The 2018/19 Bundesliga season was full of drama right down to the final day as Bayern Munich secured their seventh straight title, beating out Borussia Dortmund. Robert Lewandowski and Paco Alcacer played their part as the two top scorers, but who else helped shape a memorable top-flight campaign?
bundesliga.com looks at who played a statistically major role with goals, assists, clean sheets, passes and plenty of other numbers.
You quite simply cannot win games without scoring goals, so it’s no surprise to see the league’s two top scorers featuring for the teams that finished first and second. Lewandowski became the first player since Ulf Kirsten (1997 and 1998), and only the second non-German after Eintracht Frankfurt’s Anthony Yeboah (1993 and 1994) to defend his top scorer crown with 22 goals in 33 appearances.
As with the final league table, the Bayern striker was followed closely by Dortmund’s Alcacer who finished his first Bundesliga season with 18 goals – despite making just 11 starts! BVB captain Marco Reus enjoyed his most prolific season to date as one of five players to net 17 times alongside Kai Havertz, Luka Jovic, Andrej Kramaric and Wout Weghorst.
Watch: Lewandowski analysed by Tifo Football
Goals per minute
While Lewandowski’s almost superhuman ability to play nearly every game gives him an excellent chance of banging in the goals, there’s something to be said for those that need little time to get into the groove of things. Alcacer was chief among those, finding the back of the net on average every 66.8 minutes he was on the pitch.
Next behind the Spaniard is Hoffenheim’s English teenager Reiss Nelson, whose seven goals came on average every 89.7 minutes. Teammate Ishak Belfodil (116.5) and Jovic (132.2) were the next best for players with at least five goals.
Shots on goal
Lewandowski again comes out top in this regard having had 141 efforts on goal all season. He is followed in second by RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Hoffenheim’s Kramaric (both 107), while the former also had a league-high 26 shots from counter-attacks.
Jovic in fourth demonstrated his versatility with his 94 shots, taking 40 with his right, 31 with his left and 23 with his header. Mainz’s summer signing Jean-Philippe Mateta was the league’s fifth-best player at getting shots away.
Watch: How does Jovic score so many goals?
However, Mateta came out on top when it came to who scored the greatest proportion of their team’s goals. The French striker netted 30.4 per cent of all Mainz’s goals this season (14 of 46), while that man Jovic features again with 28.3 per cent of all Frankfurt strikes (14 of 60). Weghorst (27.4%; 17 of 62) and Werner (25.4%; 16 of 63) were the next best contributors, while Jovic’s striker partner Sebastien Haller (15 of 60) ties fifth with Lewandowski (22 of 88) by scoring exactly a quarter of their club’s goals.
Havertz netted the winning goal for Leverkusen a league-high eight times this season (44% of his goals earned Bayer three points), while Reus led from the front with six match-winning strikes for Dortmund. Weghorst, Jadon Sancho, Alcacer, Lewandowski and Milot Rashica all netted winners on five occasions.
What about the players who play the ball before all those shots? English teenager Sancho enjoyed a breakout Bundesliga campaign and was the league’s most creative influence, setting up 14 goals for runners-up Dortmund. Just one behind him is Bayern full-back Joshua Kimmich on 13, meaning Philipp Max’s league record of 12 assists by a defender last just a single season.
You can lay on the perfect assist as often as you like, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do when your teammate fails to convert. Perhaps Sancho’s absence from the top five for chances created shows he went for quality over quantity, but the top two spots are occupied by Kimmich (108) and Brandt (107). Interestingly, the Leverkusen man was involved in 56 one-twos during 2018/19 – almost twice as many as the next best.
Combined goals and assists
There’s little room in top-flight football now for a one-trick pony. Forwards are expected to be able to both score and create, and no one contributed more goals than Lewandowski (29), who added seven assists to his league-high 22 strikes. He finished slightly ahead of Sancho, who had a hand in 26 goals. The England international’s haul of 12 goals and 14 assists made him the only player alongside Gladbach’s Hazard to reach double figures in both categories.
Watch: A tactical overview of Jadon Sancho
Dortmund captain Reus was just one behind (17 goals and eight assists), while Weghorst (17 goals and seven assists) and Haller (15 goals and nine assists) both contributed 24 goals as Wolfsburg and Frankfurt qualified for the UEFA Europa League.
The custodian of the league’s best defence in 2018/19 was Leipzig’s Peter Gulacsi. No one scored past the Hungarian in 16 of his 33 Bundesliga appearances, while Gladbach’s Yann Sommer kept 13 clean sheets.
In an injury-hit campaign, Manuel Neuer managed 10 in 26 games, which was the same amount as his Dortmund counterpart Roman Bürki recorded in 32 appearances. Leverkusen’s Lukas Hradecky comes fifth with nine shutouts from his 32 matches.
It wasn’t exactly an enjoyable season for Hannover as they finished second from bottom and returned to Bundesliga 2, but goalkeeper Michael Esser was one of their few shining lights. The 32-year-old made by far the most saves of any goalkeeper this campaign (156), making him a favourite in goal for Fantasy players.
A rather distant second was Frankfurt’s Kevin Trapp on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. The Germany international made 124 stops, just ahead of his compatriots Oliver Baumann (122) and Ron-Robert Zieler (121). The goalkeeper with the second-most clean sheets also had to make the fifth-most saves with Sommer thwarting 118 efforts on his goal.
