5 players to watch when the Bundesliga resumes
From a Real Madrid loanee to the best scorer of headed goals in Europe, these are the players you should be keeping your eye on this weekend.
Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)
In the second of his two-year loan deal from Real Madrid, Hakimi has been so good that the 13-time European champions must be wondering why they’re allowing him to play for somebody else.
The Moroccan is particularly lethal in attack, flourishing in a right wing-back role that allows him to dovetail with another of Dortmund’s gems, Jadon Sancho.
His speed combined with the accuracy of his delivery has seen him produce 10 assists in 25 Bundesliga appearances this season, while he ranks second to Emre Can for tackles per game in Lucien Favre’s squad, proving his worth at the other end.
Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Kostic has justified Eintracht Frankfurt’s decision to turn down a €40m bid for him from Inter last summer by delivering a season that should see them bank much more in the future.
Strangely, eight of his 12 goals this season have come in the DFB-Pokal and Europa League, but his assists tally in the league (9) is the best of any player outside Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig and he ranks second for key passes in the division.
After scoring six goals in his last seven home games, Frankfurt’s five remaining matches at the Commerzbank-Arena present him with every chance of finishing the season strongly.
Robin Quaison (Mainz)
Quaison is fourth to Robert Lewandowski, Timo Werner and Jadon Sancho in the Bundesliga goalscoring charts, which would be an excellent effort for anybody, but is outstanding for somebody who lines up in midfield for a bottom-half team.
Admittedly, the Swede has taken on a second striker role that requires him to score goals, but his improvement still makes him one of the breakout stars of the season so far.
His intelligent movement and deadly finishing mean that he is capable of playing at a higher level.
Sebastian Andersson (Union Berlin)
Andersson hasn’t looked back since making history as the first player to score a top-flight goal for Union Berlin back in August.
While he is capable technically, his strengths are in his physicality. He has won comfortably more aerial duels than any other player in the Bundesliga this season, and, vitally, has scored six headed goals – the most of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
While Bayern Munich are formidable opponents for Union in their first game back, they have won the second-fewest aerial duels in the division, so Andersson could cause them some problems.
Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Havertz is probably already a £100m player, and were it not for the uncertainty surrounding this summer’s transfer window he would almost certainly be about to embark on his final nine matches for Bayer Leverkusen.
At 1.89m tall, he combines elegance with physicality and will have attracted interest from virtually every leading club in world football.
The 20-year-old ranks in the top 12 for both key passes and dribbles in the Bunesliga so far this season, while his xA tally of 7.75 suggests that he should have had more than five assists.
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