3 Players to Watch in the Bundesliga 2018-19
The Bundesliga may be in the midst of a summer reboot, but when it returns one of these three players will very likely be holding a title-winning medal come the end of the season. German Football's top-flight boasts a host of world-class players, but James Rodriguez, Marco Reus and Leon Goretzka will be the pick of who to watch in season 2018-19.
James Rodriguez - Bayern Munich
Rodriguez embarks on the second term of his two-season loan deal at Bayern Munich. The Real Madrid-owned playmaker enjoyed a fine maiden season in the Bundesliga, scoring seven and providing eleven assists.
Few can boast of making a bigger impact on German football in recent years, and the Colombian attacking midfielder graced the global stage for his country at the World Cup this summer. Rodriguez dazzled in Brazil four years ago and earned the Goal of the Tournament award for a stunning volley against Uruguay and bagged the Golden Boot after scoring six.
His career may have stalled at the Bernabeu but the 26-year-old rediscovered his mojo as Bayern marched to last season’s title. While his headline scoring and goal-making figures were impressive, the overall contribution Rodriguez brings - sitting deep and directing play - make him the connoisseur’s choice to watch in the new campaign.
Rodriguez completed nearly 1,400 passes in his 23 Bundesliga appearances last season and of the 87 long balls he played to a teammate, 85 per cent found their target. The left-footer was a regular on Bayern’s set-pieces and delivers a mean in-swinger, but his crossing ability and raking cross-field balls offer a new dimension of danger for Bayern’s opponents.
Bayern will be aiming to go one better after exiting the 2017-18 Champions League in the semi-final at the hands of Real Madrid, and Rodriguez shone in the Bavarians’ European football campaign. A pinpoint cross to tee up Corentin Tolisso against Paris St Germain in the group stage was a highlight, showing just what he can do. The Colombian’s approach play means he’ll be a key man at the Allianz Arena next season.
Marco Reus - Borussia Dortmund
Meanwhile, Marco Reus made his World Cup debut for Germany this summer and the Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder is fresh from enjoying a renaissance season in the Bundesliga last term. The 29-year-old is one of the country’s most technically gifted footballers and his stats are seriously impressive.
Boasting 99 career goals from 233 Bundesliga appearances, the influence Reus brings to the BVB set-up should not be underestimated. One of the finest free-kick takers in world football, the Dortmund native terrifies opposition goalkeepers with his wicked swerving and dipping strikes.
After ligament damage wrecked the first part of last season, Reus returned with a bang and scored seven goals in 11 games to ensure Borussia Dortmund earned a Champions League qualifying spot. In truth, he’s as well known for his injury record as he is for his contribution, and Reus famously missed the last World Cup with an ankle problem.
Reus is usually deployed out wide but he’s not a touchline-hugging winger. He tends to drift inside, losing markers with ease. Following Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang’s departure to Arsenal last season, and subsequent injury to Michy Batshui who was drafted in to replace the Gabon superstar, Reus ended the campaign in a central role from which he embarked on his end of term hot streak in front of goal.
If he can stay fit, and new BVB boss Lucien Favre can get the best out of him, Reus could be the catalyst for a real Dortmund drive to challenge for the title next season. He’s simply brilliant and still seems to retain a hunger to overcome the frustrations which have blighted his career so far. If Reus can stay fit, then he can surely challenge for the Bundesliga Top Scorer. Get the latest Bundesliga odds throughout the season at Bet UK's sportsbook.
Leon Goretzka - Bayern Munich
A half-hour drive along the road from Dortmund, Schalke 04 fans are still bemoaning the loss of Leon Goretzka to Bayern. The German international was snatched by the Bundesliga champions on a free transfer this summer and will be looking to establish himself in the Bavarian’s transitioning midfield.
Goretzka is a versatile midfield dynamo who can play across the middle of the park. If box-to-box midfielders are worth their weight in gold in the modern game, the 23-year-old could end up being the signing of 2018-19.
But first, he must oust the likes of Javi Martinez and Sebastian Rudy from their holding roles in the Bayern engine room, and thwart the challenge of Thiago Alcantara and Corentin Tolisso who all boast an ability to play numerous roles in midfield.
One or more of those four might still move on this summer which will boost Goretzka’s chances of making a berth in the Munich middle-ranks his own. Plenty of observers are tipping the powerful runner to establish himself as one of the best midfielders in European Football in the coming years, and his work ethic and sheer determination ensure he’s a stand-out contender amongst Bundesliga players to lead the Munich midfield revolution next season.
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