It was the moment we’d all been waiting for: round 26 of the Bundesliga marked the return of a major European league.
Sure, the K-League and Belarusian football have been playing on despite COVID-19, but German soccer’s return was a landmark moment.
If other European leagues are to resume the 2019/20 campaign, the success of the Bundesliga – in a practical and health sense – is paramount.
But, on the field, who were the big performers as football finally returned? Using the Football Whispers Lab, we’ve got all the numbers you need to know…
Player of the round: Raphaël Guerreiro
Watching Borussia Dortmund is great fun – unless you’re a Schalke fan. Lucien Favre’s side are equally likely to thrill with their attacking football as they spectacularly collapse. it was the former on Saturday as they kicked off the Bundesliga weekend with a 4-0 win over rivals Schalke in the Revierderby.
The most boisterous and vociferous derby in Germany, this was the perfect advert for the Bundesliga. BVB made light work of brushing David Wagner’s team aside to claim the bragging rights.
Erling Håland – who else? – scored the first post-lockdown goal before Guerreiro helped himself to a brace. The buccaneering Portuguese is the prototype modern wing-back and showed exactly why on Saturday.
Two goals from four efforts – two of which were on target – were an impressive return for a player whose xG was only 0.63. That was only enough to rank 12th in the Bundesliga over the weekend. Three touches in the opposition penalty area speak for remarkable efficiency, though.
It wasn’t just Guerreiro’s attacking output which caught the eye, however. The 26-year-old won two of the five tackles he attempted and seven defensive duels. He was also considered in possession, completing 58 of 63 passes.
Creativity king: Timo Werner
How much longer you’ll be able to watch the RB Leipzig forward in the Bundesliga is unclear. Liverpool are fans of Werner and it’s expected the German international features in the Reds’ summer transfer plans.
While Werner failed to find the back of the net in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Freiburg, he did his best for Die Roten Bullen.
No-one in the Bundesliga created more chances than Werner’s five for his team-mates. Werner also completed 22 of the 29 passes he attempted on the final third – second only to RB team-mates Marcel Halstenberg (23/28).
The 24-year-old was also RB’s biggest threat, hitting the target with both of his efforts on goal and taking the most touches in the opposition box (9) of any player.
Defensive stalwart: Kevin Mbabu
The Swiss international won more defensive duels (14) than anyone in the Bundesliga this weekend. That’s oddly impressive as Die Wölfe had 60 per cent of the ball too.
Mbabu, who made three league appearances for Newcastle United between 2013 and 2017, also won three of the four tackles he attempted and won 100 per cent of the aerial duels he contested
On top of all that, the flying full-back provided the assist for substitute Ginczek to win it at the death.
Pass master: Marcel Halstenberg
We’ve already touched upon RB Leipzig’s 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg and when you look at the data, it’s hard to understand how the hosts didn’t secure three points.
Naglesmann’s side had 66.8 per cent of the ball to Freiburg‘s 33.2 and 22 shots to six with an xG total of 2.15 – 0.67 in RB’s favour. Yet Freiburg escaped with a point.
No-one in the Bundesliga in matchweek attempted (113) or completed (104) more passes than Leipzig’s Halstenberg who also posted more forward passes (35) than all but five players over the weekend.
The left-back was a constant threat for Nagelsmann’s side, creating three chances and completing 23 and 28 passes in the final third. No-one in Germany’s top-flight connected with more and only one player attempted more than the 28-year-old.