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Bundesliga 20-21: Ranking the 5 best ball-carriers in the league so far

EDavid Alaba (left) and Mats Hummels (right)
EDavid Alaba (left) and Mats Hummels (right)
Modified 13 Feb 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

The Bundesliga is home to some of the best pressing teams in the world and it is also one of the most European open leagues where goals are scored for fun. Any young attacking player hoping to build confidence considers going to the Bundesliga, which has now become a trend, especially among English talents.

The space available between the lines means ball-carriers have a bigger impact in the Bundesliga than normal, especially on transitions. Due to the high press and the high lines installed by different teams, centre-backs in Germany's top-flight have to act as the team's primary ball-carriers and they end up covering the most distance with the ball at their feet.

Without further ado, here are the best ball-carriers from the Bundesliga, ranked according to their total ball-carrying distance (in meters), recorded by FBref.

#5 Dayot Upamecano (7559)

RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig's engine from the back

Dayot Upamecano is a name that has been resonating all around Europe for quite some time and with good reason. One of the best ball-playing centre-backs in world football, the young Frenchman is pivotal to Julian Naglesmann's three at the back system.

The 22-year-old possesses the technicality of a midfielder and that's somewhat incredible, considering his size. Upamecano can glide with the ball and often finds himself in midfield when RB Leipzig face stubborn low blocks in their Bundesliga matches.

It is safe to say that Bayern Munich's interest in him is warranted.

#4 Manuel Akanji (7583)

Manuel Akanji celebrating
Manuel Akanji celebrating

Manuel Akanji is a highly rated centre-back whose expertise in possession allows him to drive into space without any difficulty. His tall frame makes him less agile but he makes up for it through the use of his pace.

Under Edin Terzic, who loves to deploy the 3-4-3, Akanji operates as a right-sided centre-back, often picking up possession and making driving runs. He hasn't attempted many dribbles (0.4 dribbles completed per game in this season's Bundesliga) and yet, his ball-carrying numbers are so good, indicating how little risk he takes.

The 25-year-old Switzerland international is another among a long host of talented defenders in the Bundesliga.

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Published 13 Feb 2021, 04:51 IST
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