March 23, 2017

The Bundesliga’s Three Best Defenders at the Winter Break

The Bundesliga is filled with quality attackers that entertain fans every matchday. From world class forwards like Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to flashy wide players like Arjen Robben, Ousmane Dembele, and Emil Forsberg, the attacking prowess of the Bundesliga is always on display. These elite attackers sometimes make fans forget about the quality defenders in the Bundesliga, as some of the world’s top defenders ply their trade in Germany. Names like Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Benedikt Howedes come to mind, but there have been many star defenders so far this season.

These three have been the best of the bunch:

Benjamin Hubner – TSG Hoffenheim 1899

Benjamin Hubner has been one of many Hoffenheim players to garner praise for their great season thus far, and all of it is deserved. In fact, Hubner has quietly been one of the league’s better defenders since he came into the Bundesliga with FC Ingolstadt. His 7.25 match rating and 5 aerial victories per game last season displayed how solid he was at the back, and his success led to his move to Hoffenheim.

Hubner has been great during his first season for Nagelsmann’s side, as shown by his match rating. His rating sits at 7.47, which is the 10th best mark in the entire Bundesliga and second among defenders. Hubner is also averaging 3 tackles and 4 clearances per match, while he’s intercepting almost 4 passes per match as well. The German is doing it all at the back for Hoffenheim and he’s one of the main reasons why they’ve conceded the 6th fewest goals in the entire Bundesliga.

Beyond his defensive prowess, Hubner also contributed to Hoffenheim’s attack in the Hinrunde. The 27-year-old has two assists this season and he passes at an 87% clip. His work was plain to see on display against Dortmund earlier this year.

His ability to pass the ball and Sule’s passing ability have been vital for Hoffenheim in their buildup this Hinrunde. They’ve helped Hoffenheim score 28 goals, 3rd most in the Bundesliga.

It’s clear that without Hubner’s defensive and offensive contributions, Hoffenheim wouldn’t be right in the mix for Champions League football.

Sead Kolasinac – FC Schalke 04

Even though the Hinrunde, as a whole, was disappointing for Schalke, a couple of players have stood out this season. Sead Kolasinac is one of them, as the Bosnian defender is playing the best football of his career. After starting only 18 games last season and putting up a mediocre match rating of 6.76, Kolasinac’s emergence has been one of the bright spots for the Royal Blues. Without the 23-year-old’s great play, Schalke would’ve had an even harder time recovering from their awful start.

The Bosnian has the highest match rating of any primary defender in the Bundesliga with a mark of 7.51, and his rating is seventh in the entire league, which is quite an accomplishment for a primary backup before this season. His rating has been fueled by his great all-around play, which sees the Bosnian average well over two tackles per game along with the two goals he’s scored this season. Being able to contribute in the attack and defense for Schalke has made Kolasinac an important player for Markus Weinzierl.

Besides his goals and tackles, his passing ability has had a huge impact for Schalke this Hinrunde. He has four assists this season, which leads Schalke and is tied for 8th in the league, which shows that his passing has been top-notch. His four assists also lead all defenders in the Bundesliga, which displays just how impressive the Bosnian has been on the ball. With his goal scoring, passing, and tackling all being top class, Kolasinac has certainly been one of the league’s best at the back.

Mats Hummels – FC Bayern Munich

With a new club, manager, and teammates surrounding Hummels this season at Bayern, it would’ve been reasonable to think that he would have a small dip in his performance, but that hasn’t been the case. The German is world class and he’s played that way once again despite the new situation. With the push from Leipzig and the absence of Jerome Boateng for parts of the season, Hummels has been a crucial player for the Bavarians.

Most Bundesliga fans know about his passing ability. His 89% completion rate is one of the best marks in the Bundesliga. He also averages two successful long balls per game. 

Hummels has won four aerial duels, two tackles, and two clearances per game. He’s also averaging less than one foul per game, which shows his effective disciplined at the back. His stout defending is part of why they’ve conceded the fewest goals in the Bundesliga.

He even chipped in with a crucial goal against Leverkusen. Without Hummels’ defensive and passing prowess—even with all of Bayern’s depth—they might not be atop the league, considering Leipzig’s challenge.

 

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Alex Lynch

Alex a passionate fan of the Bundesliga and German Football who resides in the United States, who also loves writing and talking about the Bundesliga.

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