European Assists King

European Assists King 2020/21: Muller wins again as Kane, Depay & Aspas impress

The Bayern forward has claimed another triumph with the Tottenham striker ending up in a share for second place in the standings.

Thomas Muller has won for a second straight year Thomas Muller has won for a second straight year
 
10:15am on Monday 24th May 2021
By
Martin Macdonald

Thomas Müller has finished with the most assists in Europe's top five leagues for a second straight season, with Harry Kane, Iago Aspas and Memphis Depay among his closest challengers.

Bayern forward Muller moved up to 19 assists for the Bundesliga season by creating a goal for Leroy Sane in the 2-2 draw at Freiburg on May 15.

His latest assist came a week after his side celebrated sealing the Bundesliga title, as Muller scored a goal and set up another in a 6-0 victory over Gladbach.

Those two assists in as many games ensured Muller will be named European Assists King again even though he did not get another to hit 20 as the season finished against Augsburg on Sunday.

It had been quite some time since any of his main rivals made an impact in the standings, meaning it became a comfortable triumph for Muller, who built an insurmountable advantage.

An extraordinary run of eight assists in eight league matches (seven starts) towards the end of the 2020/21 campaign saw him catch, pass and build a comfortable lead over Kane.

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Muller has come out on top when for the first two-thirds of the campaign it was looking like the winner would come from the Premier League.

Tottenham star Kane had been leading for the majority of the season, but paid the price for slowing down of late as a creator.

He had taken himself to 11 assists at the start of January in a match against Leeds.

Kane then played 18 matches and only registered two assists – both in the same game against Crystal Palace on March 7 - before finishing on a high when he set up Gareth Bale in the season-ending win over Leicester, a match in which he also claimed the Golden Boot.

Muller finishes five ahead of him but 23 goals and 14 assists still represents an incredible campaign for Kane.

The Spurs star finishes in a tie for second place with Frankfurt's Filip Kostic, who reached 14 by setting up two goals against Freiburg at the weekend. He has reached double figures in assists for three straight years.

Aspas finishes fourth with an impressive total of 13 assists.

Depay, Ruslan Malinovskiy, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne and Daichi Kamada are in a five-way tie for fifth in our list of the most creative players in Europe with 12 assists.

Nine of the 12 for Atalanta star Malinovskiy have come since March 21 in a remarkable 10-match stint that also included six goals.

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De Bruyne – who was also a contender for much of the campaign – could not launch a late surge to catch Muller.

The Belgium midfielder returned from injury in the Carabao Cup final and assisted the headed winner by Aymeric Laporte, though that did not count in these league-based standings.

De Bruyne had not registered a league assist since the February 27 win over West Ham until he finally got one against Everton on Sunday - so he is in the group to finish seven adrift of the pace set by Muller.

Marcos Llorente, Romelu Lukaku and Jadon Sancho are among those tied on 11 in the European Assists King race.

Sancho set up two goals as Dortmund beat Mainz 3-1 this month. In his last four starts he has four goals and five assists, a run which includes the DFB-Pokal semi-final and final.

Man Utd star Fernandes only had one assist in his last 11 Premier League games until he got one against Fulham last week. He has ended a quiet spell for goal involvements with that assist and other goals in recent top-flight and Europa League contests.

Toni Kroos and Son Heung-min are in the group of players who have 10 assists with the likes of Jack Grealish and Joshua Kimmich.

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It is Aspas - who set up a goal as Celta stunned Barcelona before producing another assist against Real Betis - who tops the charts for most assists in La Liga for 2020/21.

Llorente (11 assists), Kroos (10), Yannick Carrasco (10) and Lionel Messi (nine) were his nearest challengers. Five of the assists for Barcelona forward Messi have come in a flurry since March 6.

But the Barcelona star could not reach double figures for a fourth straight league campaign, not helped by being rested in the last match of the campaign.

Kroos, meanwhile, had two assists in an inspired display for Real Madrid as they drew 2-2 with Sevilla in a thrilling Primera Division contest this month. He ends up one away from his best campaign for assists, which came in 2016/17, having been ruled out of the final weeks of the year.

