Bundesliga 2019-20: The best XI of the season so far
- Several players have stood out in the Bundesliga with stellar performances.
- Here's a combined XI featuring the best in each position.
While we aren't going to see Bundesliga (or any other league for that matter) back in action for sometime now, we are at least left with plenty to ponder upon.
Bayern Munich, surprise surprise, are leading once again after 25 games, but face stern challenges from Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig. There's nothing left-field at the other end of the table either, barring Union Berlin who've made a big statement by sitting 11th in the standings.
We also have several players standing out for their respective sides with stellar performances, particularly from Robert Lewandowski and Jadon Sancho. So, why not draw out a combined XI featuring all these players? Here's how the line-up would appear:
Goalkeeper: Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)
Manuel Neuer has undoubtedly been the best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga for many seasons, but that title right now belongs to RB Leipzig shotstopper Peter Gulacsi. His tally of eight clean-sheets may be slightly lower than Neuer's 10, but the Hungarian concedes fewer goals per game and also has a better save percentage than his Bayern Munich counterpart. Gulacsi's solid performances between the sticks has been the driving factor behind the team's joint-best defensive record, and will also be crucial in maintaining Leipzig's title challenge going forward.
Right-back: Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin)
You don't normally expect players from newly promoted sides on a list like this, but Union Berlin's Christopher Trimmel is a worthy inclusion. He has laid nine assists so far, and let me tell you, he's 33! The Austrian international has been a serious threat with his up-field movements and dangerous deliveries, bringing a whole new dimension to Die Eisernen's vanguard. He has switched off in defense at times, but Urs Fischer's side would've been much worse off from the current 11th position without his creative force.
Centre-back: David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
A left-back by trade, David Alaba has been moved more centrally to occupy Alphonso Davies, and turns out the Austrian is equally proficient as a centre-back too. Although he's been deployed in that position before by Pep Guardiola in 2015, his defensive nous have truly come to the fore only this time.
Alaba has been solid, hasn't put a wrong foot forward, has made wonderful tackles, and also shown excellent positioning. His partnership with Jerome Boateng too is sound, as if they've been playing by each other's side for years.
Centre-back: Dayot Upamenaco (RB Leipzig)
Dayot Upamenaco has been at the heart of RB Leipzig's defense for quite sometime now, but you may not have felt that way since he doesn't get as much attention as his prolific attacking cohorts. The French international is quick, powerful, aggressive, and imposing; qualities which have helped Leipzig maintain a solid backline. He's excellent in the air too, winning almost 67% of his duels. Upamenaco is still only 21, and will soon have big clubs come calling for his services.
Left-back: Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)
The Moroccan international has transitioned into a right-sided midfielder now, but we'll just put him back to his original position because he's been just too good to be left out. Achraf Hakimi showed tremendous promise last season, but his new position seems to have unlocked an extra level or two in his game.
He is far more involved in the attack, whilst also showing tremendous dynamism and technique to open up avenues. Hakimi's tally of 15 assists is also the most for a full-back in the Bundesliga.
Right winger: Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
For someone who wasn't even deemed good enough to play for West Brom not long ago, to become a key figure at Bayern Munich reflects phenomenal renaissance. Serge Gnabry has really stepped up to the plate this season, ably complementing Robert Lewandowski in attack. His confidence and free-scoring nature has all the appeal of a player reborn, and he will raise his figures of 11 goals and nine assists much further once he resumes duties.
Central midfielder: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
The Spaniard has been at Bayern Munich for so long that it's easy to forget he's still only 28. Thiago Alcantara has also been the utility man for the Bavarians, playing at whatever position his manager demands, which is a testament to his versatility.
He is technically gifted and possesses enviable dribbling skills, while his ball control is second to none. Alcantara makes Bayern tick with his expert distribution of the ball, and also ranks high in passing accuracy with a 90.8% success rate.
Attacking midfielder: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
Not long ago, the Raumdeuter was written off as his attacking instincts faded and goal involvement declined dramatically. Today, he is amongst the finest in the world again. Thomas Muller has become the creator-in-chief for his side, making assist after assist. His tally presently stands at 16, second only to Kevin De Bruyne in Europe's top five leagues. Muller has also chipped in with six goals, but that's largely secondary considering how much impact he has on the side with his well-times runs, super quick passes, and near-perfect execution. Yet, he remains largely underappreciated and it's a shame that he's been ostracized from Germany's set-up completely.
Left winger: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Ever since he burst onto the scene, Jadon Sancho hasn't looked back. He has continued his sensational run with more goals and assists that have steered Der BVB withing inches of holders Bayern Munich.
Sancho alone has contributed to 44% of Dortmund's goals, which is frankly ridiculous when you remind yourself he's still only 19 years of age! His involvement in 30 goals (14 strikes and 16 assists) is also the highest in the league, and will no doubt be a huge loss for Dortmund should he leave in the summer.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
The peerless Pole hasn't failed to deliver in Bayern colours before, but his stock has gone through the roof this term. No one can hold a candle to Robert Lewandowski's tally of 25 strikes as he has devoured virtually every defense that stood his way. He started the season with a bang, netting in each of the first 11 games - a feat never achieved before in the Bundesliga, and didn't slow down even after that. An unfortunate toe injury robbed him off the last couple of games, but he will surely fire a lot more in once the season resumes.
Striker: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Look beneath Robert Lewandowski's barnstorming run, and you'll find Timo Werner has produced a hot streak of his own. He narrowly trails the Bayern hitman with 21 strikes, and while his accomplishments might have been slightly eclipsed, they have proven to be absolutely crucial to Leipzig's fortunes. The 24-year old's goals have directly contributed to 11 points, the most by any player in the squad, as Die Roten Bullen can plug the gap on the Bavarians if he continues to go all guns blazing.Published 25 Mar 2020, 01:27 IST