January 23, 2017

Team of the Week – Matchday 21

The 21st match day of the 2013/14 saw Bert van Marwijk get the boot, Schalke turned the race for second into a three horse race and Dortmund kept a clean sheet for the first time in 9 matches. Here are the Bundesliga fanatic’s chosen 11!

Goalkeeper:

Ralf Fährmann – Schalke have taken 22 points in the 9 matches in which Fährmann has featured. The keeper has kept 5 clean sheets so far this season and kept out 82% of the shots coming his way(his predecessor Hildebrand has a shot stopping rate of 60%). Leverkusen’s attack produced a number of great chances, but the former Eintracht Frankfurt keeper made life difficult for Die Werkself and played a vital role in Schalke’s 2-1 win.

Defenders:

Dante – The 29-year-old won 75% of his duels, had a passing accuracy of 91% and oh, he scored a brilliant goal with a header.

Martin Stranzl – With the rest of his team struggling the Austrian international provided some security at the back by winning more than 70% of his duels and by making a few vital interceptions whilst Bremen was pushing Gladbach.

Robin Knoche – The youngster did ever so well keeping Adrian Ramos out for the entire match between Wolfsburg and Hertha. Furthermore, he also got the important 1-1 equaliser. A stellar performance by the defender.

Midfielders:

Xherdan Shaqiri – Pep Guardiola decided to change things around, giving some of the players who hadn’t gotten too much playing time a chance. The Swiss international grabbed his chance with both hands, scoring twice in Bayern’s 4-0 demolition of Freiburg.

Roberto Firmino – 10 goals and 8 assists after 20 games is a spectacular record for the Brazilian midfielder. Firmino had another good day at the office against bottom side Stuttgart, setting up two goals and scoring one himself. It’ll be hard for Hoffenheim to keep hold of their Brazilian star next season as well.

Jefferson Farfan – It’s been a good season for Farfan so far, seeing him score 8 goals and assisting 7 goals so far. The Peruvians upswing in form has been one of the reasons for The Royal Blues spectacular form of late. Farfan had another good game against Bayer, setting up 6 shots and assisting Huntelaar’s goal.

Kevin Grosskreutz – Jürgen Klopp has called the Dortmund born utility player one of the most intelligent players in his squad. This time around Grosskreutz was used on the wing and did ever so well, assisting 1 goal and setting up 3 shots. Furthermore, his passing precision of 81% isn’t half bad for a player playing in attack.

Forwards:

Domi Kumbela – The Congolese striker has been placed on the bench by Thorsten Lieberknecht ever since Håvard Nielsen arrived from Red Bull Salzburg. However, Kumbela was a given a chance to play in the second half and showed his coach his goal scoring abilities by scoring three goals. Kumbela is the first player in Braunschweig’s history to score a hat-trick off the bench, and only the seventh in Bundesliga history. The last time a player scored three goals coming off the bench was back on September 25th in 2004, when Miroslav Klose did the same for Werder Bremen against VfL Bochum.

Sven Schipplock – The striker scored a brace for the second time in his Bundesliga career, his second goal was an absolute delight. Enough said.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – 13 goals after 21 match days is an impressive record for a new signing. Aubameyang got Dortmund off to a great start scoring twice within the first 21 minutes of the match.

Honourable mentions:

Ludovic Obraniak, Raphael Wolf, Johannes Geis, Eric Maxim Choupo Moating, Nicolai Müller, Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, Claudio Pizarro, Sejad Salihovic, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Leon Goretzka, Gonzalo Castro, Milos Jojic, Raphael Schäfer, Josip Drmic, Per Ciljan Skjellbred, Daniel Caliguri, Karim Bellarabi, Nuri Sahin, Henrikh Mkhitaryan

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.

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