Coming into the Sunday matches of the Bundesliga’s 22nd matchday, the first six matches produced 25 goals, and no game had less than two goals. The Sunday matches added another four to the tally and kept the two goals per game streak going!
It was definitely all about shots, and with that in mind let’s get straight to the Team of the Week!
my team of the week article for @Bundesliga4u
"Bayern are good"
I'm out! pic.twitter.com/WTEO3KkutO
— BundesPremierLeague (@BundesPL) February 27, 2017
Oops, just kidding, but that really could’ve been a legit team, that’s how excellent Bayern were this weekend. All kidding aside, here is the actual Team of the Week:
Felix Wiedwald – Bremen must’ve read last week’s piece where we picked him and it encouraged him to make four saves in the first half!
Wolfsburg did the rest in the second half, failing to hit the target on all their attempts on their way to 17 shots off target!
Wiedwald also made four clearances in the game, a number that would put some defenders to shame.
Speaking of clearances, Werder ended the match with 48, which is significant, because they average 24.4 per game which puts them second behind Augsburg’s 24.7!
Robert Bauer had eleven of those at left back, and he also won eleven duels out of twelve alongside six interceptions. Yeah, it’s probably not ideal in the long term if the ball spends 41% of the match in Werder’s third (with 46% in the middle third and just 13% in Wolfsburg’s third), but for one match Bauer and Werder got away thanks to some heroic defending and VfL’s terrible accuracy. We’re featuring him at RB, because he wasn’t the best LB on the matchday and because he’s played there often for Ingolstadt last season.
Mainz’s Stefan Bell didn’t want to be left out of the CLEARANCE party and chipped in fourteen of his own (nearly tripling his 4.9 per match average) alongside another goal. It was the fourth of the season for the CB, which now ties him for the team lead (since Yunus Malli has taken his goals to Wolfsburg) with a few others, and it also means that he has scored half of his career Bundesliga goals this year.
Jannik Vestergaard ruled supreme in the air for Gladbach in an ugly game versus Ingolstadt, finishing the game with ten aerials won. He also filled the stat sheet in other ways: four tackles and interceptions won, nine clearances, 17 of 22 duels won. However, perhaps the most intriguing stat for the Dane was passes attempted. Long-time readers may remember that Vestergaard famously attempted 92 passes in 45 minutes in a match vs Schalke in the Hinrunde under Andre Schubert. Well on Sunday, the difference in coaching philosophies between Schubert and Hecking was evident as Vestergaard had just 30 pass attempts in 90 minutes! The team attempted 228 of its 414 passes (55%) on Sunday versus Ingolstadt, versus a staggering 372 of 804 (46%) in the 4-0 loss to Schalke on October 2nd. I may criticize Hecking a non-zero amount, but give him credit for trying to fix this “passing the ball around by the CBs” nonsense!
David Alaba – Bayern is probably the best left back and not just in the Bundesliga. The Austrian completed 96% of his 83 pass attempts. More importantly, a whopping 39 of those went to Douglas Costa and that combo was the 4th most popular one on the matchday, a staggering feat, since pass combos are almost always dominated by CBs (Kevin Vogt and Benni Hübner won with 49 this week). You can see from this InStat map just how close Alaba (27) and Costa (11) were to each other for most of the game, a tactic that gave Gotuku Sakai fits all game.
Those numbers are all the more impressive when you consider that Bayern ran 47% of their plays on the right side, where Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben wreaked havoc.
Alaba also scored an excellent goal, won all three of his aerial duels, went three for three on dribbles and six of eight on duels overall.
Arjen Robben had easily his best game of the season against HSV this Saturday. 85 touches, 54 of 59 on passes, including 26 of 31 in the attacking third!
Also, he won eleven of his 17 duels, completed nine of his eleven dribbles and three of his four shots were on target and course he had a goal and assist. He connected with Thiago eleven times and Philipp Lahm 18 times.
All of that led to eight goals from TWELVE shots on target! I also think it broke 11tegen11’s XG map.
Gonzalo Castro was the man for Dortmund once again, as he so often is against less than top quality opposition. Seriously, check out his list of fixtures on Whoscored and look at his contributions. The veteran playmaker went off against Freiburg, attempting 107 passes and completing 94 of them, as he and Julian Weigl took over the middle.
Weigl to Castro and vice versa accounted for 39 pass combos on Saturday, and with Mario Götze falling out for an extended period of time, Shinji Kagawa not really being an option anymore, Castro should get plenty of opportunities to nail down a consistent spot in the Tuchel starting XI. He also should be safe from this week’s toughest omission in Raphael Guerreiro, who had a monster game at LWB and Christian Pulisic, whose form has dipped lately, while André Schürrle is more of a backup striker option these days, so it is his job to lose.
Ousmane Dembélé has nothing to lose for Dortmund anymore ever since his conversion from occasionally terrorizing, but erratic winger to a deadly 8\10 hybrid that is destroying opposing players like Hot Sauce on the And1 mixtape tour. Dembouz finished nine for twelve on dribbles and four of seven on key passes with most of those coming in the final third.
The astounding news isn’t that he went 9\12 on dribbles, it’s that per InStat this was a below average match for him, as the site credits him for 10 successful dribbles on 16 attempts ON AVERAGE!!
Naby Keita has obviously reaped heaps of praise already for RB Leipzig, but the Guinean still probably doesn’t get enough credit for his passing and vision. He led all players on MD 22 on key pass attempts with nine and he also went five of seven on dribbles.
Just for fun, Keita added six successful tackles as well. Cologne were held to just five shots and an XG of 0.65, the second worst output of the season for the Billy Goats.
Robert Lewandowski took mercy on HSV, as he scored just a hat-trick on 27 touches and was subbed off after 56 minutes. He arguably could’ve had four or five, if not for a bit of bad luck and a good save from Rene Adler. Perhaps HSV would be wise to employ either one of the following strategies: 1. keep Lewy from taking six shots in the penalty area by 2. not marking him with Johan Djourou.
Lewy is now up to 19 goals on the year, as he and Arjen Robben continue to rip past the XG metrics of Alex Rathke!
Expected goals is Thomas Müller‘s greatest ally, as we know that actual goals have been his enemy this season so far. The Bayern Raumdeuter put in a slumpbuster performance against the friendly “defense” of Hamburg with seven key pass attempts and two assists with five chances created.
Apologies to Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg, Tony Jantschke, Yann Sommer, Lamine Sane, Sebastian Rudy, Kerem Demirbay, Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, P-E Aubameyang (the tap-in maestro), Arturo Vidal and Dominik Kohr, but we only have room for eleven.