Team of the Week – Match Day 4

Part one of the English week kicked off this weekend and in usual fashion, it did not disappoint.  Eintracht Frankfurt are 4 from 4  while Hannover’s unbeaten run finally came to an end in Hoffenheim.  Bayern again separated themselves from the pack with a convincing win in Schalke and Dortmund’s historic unbeaten run finally came to an end.  Plenty of talking points and excitement along with a string of wonderful individual performances.  Here is the creme of the crop:

Goalkeeper

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – Gladbach vs. Leverkusen pitted the country’s two best young goalkeepers against each other and in the end Ter Stegen came out on top.  Ter Stegen’s command of the box is one of a goalkeeper mature beyond his years and his tremendous close and long range saves off Toprak and Bender before the break and Schürrle and Kadlec later were nothing short of world class.  In the end he almost single handedly earned Gladbach a point against a team they don’t traditionally do so well against.

Defenders

Dante – It did not take long for the Brazilian to establish himself at the heart of Bayern’s defense.  The former Gladbach center back has already arguably become their best defender and a great source of stability at the back.  Against Schalke, Dante was dominant against some of the league’s best attacking players, never flinching or showing signs of nerves as though he had played for Bayern all his life.  Heynckes will have a dilemma on his hands once Alaba returns and Badstuber is an option in the middle again.

Sebastian Jung – The Eintracht Frankfurt right back again impressed in his team’s win at Nürnberg.  He kept Nürnberg dangerman Esswein firmly in check and continuously created good chances down the right.  Dynamic going forward and equally strong defensively, Jung shines bright in a dimly lit environment for fullbacks and is reminiscent of a young Philipp Lahm in his days with Stuttgart.

Daniel Carvajal – The Spaniard has been a great and much needed addition to Leverkusen’s squad and had another impressive outing against Gladbach.  Like Ter Stegen for Gladbach, Carvajal’s performance is partially what separated Leverkusen from getting a point or nothing out of this game.  With great stamina, technique and an impressive job against one of the league’s best players in Arango, Carvajal proved why he is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing campaign so far for die Werkself.

Midfielders

Rafael van der Vaart – The Dutch playmaker returned to Hamburg with great expectations and the burden of lifting the team out of the dark depths of relegation.  While their first win of the campaign may not get them there yet it was a symbolic win in many ways and few players were up for it more than van der Vaart.  The Dutchman ran his socks off and set up two of Hamburg’s goals to give them a historic win and possibly a jumpstart on a new path.

Toni Kroos – Last year Kroos established himself as one of the best and consistent players in the league.  This year his game has grown even more and with a rejuvenated and reformed Bayern.  Kroos has thrived playing with an in form Müller and Mandzukic and has been Bayern’s key playmaker.  More importantly, he seems to be putting his excellent shooting technique to great use, already scoring 3 goals in 4 league matches which took him 26 games to do last year.

Sebastian Rode –  Eintracht Frankfurt’s unsung hero and arguably their most important player, Rode has been at the heart of their great and surprising Bundesliga start.  The 21 year old possesses a great drive and tactical understanding, positioning himself well defensively and knowing where and when to play the ball.  Rode never shies away from a challenge and is on his way to becoming the best newcomer to the league this year.

Takashi Inui – For a second consecutive week the Japanese playmaker stood and continues to impress after making the leap from the second division to the top flight.  Inui’s strong performance in Nürnberg helped Eintracht Frankfurt maintain their unbeaten start.  The midfielder’s technique, vision and availability stood out and his goal showed tremendous skill and execution.  With a few more performances like this it won’t come as a surprise if a few more people outside Germany become familiar with his name.

Forwards

Heung-Min Son – The young South Korean attacker started out last season in fine form before fizzling out along with the rest of his team.  This year he’s hoping to maintain that form throughout and help his side overcome their difficulties and what better start then by ending Dortmund’s historic 31 match unbeaten streak?  Son answered Dortmund’s young talented attack with some youthful exuberance of his own, showing a great willingness to attack and take risks with shots.  In the end it paid off big time.

Ivan Perisic – Dortmund’s winning streak might finally have come to an end with their loss to Hamburg but the Croatian attacker did himself justice after finally being given a start again.  Not only did Perisic score twice for Dortmund but he was involved in many attacks that could have easily swung the tie in their favor was it not for some wasteful finishing from his teammates.

Kevin Volland – Rated as one of the most promising young players in German football, the former 1860 München attacking all rounder was Hoffenheim’s savior this week as his cameo earned them a much needed first win of the season.  And against undefeated Hannover no less.  Just a minute after being brought on Volland set up the go ahead goal and their third in the last minute and showed that, despite underwhelming performances in the first couple of games, he is touted so highly.

Coach of the Week

Markus Babbel – A huge burden was lifted off Babbel’s shoulders this week after their long winless streak.  How to keep a team motivated and make the right changes is the difficult thing in football but somehow Babble managed this week.  His four changes following the calamity in Freiburg last week culminated in their best performance of the season and his substitutions won them the game.

Honorable Mentions

Kevin Trapp, Sven Ulreich, Rene Adler, Fabian Johnson, Heiko Westermann, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Kevin de Bruyne, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben, Nils Petersen

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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

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