Outside 90s Ari Papas selects the best performers from the latest round of Bundesliga action for our matchday 16 Team of the Week.
Manuel Neuer – Goalkeeper – Bayern Munich
Bayern had a routine 2-0 win over newly-promoted Ingolstadt, but do not let the scoreline fool you – Bayern were on the ropes for a significant part of the game. Manuel Neuer was called upon more times than Pep Guardiola would have liked, forced into five extremely important saves. In a poor first half from the home side, Ingolstadt found themselves in front of goal a number of times but were thwarted every time by a last-minute touch from the German number one.
Marvin Plattenhardt – Left-back – Hertha Berlin
Marvin Plattenhardt found himself on the scoresheet again for Hertha as they dismantled Darmstadt 4-0. The 23-year-old has been an outstanding performer in recent weeks and he put Hertha in pole position for three points after blasting a free kick past the Darmstadt goalkeeper. The German’s influence up and down the left-flank is undeniable, gelling attacking and defensive manoeuvres. Hertha find themselves in the unlikely position of third and more performances like this could see them stay near a European spot.
Mats Hummels – Central-defender – Borussia Dortmund
Mats Hummels has endured a tough time recently, putting in average performances and receiving plenty of criticisms from the media. The German defender put his woes behind him and returned to the Dortmund lineup as his usual self against Frankfurt in a 4-1 victory. The 26-year-old was outstanding throughout the game. Frankfurt sat back as he was allowed to move up the pitch and play his usual passing game. Hummels capped a fine showing with a well taken goal from just inside the penalty area.
Sebastian Langkamp – Central-defender – Hertha Berlin
Sebastian Langkamp was another key figure in Hertha’s smashing win against Darmstadt. The German was a sturdy figure in defence, tasked with keeping out the pacey and unpredictable Darmstadt attack force. He won over 80% of his aerial duels and had a 100% tackle success rate. The 27-year-old kept his back line together throughout the game and deservedly earned a clean sheet.
Philipp Lahm – Right-back – Bayern Munich
Philipp Lahm scored a rare goal against Ingolstadt to seal a shaky win. The Bayern captain stood out in a poor first half as he engaged with the team’s usual ‘tiki-taka’ play-style. After receiving some notes on the pitch from Pep Guardiola, Lahm encouraged his teammates to break the deadlock. The 32-year-old found himself on the scoresheet after Robert Lewandowski’s opener, curling a left-footed strike into the net. Lahm’s goal effectively sealed the win and topped a successful afternoon for the ex-Germany international.
Hakan Calhanoglu – Left-wing – Bayer Leverkusen
Calhanoglu was one of many star performers in Leverkusen’s incredible 5-0 destruction of in-form Borussia Monchengladbach. The Turkish playmaker dismantled his side of the pitch, making fantastic runs and passes to link up with a scintillating strike force. The set piece specialist rattled the woodwork with a brilliant free kick in the first half as the score was left 1-0 at half time. The 21-year-old assisted Javier Hernandez in the second half to open the flood gates, a goal that made Gladbach fall apart. The winger was outstanding and a crucial figure in Leverkusen’s attacking play.
Maximilian Arnold – Central-midfield – VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg were far from impressive in their first half against Hamburg but Arnold led a crazy turnaround that helped his side draw 1-1 at home against Hamburg. The Wolves left themselves vulnerable in the first half and found themselves a goal down at the break, but the second half was a much different story as their midfield took control of the game. The 21-year-old finished a flowing team move to score and hand the advantage back to the home side. The squad was forced to settle for a draw but its second half performance was promising.
Julian Weigl – Central-midfield – Borussia Dortmund
Excellent performances from Julian Weigl have become a normal occurrence for Dortmund, but this week Weigl cemented himself as one of the best young defensive midfielders in Europe by breaking a record set by Bayern’s Xabi Alonso. Alonso’s season record of most touches in a game was 172 which Weigl surpassed against Frankfurt with 189 in a 4-1 victory. The 20-year-old was incredible in the midfield, keeping everything together and allowed players like Hummels to flourish.
Lukas Rupp – Right-wing – VfB Stuttgart
The Bundesliga’s bottom-placed club Stuttgart desperately need better performances and they provided one against Mainz. Unfortunately for them, they did not take three points in their 0-0 draw and were unlucky not to. Lukas Rupp was Stuttgart’s most important player on the attacking side. The 24-year-old peppered the Mainz goal with a number of shots on goal and smacked the woodwork. The brilliant attacking display was not enough for a win, but it will give the team hope that it can escape relegation.
Stefan Kiessling – Striker – Bayer Leverkusen
Stefan Kiessling has endured a somewhat poor start to the season, registering only a single Bundesliga goal before his brace against Borussia Monchengladbach. Despite Javier Hernandez taking the limelight, Kiessling showed why he has been so reliable for Leverkusen throughout his 10-year stint with two goals and two assists. The 31-year-old worked with his team mates to stun high-flying Gladbach as they picked apart the Foals’ defence by scoring four goals in the final 30 minutes. Kiessling was also responsible for the all-important opening goal of the game in a tense first half.
Javier Hernandez – Striker – Bayer Leverkusen
Hernandez was easily the most impressive performer of the round, scoring his first hat-trick for his new club to bring Borussia Monchengladbach’s incredible undefeated run to an end. Gladbach were far from the team that pummelled Bayern 3-1 a week earlier and Leverkusen used this to their advantage. It was only 1-0 after 60 minutes until the Mexican and his German strike partner Kiessling combined to score four goals over the remaining 30 minutes. The 27-year-old has breathed new life into his career and has now become one of the most reliable goalscorers in the Bundesliga.