A breath-taking match-week 34 capped off yet another enthralling Bundesliga season filled with stunning goals, improbable saves, and exquisite passes. This was another great year for the youngsters, as a number of them made themselves household names not only across Germany, but throughout the planet, with their incredible performances.
Bayern Munich once again reigned supreme as they won their 8th Bundesliga title in a row. Under Niko Kovac, the Bundesliga season seemed to be going downhill for the Bavarians, but they were rescued heroically by his replacement Hansi Flick, who won the league with multiple games to spare in the end.
In the Bundesliga, Bayern didn't just have the most points, but also the most goals whilst having the best defense. So, it is natural to see this list of top 10 players from the season being dominated by Die Roten.
Having said that, there were quite a few players who impressed despite not winning the Bundesliga title come the end of the campaign. The Bundesliga is famous for being home to stars of tomorrow and there is no better place for young talents in all of Europe than Germany's top division.
Without much ado, let's check out 10 of the best players from the 2019-20 edition of the Bundesliga.
Bundesliga 2019/20: Special Mentions
It is difficult to choose ten players from a Bundesliga season where hundreds have played and impressed. While some have been the shining light of clubs who have had an otherwise gloomy season, others have been the driving force behind their team punching above their weight.
These players hit top gear a bit too late to break into the top 10 Bundesliga players. Regardless, they had amazing Bundesliga seasons that they will recall fondly and proudly, and they deserve recognition for the same.
Here are 10 players who narrowly missed out on the list of top 10 Bundesliga players:
- Kai Havertz - Had a poor Bundesliga season until the winter break, when he decided to turn it around and how!
- Milot Rashica - Werder Bremen's great Bundesliga escape was led by this man.
- Benjamin Pavard - An excellent individual season in the Bundesliga was overshadowed by an even better team effort.
- Achraf Hakimi - Did everything a full-back could possibly do.
- Thorgan Hazard - 20 goals + assists in the Bundesliga speak for themselves.
- Erling Haaland - Entered the Bundesliga fray a little too late to be considered on this list.
- Alassane Plea - Lodged doubled figures in both goals and assists in the Bundesliga.
- Leon Goretzka - Kept the Bundesliga Champions ticking.
- Florian Niederlechner - Added 6 assists to his 13 goals in the Bundesliga.
- Rouwen Hennings - Had the best season of his life at 32, scoring 15 goals in the Bundesliga.
#10 Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Starts : 21
Goals : 5
Assists : 13
Christopher Nkunku joined RB Leipzig from Paris St. Germain as a youngster full of untapped potential. Now, he is a legitimate star.
He finished third in the entire division in assists with 13, despite starting only 21 games. Given that his strongest assets are his quick feet and ability to squeeze his way past defenses, it is really refreshing to see him add that killer final ball to his offensive arsenal.
Playing alongside one of Europe's most potent goal-getters in Timo Werner, Nkunku's job was made that much easier. He averaged 2.3 key passes per game this season, whilst also showing off his dribbling skills with 1.7 of them every game.
He added 5 goals to go with the assists, meaning that he had one direct goal contribution every 107 minutes in the Bundesliga - an excellent return from a man who's still just 22.
With Werner leaving next season, you can imagine Nkunku seeing even more of the ball in the Bundesliga. You can expect a sharp rise in the Frenchman's goal-scoring, even if the assists take a hit.
#9 Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
Starts : 20
Goals : 3
Assists : 0
It is no question that Thiago Alcantara is one of the elite midfielders in world football today. However, his quality cannot be shown with numbers of figures. You simply have to watch him to see how he dictates the play, orchestrating most of the good work Bayern do.
Nonetheless, for a midfielder of his passing caliber, it is a bit of a surprise to see him finish a Bundesliga campaign, albeit one cut short due to injury, with 0 assists and only 3 goals. Yet, he was heralded as perhaps the best midfielder in all of Europe this season after Kevin De Bruyne until he went down injured.
