Team of the Week – Match Day 14

Matchday 14 extended the status quo in the top half of the standings and featured one of the most goal-ladden and entertaining matches of the season.  Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen all continued their fine starts while Nurnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig continue to struggle.  Hertha Berlin and Augsburg played a rare goalless game and Schalke extended their unbeaten streak to four. Hannover also finally got back to winning ways while Borussia Mönchengladbach won five consecutive league games for the first time under Lucien Favre.

Goalkeeper

Roman Weidenfeller – Last month he was finally and justifiably included in the German national team after consistently displaying that he belongs there.  At the weekend Weidenfeller proved his qualities again in a hard-fought match against Mainz. The veteran goalkeeper made several big saves in a period of intense pressure from Mainz that effectively kept Dortmund in the game.  With performances like this, his inclusion for the World Cup should be a formality.

Defenders

Erik Durm – Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the season.  Young Erik Durm has been a fantastic deputy in the absence of Marcel Schmelzer.  He has even been compared to a young Philipp Lahm. Even more impressive considering he trained as an attacker in his youth.  Against Mainz, Durm won both fouls that led to Dortmund’s opener and the eventual match winner.  He made himself a nuisance down the left all game and showed the kind of energy characteristic of this Dortmund team.

Sejad Salihovic – You typically don’t find Salihovic in defense but the Bosnian filled in there against Werder Bremen and was the standout player on the pitch in their thrilling 4:4 draw.  You won’t find a more reliable and deadly striker of the ball from the penalty spot than Salihovic and he proved that again twice against Bremen, bringing his tally up to six goals this season.

Edgar Prib – Another player out of position but who excelled in his team’s game.  The midfielder also filled in at left back against Eintracht Frankfurt and set up Hannover’s first goal before winning the foul that led to the eventual decider. Prib’s work ethic and direct running was on full display as he put Frankfurt’s defense under constant pressure on the left and linked up beautifully with Huszti in front of him.

Atsuto Uchida – Part of perhaps the best sided pairing of the weekend, Uchida was fantastic on the right with Schalke against Stuttgart.  The Japanese right back took Stuttgart wonder kid Timo Werner completely out of the game and won every crucial tackle there was to win. He linked up well with Farfan in front of him and won 75% of his headed duels.

Midfielders

Arjen Robben – 51 Bundesliga goals already for the midfielder, an astonishing feat managed in just 90 games.  What’s more, Bayern simply don’t lose when Robben starts.  They haven’t in 21 consecutive games now.  Robben scored his 12th brace in his Bundesliga career against Braunschweig.  Another outstanding and match-winning performance from a player that doesn’t get mentioned enough amongst the worlds elite players.

Jefferson Farfan – The Peruvian scored his first brace in his Bundesliga career against Stuttgart.  He hasn’t had the most memorable season to date, partially due to his injury, but Farfan came out with great confidence and reminded everyone that he’s still one of the league’s top players. Schalke are now unbeaten in their last four and up to fifth in the standings and one point off a Champions League spot.

Gonzalo Castro – Last season Castro was one third of Leverkusen’s deadly front three.  This year he is playing a deeper role in midfield and asked to take up some of the playmaking duties. At times he has been disappointing and others terrific. Against Nürnberg he was very much the former.  He set up two of his team’s three goals and helped control the tempo in the middle.

Daniel Caligiuri – It hasn’t been anywhere near the kind of season he had last year with Freiburg but Caligiuri was outstanding against Hamburg.  Competition is much fiercer at Wolfsburg and he faced a lengthy injury layoff at the beginning of the season but he proved against Hamburg that he can make a difference in a game. He was Wolfsburg’s most dangerous attacker and made things happen almost every time he was on the ball.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Aubameyang made a great case for starting more games for Dortmund with his performance against Mainz.  In a sluggish and difficult game, Dortmund needed a player to make the difference and Aubameyang did just that.  His free kick goal was one of the best this season and his clever ball won the penalty that effectively decided the game.  Fantastic from start to finish.

Forwards

Heung-Min Son – 11 wins from their first 14 games, the best record since 2002 and one of the best in club history.  They slipped up in Europe midweek but are flying high in the league and thanks in part to Son who is showing why Leverkusen invested so much in him in the summer.  He scored his sixth brace in his Bundesliga career, had the most shots, won the most duels and was inch perfect with his passing. A terrific all around performance.

Honorable Mentions

Bernd Leno, Marwin Hitz, Ricardo Rodriguez, Johan Djorou, Sokratis, Marcelo, Johannes Geis, Thiago, Javi Martinez, Jermaine Jones, Nuri Sahin, Hakan Calhanoglu, Aaron Hunt, Nils Petersen, Kevin Volland, Jens Hegeler, Julian Draxler, Juan Arango, Raffael, Robert Lewandowski, Stefan Kiessling

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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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