Bundesliga Team of the Week: Round 18

Posted Monday, January 18, 2010 by Goal.com

Clark Whitney runs the rule over the Bundesliga’s top performers in Round 18.

Goalkeeper:

Oka Nikolov (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Bremen may not have been in peak form on Saturday, but it always takes strong defending to hold them scoreless. Frankfurt did just that, and Nikolov deserves full credit for making five fine saves. Bremen found a new attacking gear late in the game, but Frankfurt’s Macedonian goalkeeper kept his cool to ensure his side’s three points.

Defenders:

Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich)

Bayern had few threats to deal with on Friday, but their victory was no cakewalk. The ever-consistent defender was given the tough task of marking Maicosuel, but kept the Brazilian winger shackled after a shaky start. His close marking denied Demba Ba an early opener, and a superb tackle on Vedad Ibisevic preserved the narrow lead that Bayern held before scoring a second in the closing minutes.

Marco Russ (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Like Nikolov Russ deserves credit for playing his part in holding Bremen scoreless. That he, a central defender, was able to knock in the winner as well makes Russ a candidate for player of the week.

Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

After his team struggled to score goals in preseason friendlies, Hummels took matters into his own hands. The towering central defender scored a first half brace and was never caught out. His team may have conceded a pair of unnecessary goals late, but anyone who scores a brace deserves recognition in Team of the Week.

Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke)

Quiet and effective best describes the defensive all-rounder from Haltern. Schalke played a defensive game against Nuernberg, and Hoewedes held down his side well while never making a wrong step.

Midfielders:
 
Marcell Jansen (Hamburg)

Provided all the offense his team needed to secure victory over Freiburg. The ex-M’gladbach and Bayern man opened the scoring early with a well-taken goal, and was at the centre of nearly every attacking move Hamburg made. After the break, he did well to set up Mladen Petric for the knockout blow.

Sami Khedira (Stuttgart)

Composed, intelligent, and extremely hard working, Khedira is among the league’s most underrated central midfielders. The ex-Germany U-21 captain was an imposing presence against the Wolfsburg midfield and assisted Roberto Hilbert’s opener. It’s no coincidence that his reintroduction into the Stuttgart lineup has accompanied his team’s five-game unbeaten streak.

Toni Kroos (Bayer Leverkusen)

My, how a few months of success can raise a player’s confidence. The Bayern Munich loanee was absolutely everywhere against Mainz. He assisted the equalizer with an exquisite cross, and then scored the third goal with a well-taken volley. If not for a bit of bad luck and excellent goalkeeping from Heinz Mueller, Kroos would have had a brace and at least two more assists. His accuracy in shooting and crossing and playmaking vision are reminiscent of Frank Lampard, and having only just turned 20, his future is very bright indeed.

Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

Against Hoffenheim, the fit-again winger proved just why he is among the world’s most dangerous players in the open field. Time and time again, he bombed forward, using his superior pace an exceptional balance to nullify defensive efforts. The flying Dutchman has been criticized in the past for being selfish with the ball, but was perhaps a bit too generous on Friday. He passed on several good goal-scoring attempts, and was only denied an assist because of downright abominable finishing.

Strikers:

Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich)

Did more in 27 minutes that Mario Gomez did in 90. It took him awhile to settle in, but his positional instincts caused Hoffenheim all sorts of trouble. Klose drew out opposing central defenders to create space for his teammates, and took a well-earned goal late. His through ball to Gomez at the death was the type you’d expect from a central midfielder, and he was terribly unlucky not to have earned an assist.

Eren Derdiyok (Bayer Leverkusen)

It took him 88 minutes to finally claim his goal, but it was the one that confirmed victory. The Swiss international probably should have had a hat trick, but was denied by the inside of the post and good goalkeeping from Heinz Mueller. Alert, mobile, and with good positional sense, Derdiyok stole the spotlight from Stefan Kiessling.

Nikolov
Hoewedes  Hummels  Russ  Badstuber
Khedira
Robben  Kroos  Jansen
Klose  Derdiyok

Honorable Mentions

Martin Demichelis played his best game in months, but misses out because the Hoffenheim midfield gave him very few chances to prove himself as a defender.

Tranquillo Barnetta made a strong claim to keep his starting role as Renato Augusto returned to action on Saturday, but the Swiss midfielder was outshined by Kroos.

Edin Dzeko and Kevin McKenna scored valuable goals to put their teams back into contention, but their efforts were all in vain.

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