THEY DESERVE MORE ACCOLADES (BUNDESLIGA EDITION)
This article is a function of the fact that there are some players who have performed admirably throughout the season but have not been given the deserved level of attention and accolades. I started with the Italian serie A, then the Spanish La Liga Santander and earlier this week I did the English premier league version. This time around I'm going to take a tour of the German Bundesliga to find out those players who have lit up the league in the course of the season but hasn't been given the required and deserved attention and applause from the media.
DAVID RAUM (HOFFENHEIM)
The 24 year old who caught the Bundesliga side's attention when he lit up 2 Bundesliga last season with greuther fürth, scoring one goal and contributing 15 assists. With numerous Bundesliga sides jostling for his signature, Raum ended up signing on the dotted lines with Hoffenheim. The left back who started his career as a Centre forward, then dropping into midfield before finally settling into defense, is an explosive wing back with an explosive pace and a wicked left foot.
The most proficient left-back in the league, he ended the season with 3 goals and 11 assists to lead his team to 9th on the table. He topped the crosses list with 188 throughout the season to show his nag for driving forward to help out in attack, and his assists numbers ranks 4th, with only Muller, Nkunku and Marko Reus contributing more.
His versatility and ability to play from both left-back and central midfield has led to comparisons with former Bayern star, David Alaba. He also has an eye for a pass, possessing the vision to find his teammates in attacking positions. His performances has finally earned him a call up to the German national team under Hansi Flick. Perhaps during the nations league or after the world cup, he'll eventually get the attention he deserves.
FLORIAN WIRTZ (BAYER LEVERKUSEN)
The Bayer leverkusen teenager contributed a goal or an assist in his first 7 games of the season. As at December 2021, he had become the youngest player in Bundesliga history to make 50 appearances. The attacking midfielder is blessed with a nifty footwork, adept at finding his way out of tight situations. He also has a keen eye for a killer pass.
The midfield sensation's season was brought to an early conclusion in February when he suffered a serious knee injury. He had already amassed 7 goals and 10 assists as at that stage of the season. Who knows what he would have done in the remaining 3 months of the season had he not been ruled out. Let's just hope that the injury doesn't derail his career, as at age 19 he has the footballing world at his feet.
PATRIK SCHICK (BAYER LEVERKUSEN)
Patrik Schick is the effective focal point of the Leverkusen attack. An old school Centre forward, Schick is a fantastic goal poacher who thrives with his back to goal and is also a ruthless finisher. The goal poacher was second only to Robert Lewandowski on the scoring charts with 24 goals, while chipping in with 3 assists.
His effectiveness in front of goal is evident in the fact that his 24 goals were converted from a total of 44 shots on target, that's a goal from every 1.83 shots.
His 24 goals was 30% of all the goals scored by the team in the league. The Czech is tall, quick, great in the air and can score with both feet. At age 26, Schick has his peak years ahead of him and with Lewandowski likely to leave the Bundesliga, perhaps it's his time to take over as the face of the league.
CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU (RB LEIPZIG)
The Bundesliga player of the season, Christopher Nkunku took the league by storm last season. The RB Leipzig attacker is a powerhouse who's physically strong and quick at the same time. A constant menace to opposing defenders. The attacker who can play as a centre forward as well as a secondary striker won 4 Bundesliga player of the months awards during the season.
The France international had a hand in 33 of Leipzig's 71 team goals. That's almost 50% of the team's total goals. He ended the season with 20 goals and 13 assists (10 more than Lewandowski), and was the first player in the league to reach double figures for both categories. As much as he was awarded the player of the season, he was still overshadowed by Lewandowski as the face of the league.
His goals and assists tally also made him the first player since Miroslav Klose in 2005-06 (25 goals, 11 assists) to score 20 or more goals and reach double figures for assists in a single season in the Bundesliga. He also led the league with goals scored directly from carries (9 goals). No other player in the league managed more that 6 goals from such a situation.
His 23.5% convertion rate (Of the 15 players to have attempted 60 or more non-penalty shots ) was bettered only by Patrik Schick (26.1%). It is no surprise that he's attracting interest from some of Europe's elites.
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