As the 2017-18 Bundesliga season enters its final weeks, there are plenty of teams still very much fighting to achieve their season goals whether that be Champions League football, a Europa League place or simply the retention of their Bundesliga place.
Numerous players stepped up to the plate in April to deliver great performances for their respective teams, so just who has got the nod for our Player and Goal of the Month awards for April?
Player of the Month: Pablo De Blasis
They say all good things come in small packages, and in the case of Mainz’ Argentine forward Pablo De Blasis that is very much the case. At just 1m65 he is the smallest player in the Bundesliga, but throughout the month of April he has had one of the biggest impacts as Mainz battle to avoid the dreaded drop into the second tier.
The Nullfünfer picked up seven points from a possible twelve to really keep their survival hopes alive and diminutive forward De Blasis scored four of their six goals in those matches.
When Sandro Schwarz’ men faced Köln in a real relegation six-pointer at the Rhein-Energie Stadion, it was a great header from De Blasis that earned Mainz a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw. He then claimed both goals in the 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Freiburg at the Opel Arena.
His controversial first came from the penalty spot, but only after VAR had forced the players to return from the tunnel after referee Guido Winkmann had already blown for half time. In tough circumstances he kept his nerve to convert the unique spot kick. He added a second later in the game to seal the points.
Then on matchday 32 he opened the scoring (one more via the penalty spot) as Mainz surprisingly beat RB Leipzig 3-0. It has not just been De Blasis’ important goals that have impressed, but his battling attitude and 100% commitment to the cause that have seen him claim this month’s award ahead of players from the ‘bigger’ clubs.
De Blasis is a real ‘Mentalitätsmonster’ as they say in Germany and it is no wonder the Mainz fans absolutely adore him. Should they succeed in their bid to avoid relegation, then De Blasis will shoulder a decent portion of the credit.
Honourable mentions for the Player of the Month award are not in short supply as per usual. Bayern Munich striker Sandro Wagner has more than justified the Bavarians decision to sign as back-up to Robert Lewandowski. The signing from Hoffenheim started all four of Bayern’s matches in April scoring four goals in the process. The able understudy indeed!
Hamburg continue to show they are not ready to go down and Lewis Holtby in particular has been a player deserving of credit. The former Tottenham midfielder scored three important goals in April- all in HSV wins. Thomas Müller has been doing what Thomas Müller does over at Bayern.
At Bayer Leverkusen, both Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz had good months while Schalke veteran Naldo continues to be a Bundesliga legend. In the goalkeeping department Jiri Pavlenka at Werder Bremen is worthy of an honourable mention this month.
Goal of the Month: Naldo
The matchday 30 Revierderby provides the Goal of the Month for April and it is the scourge of Borussia Dortmund Naldo who gets the nod here.
Having popped up back on matchday 13 with a dramatic 94th minute equaliser, the veteran Brazilian centre-back was on hand once more to break Dortmund hearts with the second goal in the Königsblauen’s 2-0 win at the Veltins Arena. With Guido Burgstaller’s goal having given Schalke a 50th minute lead, it was Naldo who stepped up to seal a great win over their Ruhr rivals.
Awarded a free-kick 28 meters from goal after Marcel Schmelzer fouled Weston McKennie, Naldo lined-up the ball and unleashed a thunderbolt that by-passed the BVB wall and flew past Roman Bürki. It was a stunning goal made all the more special by the fact you could literally feel the effort, power and emotion that Naldo put into it.
Watch it and enjoy…
Honourable mentions for the Goal of the Month are once again numerous and there was plenty of competition for ultimate winner Naldo. Aaron Hunt’s 84th minute winner against Schalke on matchday 29 was a rocket of a goal, whose ultimate importance will only be known come the end of the season. On the same matchday Bayern Munich fullback David Alaba unleashed a right-foot curler against Borussia Mönchengladbach that was measured at some 100 km/h.
Matchday 30 saw VfB Stuttgart’s Erik Thommy curl home a sublime effort against Hannover, while the previous weekend saw Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramarić score two absolute beauties- one a volley direct from a corner and the other an audacious lob.
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