As far as statistics are concerned, Thiago did a little bit of everything from midfield. He averaged 75 passes per game with an accuracy of over 90%. To go with his play-making, he helped his defenders clean up the mess with nearly 2 interceptions and 2 tackles per Bundesliga game as well.
Then again, Thiago remains a player best left to the eyes to decipher.
#8 Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Starts : 32
Goals : 4
Assists : 7
Going from playing as a right-back to a defensive midfielder since the acquisition of Benjamin Pavard, Joshua Kimmich has made the position his own. He's one of the first names on one of the finest teams in Europe today, having started 32 out of a possible 34 games this season. Kimmich started his career in midfield, so it is no surprise to see him thrive there, and has been absolutely majestic this Bundesliga season to say the very least.
He is defensively solid and is also extremely adept at playing the role of a deep lying play-maker. His long-range passing is among the best in the world, and averages nearly 6 of those every game with a high success rate. He also plays well over 2 key passes per game.
The 25-year-old also likes drifting wide, from where he has provided nearly 2 successful crosses per game, a statistic reminiscent of his full-back days. Kimmich also scored 4 goals this Bundesliga season, all from outside the box. In a nutshell, he had a near-flawless campaign.
#7 Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg)
Starts : 30
Goals : 16
Assists : 3
Wolfsburg have always managed to deploy very good target-men to lead the line, right from the days of Edin Dzeko and Grafite to Bas Dost. The newest name on that list is Dutchman Wout Weghorst. Haling from a nation that has produced some of the greatest ever players to play that role, including Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas Jan-Huntelaar, Weghorst is trying to follow in the footsteps of those greats.
Weghorst is quite simply a no-nonsense striker. He is not interested in driving past defenders with dazzling footwork, mainly because he doesn't possess those skills. He likes to keep things simple, yet effective. He is strong as a bull, will give it everything his body permits, and has the intelligence to sniff a chance.
Weghorst's positioning is top draw, as is suggested by the fact that all of his 16 goals this season have been scored from inside the box. The 27-year-old can hold up the ball, bring his teammates into the game with some very decent passing, and most importantly, he knows where the back of the net is. Oh, and a 6'6" long frame helps him use his head to good effect, too.
#6 Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Starts : 24
Goals : 3
Assists : 5
One of the finds of the season, the Bundesliga Young Player of the Year award winner is deservedly a member of the top 10 players list. Aged just 19, Davies is putting up numbers you would expect only from top left-backs in their absolute primes.
Despite playing a defensive position, Davies ranks first in the entire league in successful dribbles attempted with 83. He's also third in the league in successful duels won. He also averaged 2.4 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 1.2 clearances this season. Those numbers are elite for any player, let alone one who is known essentially for his offense.
Davies makes a little over one key pass per game, and registered 5 assists this campaign with an 87% pass success rate. On top of everything already mentioned, he is one of the fastest players in the world, who can come flying in to rescue the day just when the opponent begins to think he has some space to operate in. Yes, he is 19.
#5 Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Starts : 26
Goals : 12
Assists : 10
It is not necessary to have both goals and assists in double figures to be considered as one of the most complete attackers in the world, but it is certainly sufficient. Serge Gnabry is one of the few players in the world who can boast of having that statistic next to his name, but there's more to the rapid German than just that.
Gnabry's dribbling is one of the best among wingers around the globe, and he does so at extreme speeds. He's also made quite a name of himself when it comes to cutting in from the wings and pinging a bullet of a shot into the top corner, out of the reach of the goalkeeper's outstretched arms.
The retirement of Bayern's iconic wing duo of Ribery and Robben might have seemed impossible to replace, but players like Gnabry suggest otherwise. Gnabry is a very intelligent passer for someone who plays out wide, and that quality of his is priceless to Hansi Flick's style of play.
If Bayern manage to snag Leroy Sane - something that has been widely reported as a big possibility - Bayern will have by far the best young wing duo across Europe.