Proportion of shots saved
It’s fair to say some goalkeepers have more to do behind their defences than others. But when that line is breached, who do you want between the sticks? As with clean sheets, Gulacsi and Sommer again top the pile. The Leipzig ‘keeper leads by some distance, saving 77.5 per cent of the efforts on his goal (93 of 120), while his Gladbach counterpart kept out 73.75 per cent of those against him (118 of 160).
Trapp boasts the third-best save percentage (72.09) having repelled 124 of the 172 shots destined for his goal. He is followed by Baumann (70.52%; 122 of 173), who also registered the second assist of his Bundesliga career in 2018/19, and Esser (70.27%; 156 of 222). No one faced more shots or made more saves than the Hannover goalkeeper, showing just how valuable he was to them this season, despite conceding the second-most goals (66) after Stuttgart (70).
No one found a teammate more often with passes this season than Bayern centre-back Niklas Süle (2,336). The towering defender was closely followed by Munich colleagues Thiago (2,262), who saw a league-high 109 touches of the ball per 90 minutes, and Kimmich (2,220), who was in possession more than any other player in 2018/19 (3,369 times).
Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah didn’t just make the second-greatest number of interceptions this season (after Hannover’s Waldemar Anton), he also made the fourth-most passes of all players (2,172). Axel Witsel was fifth with 2,166 passes. The Dortmund man misplaced just six per cent of those – a league best for a midfielder.
No one was more reliable in possession in 2018/19 than BVB’s Julian Weigl. Of all the players to attempt at least 500 passes, he found a player in the same kit with 95.76 per cent of his attempts. Hot on his heels were Gladbach’s Nico Elvedi (95.18%) and Süle (94.65%), although it’s worth remembering that the Bayern defender attempted the most passes in the league – over twice as many as Weigl.
Leverkusen’s Aleksandar Dragovic completed 94.43 per cent of his passes across his 18 appearances, while the departing Rafinha completes the top five with a completion rate of 94.19 per cent. The Brazilian also found a teammate with 88 per cent of his long passes – a league high.
Watch: The Bundesliga’s top 10 players for Vision on FIFA19
Kostic crowned an impressive season for Eintracht as the crossing king. The winger delivered 157 crosses from open play, which led to a league-high 28 shots on goal (same as Aaron Martin and Pavel Kaderabek). Four of those resulted in goals, which was second only to Kaderabek and Kruse. Mainz’s Martin was second for the number of crosses (124), while Nico Schulz (111) rounds out the left flank’s dominance.
Kimmich delivered 104 for Bayern, while Wolfsburg’s William and Frankfurt’s Danny da Costa both struck a century. All 100 of the Eintracht man’s deliveries came from the right wing and matched his opposite number Kostic for goals created (four).
Schalke were awarded the most penalties this season (nine) and converted seven of them (also a league high). Daniel Caligiuri came into the campaign with a perfect conversion rate in the Bundesliga but missed those two penalties for the Royal Blues. He, Kramaric and Fortuna Düssleldorf’s Dodi Lukebakio all had six attempts from 12 yards with the Hoffenheim man scoring a league-high five from the spot. Nine clubs converted 100 per cent of their penalties.
Schalke also had the most penalties awarded against them (15), although Hoffenheim conceded the most (13/14). Nuremberg may have finished bottom of the table but they were the only team to have a positive record when facing penalties. Six of the 10 attempts against them were missed (60%), while Fabian Bredlow was the only goalkeeper not to concede when facing a penalty (saved 2 from 2). Der Club, however, were the worst culprits when it came to squandering chances from the spot, converting just a third of penalties (2 out of 6).
Hit the frame of the goal
Hoffenheim were denied by the post or the bar on 27 occasions across their 34 games, while Bayern were the only other team to hit the woodwork over 20 times (22). The most unfortunate player was TSG’s Belfodil, who struck the frame of the goal with five shots. Hanno Behrens, Karim Bellarabi, Kramaric, Lewandowski and Reus were all denied four times.
Nineteen players put the ball into their own net in 2018/19, but none more than once. Stuttgart, however, were the worst offenders with four own goals. Bayern’s Leon Goretzka scored the fastest own goal in Bundesliga history inside 13 seconds at Augsburg on Matchday 22.
No one committed more offences than Hertha Berlin’s Ondrej Duda (70 fouls), followed by Andre Hahn of Augsburg (64) and Frankfurt’s Gelson Fernandes (56). On the other hand, Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Arnold was fouled the most times (81), ahead of Hazard (62) and Fortuna’s Kevin Stöger (60).
The fastest player in the Bundesliga during 2018/19 was Hertha full-back Lukas Klünter, who reached a top speed of 22.0 mph. Close behind in this foot race were Ante Rebic (21.82 mph) and Achraf Hakimi (21.81 mph), as well as Jerome Roussillon (21.79 mph) and Havertz (21.76 mph).
Only four players were on the pitch for every minute of their club’s league campaign: Kimmich, Anton, Sommer and Zieler. Da Costa started all 50 of Frankfurt’s competitive matches in 2018/19, which was more than any other Bundesliga player.
Claudio Pizarro holds the all-time Bundesliga record for substitute appearances (151), of which 23 came this season for Werder. He scored five goals from the bench to earn Werder four extra points. While that is impressive, it is some way off Alcacer’s haul of 12 goals from 15 substitute appearances – a record within a single season. The player who saw his number held up most often to signal he was being replaced was Freiburg captain Mike Frantz (21).