The story of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season so far
From world-class teens showcasing their stratospheric talent to dramatic table-top changes and goals galore: the opening to the 2022/23 Bundesliga season has been nothing short of spectacular.
The stats are in and the jaw-dropping digits point to one of the most exciting Bundesliga campaigns to date with just 15 matchdays behind us and a barrel load of games yet to come in the new year. Bayern Munich lead the way, but the champions had a battle on their hands clinching top spot ahead of an unprecedented pause in proceedings for a winter World Cup.
With the mesmerising Jamal Musiala leading the attacking line for the Bavarian giants, Julian Nagelsmann's team scored 49 goals in the first 15 matchdays, the second-highest total in Bundesliga history and the best in 46 years (Bayern managed 50 goals at this stage of the season in 1976/77).
Yet, lest we forget, the current leaders were playing catch-up after Matchday 7, when Union Berlin's inspiring feats saw the capital club lead the pack with Bayern some five points adrift back in fifth place.
The Berliners were not the only team to top the standings - which they managed for seven matchdays - in the opening stages of the season. Freiburg also enjoyed a brief stint at the summit for only the second time ever. However, with six Bundesliga wins on the bounce prior to the current break, Bayern roared their way back to first place with Freiburg, RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt following further behind.
The aforementioned teenaged magician Musiala - the youngest player to reach 100 competitive appearances for Bayern - has undoubtedly been one of the stars of the show to date, the Stuttgart-born attacker scoring nine times and assisting four Bundesliga goals. At just 19, the fresh-faced Germany international has been one of several youngsters to have added excitement, flair and awe-inducing energy to an already incredible campaign.
Watch: Musiala is making strides with the champions
Over at Borussia Dortmund, the youngsters have also been tearing it up as the Black-and-Yellows look to settle. Musiala's mate Jude Bellingham - also 19 - is one of seven teen talents in the BVB ranks to have found the net for Die Schwarzgelben this season. The 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko has scored six times alone in the Bundesliga.
In fact, if you take Moukoko and Bellingham and add their teenaged teammates Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Gio Reyna, you are left with an attractive equation that results in the scorers of 12 of BVB's 25 top-flight goals to date.
His star continuing to rise at a rapid rate, Bellingham wowed at the World Cup for England as much as he has in front of full houses across the Bundesliga. His influence belying his young years, the boy from Birmingham was even named Borussia's captain on Matchday 8, making him the club's youngest skipper since such Bundesliga facts were first compiled back in 1995.
Watch: Jude Bellingham - the complete midfielder
Eyeing the broader strokes across the division, we have had a whopping 431 goals scored in just the first 15 matchdays of 2022/23, that is seven more than at the same stage last season and it is the second highest return in the last eight years. Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku - last term's Bundesliga Player of the Season - has netted 12 times to take the lead at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Werder Bremen's super striker Niclas Füllkrug - who was plying his trade in the second division last season - is joint second in the goal-getting charts with 10 strikes to his name, while Marcus Thuram also has 10. By comparison, Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Thuram scored just three times in the entire 2021/22 campaign. With Musiala (9) and Vincenzo Grifo (9) also in the mix, this year's race for the top scorer's Torjägerkanone promises to be dramatic and unpredictable.
Watch: Niclas Füllkrug scoring for fun in 22/23
In previous seasons, Thomas Müller's name has been synonymous with assists, the Bayern attacker topping those particular charts in four of the past five years. Yet a certain new Frankfurt signing has set pulses racing down by the banks of the River Main, with Randal Kolo Muani now the first name many Eintracht fans look for on the matchday team sheet.
Since arriving from Nantes in the summer, the 24-year-old has managed a division-leading nine assists (while also scoring five times) with the Eagles, numbers that helped propel the 24-year-old into France's World Cup push in Qatar. The last Frankfurt player to make such an impact on the assists front after 15 games was Sebastien Haller (10) in 2018/19.
Watch: Kolo Muani flying with the Eagles
We have had 174 different goalscorers - the most since 2018/19 - with Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen showing their strength in diversity with 13 different names among the goals at both clubs. Players from 62 different nations have played in the top flight this season and they have been watched by a total of 5.7 million fans at stadiums around the country.
Indeed, Bundesliga games attract on average 42,000 people per match inside grounds. With an average of more than three goals a game (3.2), it is easy to see what keeps the faithful returning, with scoreless draws a rarity (the Bundesliga is 72 games and counting since its last 0-0).
With so much more to come when the action recommences on 20 January and a Friday-night belter between Leipzig and Bayern, the most important stat to remember is that the Bundesliga will continue to be the number one source for top footballing entertainment.
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