#4 Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Starts : 33
Goals : 28
Assists : 8
36 direct goal contributions in 33 starts is worthy of a top 5 spot for any player in any league. Timo Werner is already one of the best strikers in the world at 24 years of age and his statistics make the £47.70 million transfer fee that Chelsea paid to acquire his services sound like a steal.
He is a man of many talents, and although the goal-scoring tops that list, his pace, dribbling, and passing aren't far behind. He averages 1.6 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per match. He is at his absolute best when paired alongside a second-striker of sorts, which enables Werner to find more space in threatening positions than he would otherwise. It will be interesting to see how his talents are utilized in London.
Werner scored twice in his final league appearance for RB Leipzig to finish with a grand total of 78 goals in 127 games across 4 different seasons - a stunning return for a player who was only 20 when he joined Leipzig.
#3 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Starts : 25
Goals : 17
Assists : 16
You know you are out of this world when you put up numbers only bettered by arguably the best player in the world - Lionel Messi. Such is the quality of Jadon Sancho. Even at the age of 20, he is the only player in Europe's top 5 leagues alongside Lionel Messi to have both goals and assists over 15.
Sancho is putting up numbers we have never seen, or even imagined, a 20-year-old do before. He is one of the best players in the world already and it is fascinating to think what he would be like when he's in his prime. There are no significant weaknesses in the Englishman's game. He can do everything you can expect from a winger, and from an attacking point of view, Sancho is beyond complete.
He ranks third in the league in scoring, with 17 goals to his name - yet, he's not even top 20 when it comes to shots attempted. You just don't expect that kind of efficiency from a player who scores in bulk - not even from Messi or Ronaldo. He is obviously an excellent provider too and can assist in a number of ways, be it a nicely weighted cross or a disguised through ball slicing the opposition defense.
Jadon Sancho is a name that we'll be talking about for years and years to come, and for good reason.
#2 Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
Starts : 26
Goals : 8
Assists : 21
On any other occasion, Sancho would easily have taken at least the second spot. But it is tough to deny a man the highest spot possible when he has just broken a very prominent record.
On the final day of the season, Muller provided Coman with a perfectly cooked through ball and his teammate gladly obliged, scoring the goal that handed the Bayern legend his 21st assist of the season, breaking Kevin De Bruyne's record of 20 set in 2014-15. 21 assists in a league season is a simply ridiculous statistic, especially for a player who doesn't come across as the most elegant passer.
The Raumdeuter, who is known for his ability to be in the right place at the right time and poach goals in good numbers, turned into a provider despite keeping the basics same. He continued to read the game as well as anyone and strayed into spaces where he could be effective - this time as an assistant.
The way Muller has changed his game to continue being a real asset to his team is commendable, and deserves every bit of respect. To go with the record-breaking tally of assists, he scored 8 goals, taking his league tally to 118. A true Bayern legend.
#1 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Starts : 31
Goals : 34
Assists : 4
The Bundesliga Player of the Year is also top of the chart in this list, and to be brutally honest, nobody came close. Robert Lewandowski scored a ridiculous 34 goals this season, and is a strong favourite to win the European Golden Boot among other accolades at the age of 31.
Considered by many to be the best striker in the world currently, Lewandowski won his fifth Bundesliga top goalscorer award this season, beating second placed Timo Werner comfortably. Lewandowski isn't just one of the best strikers of his era, but will surely go down as one of the best ever. People often underrate his other skills like his link-up play and ability to get past defenders, and he averages 1.2 key passes and 1.9 dribbles per game.
The Pole has become one of the best ever players of the fox-in-the-box mould, scoring 33 of his 34 goals from inside the penalty box. He is a master finisher who only needs the ball in his feet inside the box. From that kind of a position, there is a multitude of ways in which he can bag a goal.
The challenge for him, now, is to lead Bayern Munich to the Champions League title. If he manages to fulfil that, there is no reason why he shouldn't win the Ballon d'Or.
Published 28 Jun 2020, 19:43 IST