With a title race rumbling on between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, the battle for the top four spots offering big showdowns every weekend and the bottom four clubs seemingly trying to outdo one another in imploding in the most spectacular fashion, there's certainly plenty to talk about in the Bundesliga right now.
Yet on this week's Bundesliga round-up we're going to take a closer look at three players that are having a significant impact on their respective teams.
Goretzka keeps getting better and better
For at least the second league game in a row, Bayern Munich were well and truly reliant on the outstanding performances of Leon Goretzka. As we saw in the Eintracht Frankfurt game, when the German international was introduced at half time, Goretzka added an extra dimension to Bayern’s game and it was again perfectly evident on Saturday when he assisted three of the five goals Hansi Flick’s side scored on the day.
Indeed, while most of the Bayern squad are straining under a gruelling season with no respite, Goretzka has not only maintained his superb form from last season but in many ways improved upon it.
Last season the central midfielder averaged 0.25 assists per 90 minutes of Bundesliga football, but this time around that number has jumped up to 0.37. A large part of that will be down to the fact that Goretzka has improved his rate of passes into the final third per game from 5.68 last season to 7.13 in this current campaign. And if that isn’t impressive enough, he’s also improved the accuracy of his intricate passes from a success rate of 77% last term to 86% this season.
Crucially, the 26-year-old midfielder hasn’t had to sacrifice any of his defensive tendencies to improve his attacking output. The midfielder is currently sixth among the Bundesliga’s midfielders when it comes to interceptions per game, with his own average actually improving from 4.1 to around five per 90.
In other words, having already established himself as one of the world’s best box-to-box midfielders, it seems as though Goretzka isn’t content with his success to date and is intent on getting even better.
Guerreiro is Dortmund’s underrated star
Much of Borussia Dortmund’s season has been defined by how well Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland are doing. If they’re on form, Dortmund win. If they’re not, Dortmund lose. I suggested as much last week.
However, one player that has flown under the radar by most accounts is Raphael Guerreiro. Not only has the Portuguese talent been extremely useful for his versatility in moving between left-back, left wing and central midfield, but he’s also proved to be one of Dortmund’s most important playmakers too.
For example, no player in the Bundesliga has completed more “big chances” this season than Guerreiro and with eight assists to his name the only Dortmund player that can lay claim to creating more goals in black and yellow this season is Sancho. Which is remarkable when you consider that while Sancho has been playing in the final third for the entirety of the campaign, his Portuguese teammate has often had to play in defence or as a defensive midfielder for large parts of the season.
Haaland and Sancho are undoubtedly the stars of this Dortmund team. Marco Reus and Mats Hummels are the senior leaders. But at the real fire in the engine room of this side is Guerreiro and it’s often the wing-back’s tenacity and skill on the ball that keeps things ticking over each week.
Rashica is beginning to shine for Bremen
Although he didn’t score either of Werder Bemen’s goals Milot Rashica was undoubtedly one of Florian Kohfeldt’s best players in the unexpected 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.
The Kosovan midfielder was the source of Bremen’s best chances in the first half, with a free-kick on target in the 26th minute and a curled shot that smacked off the crossbar just eight minutes later. Then, just two minutes into the second half Rashica played a wonderful through ball into the path of Theodor Gebre Selassie to level the score.
If it seems as though Rashica is coming into the rich vein of form then that’s because he is. Although Kosovan is still searching for his first goal since June, his xG over the last 10 matches has undoubtedly been ticking upwards and suggests the forward is due a goal or two if he can keep up these impressive performances.
Only Alphonso Davies completed more dribbles in the Bundesliga than Rashica at the weekend. Following the postponement of their DFB Pokal clash, Bremen now have vital “six-pointers” against FC Köln and Arminia Bielefeld. And if Rashica can continue his improved form then he may be able to make a huge difference in both games and help put some real distance between themselves and that relegation play-off spot.
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