29 Jan Kimmich, Lewandowski, Bayern Munich dominate Bundesliga midseason awards
As with most elements of each day life, the timing of every thing on this season impacted by the pandemic is just a bit bit off. Historically we hit the Bundesliga winter break proper earlier than Christmas, permitting us to mirror and take inventory on the midway stage, however in 2020-21, there are not any such luxuries. The halfway level fell later than traditional, after the latest midweek fixtures, with no actual time to assemble ideas or to evaluate who has carried out fantastically, and who has room for enchancment — or, “luft nach oben,” (“air upward”) to make use of the German expression.
Talking personally, the absence of journey this time period has had one profit, specifically having the ability to watch video games of their entirety that I might need missed up to now whereas on varied trains and planes. In fact, this is without doubt one of the many wonders of Football4cast+ (the place you’ll be able to stream each Bundesliga match stay).
So the team of the “Hinrunde” — the primary half of the season — relies on having spent extra time than is regular with eyes and ears glued to the Bundesliga. It’s under no circumstances a definitive listing, merely my very own rankings.
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Crew of the “Hinrunde” (4-2-2-2)
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer — Given Bayern Munich’s well-documented defensive issues, you would possibly assume this could be a 12 months to not choose him. Quite the opposite, I’d argue that with out the best keeper on the earth, the “Rekordmeister” (“Document Champions”) would have been even worse off. It is hardly Neuer’s fault that gamers in entrance of him have all underperformed; certainly, they are often grateful Neuer has met his traditional excessive requirements. Overlook his personal run of 11 video games with out a clear sheet, between late October and mid-January, and focus as a substitute on his key interventions on the proper time.
Proper-back: Stefan Lainer — Borussia Monchengladbach’s Austrian full-back is following within the footsteps of his father Leo, who additionally represented his nation in that place. Lainer is on the peak of his powers and has nearly every thing a coach seems to be for in a contemporary participant: tactically sharp, wholly dedicated and infrequently has a nasty sport. The perfect right-back within the league this season.
Centre-back: Matthias Ginter — Staying with Gladbach, Ginter is a defensive chief who’s constantly been underrated all through his profession. He has a no-frills high quality to him, however is the grasp of successful his challenges and outwitting direct opponents. Ginter is constantly a standout. I’ve chosen him over Mats Hummels, who had a nightmare within the final sport of the “Hinrunde” away to Bayer Leverkusen.
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Centre-back: Edmond Tapsoba — Speaking of Bayer 04, Tapsoba’s rise in lower than a 12 months has been meteoric. There’s virtually nothing the 21-year-old does badly in a defensive sense. Assured on the ball and good within the air, Tapsoba seems to be as if he has been taking part in Bundesliga football his total profession. Higher but, the Burkina Faso worldwide goes to get even higher.
Left-back: Angelino — To be honest, RB Leipzig’s tenacious Spaniard is usually used as a left wing-back reasonably than a real left-back in a again 4, however he will get into my team with none hesitancy. Angelino is very harmful going ahead, possessing a real objective risk in addition to a capability to arrange possibilities for his teammates.
Defensive midfield: Joshua Kimmich — This one is straightforward. Nobody interprets or personifies the place higher than the person who has emerged as one of many world’s greatest. It was no coincidence that Bayern’s defensive points in November and December manifested themselves when Kimmich was absent resulting from a meniscus harm. The person who hails from the city of Rottweil, dwelling of the well-known canine, by no means tires of snapping at opponents’ heels and looking out cool and cultured whereas doing it.
Defensive midfield: Marcel Sabitzer — My second Austrian selection and though competitors was fierce on this sector of the pitch, I simply could not discover a approach to omit Leipzig’s beating coronary heart. Technically and tactically very good, Sabitzer retains opponents on their toes, whether or not with a well-timed arcing move or a swerving shot from lengthy vary.
Attacking midfield: Lars Stindl — At 32, the Gladbach captain is taking part in arguably the very best football of his profession. I typically simply spend 5 minutes watching solely him, admiring his motion, his runs and his sport sense. Few gamers dictate the tempo and rhythm of a sport in addition to Stindl. Even now, he may supply one thing to Germany’s nationwide team. He’s the refined part a part of Gladbach’s multifaceted energy assault.
Attacking midfield: Thomas Muller — Bear in mind when Muller’s greatest days had been supposedly behind him? It appears loopy now wanting again, would not it? The “Raumdeuter” (“Interpreter of House”) extraordinaire has cemented his place within the annals of German football as the most effective attacking all-rounders of all time, and his affect at Bayern exhibits no signal of waning.
Ahead: Erling Haaland — Borussia Dortmund’s season has been riddled with errors, however that does not prolong to the Norwegian Participant of the Yr. As with Kimmich at Bayern, Haaland’s spell on the sidelines in December noticed his team droop. At instances, you are feeling it is a matter of simply feeding him the ball contained in the field and letting him discover a method by means of with that educated left foot, virtually figuring out that he’ll rating. At 20, Haaland is already world-class. How good would possibly he be at 25?
Ahead: Robert Lewandowski — I grew up revering the nice Gerd Muller, however Lewandowski is on a tempo to high Muller’s report for targets in a single season: 40, set in 1971-72. I have to admit I doubted it might ever be overwhelmed, and but Lewandowski at 32 appears to enhance with age. His targets are hardly ever mere tap-ins, and there’s a sure pleasure in watching his cold-blooded routine when taking penalties.
MVP: Lewandowski — Once you rating a best-ever 21 “Hinrunde” targets for a team struggling defensively, on the again of being named FIFA World Footballer of the Yr, you deserve this award. No one does it higher than Lewandowski.
Only for enjoyable, listed here are my transfer “tops” and “flops.” Of the preseason arrivals, who has excelled and who has underwhelmed?
Ridle Baku — There wasn’t a lot fanfare in regards to the 22-year-old’s transfer from dwelling metropolis membership Mainz to Wolfsburg two video games into the brand new season, however Baku has impressed on a grand scale taking part in at right-back versus midfield. In truth, I got here inside a whisker of naming him in my team forward of Lainer.
Jude Bellingham — The 17-year-old from the English midlands hasn’t gone to Dortmund simply to watch and study. He is already a frontline midfield contributor, and BVB place confidence in his football and his maturity for one so younger.
Ritsu Doan — There is a long-standing custom of Japanese gamers discovering a house and succeeding within the Bundesliga. Doan, artistic and incisive as attacking midfielders go, makes me sit up and take discover each time I watch Arminia Bielefeld. That they received him on mortgage from PSV Eindhoven is a feather within the cap for membership sporting director Sami Arabi.
Kilian Ludewig — Criticism needs to be tempered right here as Ludewig is just 20, however the FC Salzburg loanee, after a spell at Barnsley, was thrust into the highlight at Schalke and tasked with fixing the right-back drawback in Gelsenkirchen. Sadly, Ludewig’s performances confirmed he is not but prepared for the Bundesliga.
Bouna Sarr — One other right-back, and Bayern thought they had been getting a dependable and skilled one within the former Marseille man. Because it has turned out, Sarr has been restricted to a few uninspiring begins, even whereas the incumbent Benjamin Pavard has been woefully off-form.
Tahith Chong — When Chong joined Werder Bremen on mortgage from Manchester United, I assumed it’d characterize a brand new starting for the undoubtedly gifted then-20-year-old, however he hasn’t performed sufficient in coaching to advantage a daily first-team place. When he has featured below Florian Kohfeldt, the video games have largely handed him by.