This week’s team of the week is an impressive one. After some big weekend results, some of the league’s less recognizable players have forced themselves into the limelight.
In goal, I have Schalke’s Manuel Neuer. If not for him, Schalke could have been 4-0 down at half-time against Gladbach. He made two excellent saves to deny Marco Reus, and he kept his side in the match. He’s been on excellent form, despite his side struggling to maintain consistency.
At right-back, I’ve got Mainz’s Niko Bungert. The right-back had a good game, and kept his flank under control. Danijel Pranjic and Toni Kroos had little success against the defender, and he even looked good going forward. It also helps that he was on the winning side away from home against the reigning league champions. Mainz have looked excellent, and their players are putting in top performances.
In the center of defense, I’ve got veteran defender Sami Hyypia of Bayer Leverkusen. Hyypia opened the scoring for his side in their 1-4 away thrashing of Stuttgart, and looked composed and confident in defense. Despite having relatively no pace anymore, he still manages to contain tough strikers and keep his back-line in check. His experience is vital for Leverkusen, and he looked well in charge.
Next to Hyypia, I’ve got Dortmund’s Neven Subotic. Dortmund continued their impressive form with a 1-3 win away to St. Pauli, and Subotic was very composed at the back. Despite having little to deal with, he did his job efficiently and effectively. His partnership with Mats Hummels continues to grow, and looks like it could be a defensive pairing that leads Dortmund to a Bundesliga title.
At left-back, I’ve got Gladbach’s Filip Daems. The Gladbach captain stepped up with confidence to slot home from the penalty spot to put his side 1-0 up, and had a strong game defensively as well. He will be disappointed that his side could not hold on to their 2-0 advantage for 90 minutes, but he had a good game and kept his back-line in check.
On the right wing, I’ve got Mainz’s Lewis Holtby, who is spending a year on loan at the club from Schalke. Holtby’s skill down the wing created Mainz’s opener, when he skipped past Pranjic at left back, and slid an excellent low cross in for Sami Allagui who put it away with aplomb. In hindsight, Magath will rue his decision to let the young star go, because Schalke could certainly use him.
In the center of midfield, I’ve got Frankfurt’s captain Chris. The Brazilian tackled effectively and bossed the midfield, and scored his side’s second just minutes before full-time. His experience in the center of the pitch, and his high work-rate, give Frankfurt a real defensive option when battling a team with a strong creative threat.
Next to Chris, I’ve got Leverkusen’s Hanno Balitsch. The battling midfield man was brought in in the summer from Hannover 96, as cover for Simon Rolfes whenever he is injured. Balitsch completed ninety minutes against Stuttgart, and even got himself on the scoresheet. A good performance from the midfield man, and he’ll be looking to keep that kind of form up to get himself on the team-sheet at Leverkusen more regularly.
On the left wing, I’ve got Dortmund’s Kevin Grosskreutz. The young winger hit an excellent brace against St. Pauli, and does look to be fulfilling the promise and living up to the expectations so many saw for him. Hopefully, he can remain consistent and press Joachim Loew for a place in the national setup, because he does look a promising player. It also goes to show the depth Dortmund have, where players like Grosskreutz can step up and deliver when necessary.
Up top, I’ve got Wolfsburg’s Grafite. The Brazilian striker was restored to the starting lineup, and repaid the faith of his manager with a brace that won the match for his side against a tough Freiburg team. Grafite and Dzeko look quite unstoppable up top for Wolfsburg, and with a player as creative as Diego sitting in behind them, there’s no reason why Grafite can’t continue scoring like he has been lately.
Next to Grafite, I’ve got Werder Bremen’s Hugo Almeida. Almeida could and should have had a hat-trick against Hamburg, but missed out on it after a poor decision from the linesman. Either way, a great performance and a brace that grabbed all three points for his side against Hamburg.
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