Former Man Utd winger Depay had two assists against Nice on Sunday, meaning he pulled clear of Dimitri Payet and Zinedine Ferhat (10 assists each) - in the race to be the highest Ligue 1 representative.

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Malinovskyi took the honour in Serie A, one clear of Lukaku.

After getting four assists for Juventus in the month of April, Juan Cuadrado finished up just two behind on 10 along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Lukaku has spent most of the season featuring prominently in the creative charts.

The Inter and Belgium striker has produced best-ever assists return in a league season, moving past double figures by creating goals against Crotone and Roma this month for the newly crowned Italian champions.

For much of the season it was a thrilling race but it was one that became increasingly one-sided as Muller pulled clear of Kane, while Kostic made a strong late surge.

It was the relentless Muller who continued to set the European Assists King pace and he has claimed an impressive victory yet again.

MOST ASSISTS, TOP FIVE LEAGUES 2020/21

2020/21 European Assist Kings

PlayerTeamAssists
Thomas MullerBayern19
Harry KaneTottenham14
Filip KosticFrankfurt14
Iago AspasCelta13
Kevin De BruyneMan City12
Bruno FernandesMan Utd12
Ruslan MalinovskiyAtalanta12
Memphis DepayLyon12
Daichi KamadaFrankfurt12
Jadon SanchoDortmund11
Jonas HofmannGladbach11
Moussa DiabyLeverkusen11
Marcos LlorenteAtletico Madrid11
Romelu LukakuInter11
Jack GrealishAston Villa10
Joshua KimmichBayern10
Raphael GuerreiroDortmund10
Juan CuadradoJuventus10
Zinedine FerhatNimes10
Dimitri PayetMarseille10
Son Heung-minTottenham10
Toni KroosReal Madrid10
Vincenzo GrifoFreiburg10
Henrikh MkhitaryanRoma10
Piotr ZielińskiNapoli10
Yannick CarrascoAtletico Madrid9
Lionel MessiBarcelona9
Leroy SaneBayern9
Jonathan BambaLille9
Borna SosaStuttgart9
Angel Di MariaPSG9
Dani OlmoRB Leipzig9

To calculate the 2020/21 European Assist King, we will focus on the top-five leagues to keep things simple and track which players have provided the most assists in each respective league.

There are no coefficients or scales used - just ranking the most goals created by each player in the top-five leagues condensed into a single table.

Who had the most assists in previous seasons?

2019/20: Thomas Müller, Bayern (21 assists)

2018/19: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (15 assists)

2017/18: Kevin De Bruyne, Man City (16 assists)

Thomas Müller was the European Assists King in 2019/20, as he recorded 21 assists in the Bundesliga.

The Bayern forward only just beat Lionel Messi, who had 20 La Liga assists for Barcelona. Kevin De Bruyne was another to narrowly miss out after he also set up 20 goals and topped the Premier League charts.

Alejandro Gómez – then playing for Atalanta - was top for Serie A with 16, while Angel Di Maria had 14 for PSG in Ligue 1.

The crown for most creative player in Europe in 2018/19 went to Eden Hazard. He had 15 assists for Chelsea, meaning he narrowly beat Jadon Sancho (14) and Ryan Fraser (14) to the award.

De Bruyne had the most assists in Europe during 2017/18. He created 16 goals for his Man City team-mates. Leroy Sane (15), Dimitri Payet (14) and Luis Alberto (14) all narrowly missed out.

What is an assist?

An assist in football is usually credited to the player who plays the final pass or cross before a goal is scored. A player may receive recognition for creating a goal by being awarded an assist even if the pass or touch they have made to set up the goalscorer is unintentional.

There can be slight differences in how assists are recorded and allocated depending on the criteria of each official competition. For example, if a player’s pass towards a goalscorer takes a deflection on its way to the intended target, an assist is often not credited. A player who wins a penalty that is then scored does not usually get an assist either.

As well as a recognised official statistic, assists are often important in fantasy football games and betting markets.

Premier League assists + full stats

Serie A assists + full stats

La Liga assists + full stats

Ligue 1 assists + full stats

Bundesliga assists + full stats

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