bundesliga

RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt and the Bundesliga's surprise corner kings

With a huge 76 goals scored from corners in the Bundesliga so far this season - the second-highest tally since detailed data collection began in 1992 – an often overlooked set-piece is becoming an increasingly effective attacking tool.

To put that figure into context, the 2017/18 campaign is the only one to have registered more goals from corners (77) with 25 rounds of matches played (this term’s postponed Matchday 24 encounter between Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt notwithstanding).

So what has been going on in 2019/20?  We take a closer look at why some clubs and players are proving particularly menacing from it – with some surprising results.

1) Most headed goals: Martin Hinteregger

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig each have over 60 Bundesliga goals already this season but it is Frankfurt who lead the way from corners, having scored a league-high nine times.

Hineteregger scored his third goal of the season against Bayern, heading home in a shock 5-1 win for Frankfurt on Matchday 10. - DFL

It is no surprise then that a Frankfurt player – Martin Hinteregger - tops the chart as the most dangerous player at corners with five goals; his overall tally of six makes him the highest scoring defender in the Bundesliga.

Standing at 6’1”, his fearless attitude and expert sense of timing as one of a line of Frankfurt players charging to meet a laser-guided delivery to the edge of the six-yard box are an extra arrow in Eintracht’s quiver.

2) Most assists: Christopher Trimmel

Newly promoted sides often lean more heavily than most on dead-ball situations as a source of goals, and Union Berlin are no different. The capital club are in the league’s top four scorers from corners this term with seven – all of which have been taken by Christopher Trimmel. Only Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi (10) has more assists as a defender this season.

Trimmel's seven assists are a league-wide second-best among defenders. - DFL

Union exploit the number of big, physical players in their side to overwhelm the opposition and drag them out of position, leaving captain Trimmel with the task of whipping in pinpoint crosses for a teammate. The fact that two of his free-kicks in 2019/20 have also led to goals means he is the Bundesliga’s set-piece specialist par excellence.

3) Most defence-confusing routine: Leipzig

Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is known for being a tactical whizz, so it is only to be expected that he has come up with something special to make his side among the highest scoring at corners.

With players crossing paths as they make diagonal runs and others blocking the route for defenders to track them, spaces soon open up. And with Christopher Nkunku charged with fizzing in accurate balls into the area, it has been a proven recipe for success.

Watch: Rafael Czichos headed home as Leipzig beat Cologne 4-1 on Matchday 12

4) Best corner flick-ons: Cologne

The Billy Goats’ rise up the table is no accident, and has in part come about as a result of their improved efficiency at corners. Only two teams had scored fewer than Cologne’s total of 19 goals at the halfway stage of the season; now only the top five sides have more than their haul of 39.

Frankfurt are the only club with more goals from corners than Markus Gisdol’s charges (eight), who employ a different strategy than most. Rather than using in-swinging deliveries into the six-yard box, Cologne’s corners tend to be out-swingers to a player who does not go for goal, but rather aims to flick the ball on to the back post, where an unmarked teammate is left with a tap-in.