Team of the Week – Matchday 19

The wild ride that is the Bundesliga continued with nerve-wracking and memorable moments sprinkled throughout the weekend.  Bayern Munich again made the headlines with their midweek win and Thiago’s late winner against Stuttgart which they followed with an imperious win against Eintracht Frankfurt while Dortmund finally got back to winning ways at Braunschweig, albeit quite laboriously so.  Nürnberg kept the moment from their first win last weekend going with another one against Hertha Berlin while Augsburg’s fine form was kept up as well against a disappointing Werder Bremen.

Goalkeeper

Ralf Fährmann – Unbeaten in their last four league games now, Schalke’s Hinrunde woes look to be put behind them.  The much-discussed goalkeeper issue finally seems to have been laid to bed also with Fährmann given the confidence in the net and he responded brilliantly to it against Wolfsburg.  He made two incredible saves within ten minutes in the first half to keep his team in the game and on course to win it.  Fährmann played like a true No. 1.

Defenders

Felipe Santana – It was the kind of performance Schalke fans were hoping for when the Brazilian signed from rivals Dortmund in the summer. Rotation, injuries and squad uncertainty have prevented him from getting going fully but he had a fantastic outing against Wolfsburg.  Much like his teammate in the goal, Santana was great in the air, won many important duels and scored the important go-ahead goal.

Niklas Süle – At just 18, Süle is one of the most promising young talents in the league.  He has the body of a wrestler but the guile of a midfielder’s touch. He reads the game exceptionally well for his age and locked up a place in the first team since matchday nine.  Against Hamburg he got his second goal of the season and helped shut out their attack almost completely.

Joo-Ho Park – Mainz’s two South Koreans won them the game against Freiburg but Park was the one standout performer on the day.  The left back scored the first goal but was also a constant threat on the left.  His work rate is easy to see and admire but he is also clever in making up space and creating it for his teammates.

Midfielders

Thiago – One man of the match last minute wonder goal match-winning performance against Stuttgart midweek. A record-breaking dominating performance at the weekend.  What else is there to say?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 11 goals in 18 league games is a spectacular return in anyone’s first season, especially more if you consider the fact that he hasn’t been starting regularly under Klopp either.  Aubameyang’s two goals bailed out Dortmund from what could very well have been another disappointing result in Braunschweig.  His pace and knack of being in the right position at the right time (could have had a hatrick were it not for an offside call) serves Dortmund with the additional goal threat they need when Reus and Lewandowski don’t fire on all cylinders.

Mario Götze – By now we should not expect anything less than the extraordinary from young Mario Götze.  With a knack for spectacular goals, movement reminiscent of a certain Lionel Messi and arguably the best supporting cast in world football, Götze has all the tools to become an absolutely elite player. He showed that again in Bayern’s superb performance against Frankfurt where Götze’s excellent first time volley opened the floodgates before serving up another for Arjen Robben.  Simply brilliant.

Andre Hahn – One of the surprise performers of the season did it again.  The quick winger was fantastic against Bremen, assisting and scoring a goal as they continue their ascent in the league in hopes of a European spot.  It will be difficult for Augsburg to hold on to Hahn at this rate but for now they have a player who can change and decide games.

Mike Frantz – The most under the radar performance of the week, Frantz was vital in Nürnberg’s big win in Berlin. To score three goals at Berlin is unheard of this season and to do it while you’re not really controlling the game speaks of how effective the team must have been. Whenever Nürnberg were on the ball they had to make the right plays. Frantz did just that.  He completed 90% of his passes and stopped a lot of Hertha counter attacks.

Forwards

Mario Mandzukic – One week he is left out of the squad completely, the other he comes on and changes the game and follows that up with a great all around performance for arguably the team’s best game of the season.  Say what you want about Mandzukic’s stubborn character but he is a warrior on the field and gives his all for the team.  He set up Bayern’s two first goals and scored another himself. A great foil for the technique of Götze and Thiago and the cunning and speed of Ribery and Robben, Mandzukic is the perfect Pep No. 9.

Mame Biram Diouf – After nearly leaving Hannover for Stoke it seemed as though Diouf’s short lived Bundesliga spell came to an end but a coaching change and player reinforcements meant he ended up staying.  Now Diouf is re-energized and playing brilliantly.  With Rudnevs playing ahead of him Diouf can aid the playmaking from deep positions which he did brilliantly against Wolfsburg last week and again against Gladbach.  Of course, he can score also having a record of a goal every other game in the league.

Honorable Mentions

Dante, Andre Hoffmann, Andreas Beck, Emre Can, Timothy Chandler, Daniel Baier, Tobias Werner, Kevin-Prince BoatengFranck Ribery, Marco Reus, Jefferson Farfan, Halil Altintop, Josip Drmic, Claudio Pizarro, Roberto Firmino, Arjoms Rudnevs, Stefan Kiessling, Daniel Ginczek

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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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