincing win against Bremen and the defeat of Bayern, this weekend is my favorite one since the season kicked-off.
    I’m glad to see my favorite Foal’s, Herrmann, at your pick of the week. I think we started to feel less paranoid by the big clubs interest on Reus since we found a suitable replacement. But, in my opinion, Mike Hanke is the underrated player this season. He is behind every goals, attacks for say, against Bremen but still chasing his first goal of the season.
    I’m counting on Kyriakos Papadopolous since he earned a starting berth at Schalke and given his performance one can doubt he is 19.
    Overall it’s a good pick except I would select Santana instead of Hummels for several reasons- He is better than the German international at the night, it’s his second game from the start and you give Hummels a place for several times.
    Keep it up!

  5. There’s nothing like a German commentator yelling ‘Papadopolous!’ And if you think his defending was good this week, you should’ve seen his lovely header last week. Oh wait…. That’s okay – Love Papa!!

  6. I really liked the earlier version of this team, which included heavily coveted young German-Italian Roma Weidenfeller.

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