The joker, the game changer, the roll of the dice to change the game. Call them what you will but the role of the supersub is an important one in modern football. While they’d all prefer a place in the first XI, they can make quite an impact if introduced at the right time and the right place.
Here we take a look at the 10 Bundesliga players with the most appearances off the bench this season and look at the contribution they made to their respective sides.
Ciro Immobile (24 apps, 15 as sub)
Signed at the start of the season for a reported €19 million, the Italian had a difficult first season at Borussia Dortmund and had to settle for a place as back-up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Scored just three goals for the Schwarzgelben, all of which came when he played from the start.
New BVB coach Thomas Tüchel, though, has stressed that Immobile is part of his plans and will be given a chance to prove himself next season.
Sebastian Rode (23 apps, 15 as sub)
In Bayern’s star-studded midfield it was always going to be a hard ask for Sebastian Rode to nail down a regular starting berth following his move from Eintracht Frankfurt and he made 15 appearances from the bench this season.
One of his two goals this season came against Hoffenheim, where he came off the bench to put the final nail in the coffin of a 4-0 away win. Strangely, his only other Bundesliga goal also came against the Sinsheim club at the Allianz Arena, when he started the game.
Artjoms Rudņevs (22 apps, 15 as sub)
The Latvian striker was largely a bit-part player in HSV’s difficult season and was limited to just seven starts. Combined with 15 cameo appearances he scored just once perhaps justifying his lack of game time for die Rothosen.
That said, he did choose to score his solitary Bundesliga goal this season in the 2-0 Nordderby home win over rivals Werder Bremen in November, which would have really endeared him to the Hamburg fans.
Artur Sobiech (19 app, 15 as sub)
Hannover’s number 9, while wearing the coveted shirt, was far from the first-choice striker for Michael Frontzeck this season, with Jimmy Briand and Spaniard Joselu preferred ahead of him.
The Pole managed just 536 minutes this season, with 15 appearances from the Ersatzbank. Just two goals were chalked up to his account, with one of those coming after being brought on against Hamburg on Matchday 20, a match they would go on to lose 2-1.
Timo Werner (32 apps, 16 as sub)
While he’s made 16 appearances from the bench this season for Stuttgart, there has been more than enough evidence that there is plenty more to come from the young forward.
Half of his 32 appearances came as a substitute and his season’s goal tally was three, with one coming as an impact player from the bench against Bayer Leverkusen to start the comeback from being 3-0 down at half time during their matchday 8 clash at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Ibrahima Traoré (24 apps, 16 as sub)
As die Fohlen enjoyed a great season sealing Champions League qualification, their Guinean midfielder Ibrahima Traoré had to settle for a supporting role in Lucien Favre’s plans. Both his goals came in the final three games of the season, although he did contribute three assists earlier in the campaign.
Caiuby (22 apps, 16 as sub)
The Brazilian’s season was cut short prematurely in due to injury, but prior to that he had largely featured as an impact substitute for FC Augsburg. His sole goal came when he equalized against Bayer Leverkusen on matchday 22 only to be outdone when keeper Marwin Hitz crashed home a 94th minute equalizer of his own.
Sven Schipplock (25 apps, 17 as sub)
Hoffenheim’s 26-year-old striker only managed eight starts for Markus Gisdol’s side this term although he did get on the scoresheet three times. His one goal from the bench came when he scored an 83rd minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Hannover to spoil Michael Frontzeck’s debut in charge of the Red shirts.
Josip Drmić (25 apps, 20 as sub)
The Swiss striker was a sensation the season before last while at Nürnberg banging in 17 goals in 33 matches, but struggled this season at Bayer Leverkusen to oust Karim Bellarabi or Son Heung-min from the first-choice line-up.
He bagged six goals this season with a brace coming against Köln in a 5-1 win after coming on as a second-half replacement for Steffan Kießling. He was linked with a winter transfer away from the BayArena, but remained to prove himself.
Thorgan Hazard (28 apps, 21 as sub)
While brother Eden enjoyed a Premier League winning season with Chelsea, young sibling Thorgan had to settle largely for a place on the bench for Borussia Mönchengladbach. He was the Bundesliga’s most used substitute with 21 appearances from the reserve list.
One goal and seven assists was a reasonable outcome and with the youngster contracted at the Borussia Park until 2020 Gladbach fans will be hoping he develops like his elder brother and moves from a subs role to that of a first-choice starter.
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