Team of the Week – Match Day 14

by Cristian Nyari

 

It was a weekend of derbies in the Bundesliga.  In the biggest of them all, Dortmund took top honors against their Ruhr rivals from Gelsenkirchen in a rather one sided derby and went top of the table while Gladbach too resoundingly defeated a harmless Köln.  Mainz provided the biggest upset of the weekend with their win against Bayern München and Hertha and Leverkusen battled it out in a six goal thriller.

Here is our pick for the best XI of Matchday 14:

 Goalkeeper

Drobny is back in top form.

Jaroslav Drobny – Hamburg’s Czech keeper finds himself in our TOTW once again after his impressive performance against Hannover.  He might not have kept out Schlaudraff’s wonder goal but saved 8 shots on the day including two one on one situations that could have easily resulted in goals.  Suffice to say, Drobny is back to his best and is a big reasons Thorsten Fink remains unbeaten as Hamburg coach.

Defenders

Felipe Santana – Only a backup at Dortmund but good enough to start for virtually every other side in the league, the Brazilian was outstanding in the Ruhr Derby. Santana kept Huntelaar and Raul in check, won all the important challenges and scored his side’s second goal.

Dante – Gladbach’s eccentric Brazilian centerback has improved tremendously under Favre.  Now more refined and polished defensively, Dante has been one of the league’s best defenders this season.  Against Köln he had a match high 108 touches on the ball and cut out every Köln attack while playing a big part in initiating Gladbach’s own forward runs.

Naldo was Bremen's best on the night.

Naldo – Completing our defensive trio of Brazilians is Bremen’s abwehrchef, Naldo.  With Naldo in defense, the difference in Werder’s defense is notable as seen by last week’s 5-0 loss to Gladbach and this week’s 2-0 win against Stuttgart.  Against Stuttgart, Naldo won nearly 90% of all his challenges and almost single handedly kept Pogrebnjak out of the game, the Russian not managing a single shot on goal.  Pizarro’s importance is discussed more but Naldo’s influence cannot be emphasized enough.

Tony Jantschke – Quite possibly the most underrated fullback in the league this year. Jantschke has been a constant in Gladbach’s backline and one of the  most consistent performers in the league.  Always heavily involved going forward and strong defensively, Jantschke did a formidable job against Peszko and Podolski on Friday, winning a match high 20 challenges and made the right side his own.

Midfielders

Robert Lewandowski – The Polish international had to play a different role against Schalke, playing in the hole instead of Kagawa with Barrios starting but that did not interrupt his fine form.  Lewandowski scored the opener and was dangerous throughout.  A goalscorer first but Lewandowski has an innate ability and instinct for passing and link, making him the ideal replacement for Kagawa when need be.  Lewandowski already has more goals in 14 matches than all of last year. (9)

Caligiuri's goal from 28 meters.

Marco Caligiuri – Played at left back at times this season, Caligiuri had a more advanced role against Bayern and performed it beautifully.  Running more than every Bayern player apart from Alaba and with a match high 6 shots on goal, Caligiuri was Mainz’s biggest threat and a thorn in Boateng’s side.  He capped off his performance with a fantastically placed shot from 28 meters.

Andreas Ivanschitz – The Austrian scored the opener and set the tone for his side’s impressive performance for the rest of the match. Playing the dual role of playing in the hole as well as a box to box midfielder, Ivanschitz unsettled Alaba and Gustavo and caused Bayern’s defense nightmares all game long, his run on the first goal being a perfect example of his mercurial performance.

Forwards

Pierre-Michel Lasogga – The 19 year old Hertha striker is continued to make an impression on the league against former club Leverkusen on Saturday, bagging a brace and saving his side an important point with his goal eight minutes from time. His positioning and nose for goal are especially impressive for his age, scoring his 5th and 6th goals in 12 matches in his first season in the Bundesliga.

Eren Derdiyok – Playing second fiddle to Kiessling this season, the Swiss striker has rarely gotten the chance to play from the beginning but after a good performance midweek in Europe Derdiyok earned a chance to prove his quality.  His hattrick against Hertha was exemplary and got Leverkusen back in the match on two occasions, proving what a quality all around player he can be.

Hanke celebrating Gladbach's win over Köln with teammate Reus.

Mike Hanke – Scoring a brace after a 1037 minute drought is often enough to warrant a place in the conversation but Hanke does so much more in Favre’s system, the goals were just the cherry on top of a well executed and thoroughly enjoyable ice cream sundae. His work rate and selflessness is a big reason for Gladbach’s success this season and against Köln Hanke may have played the best match of his Bundesliga career.

Coach of the Week

Thomas Tuchel - After a forgettable campaign so far Tuchel seems to finally have steered his side in the right direction.  Two back to back wins since Matchday 2 has revitalized the club and its prospects for the season. Against Bayern, Tuchel cleverly adjusted his formation, playing a flexible midfield that switched from 3 to 5 players to outrun and outclass Bayern in midfield.

 Honorable Mentions

Lewan Kobiaschwili, Daniel Van Buyten, Jeffrey Bruma, Niko Bungert, Gökhan Töre, Patrick Herrmann, Marco Reus, Toni Kroos, Roman Neustädter

Images courtesy of spox.com

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Author: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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