bundesliga

Philippe Coutinho vs. James Rodriguez: how do Bayern Munich's recent Latin No.10s compare?

Philippe Coutinho and James Rodriguez have each brought some Latin flair to Bayern Munich in recent seasons, but how do the two attacking midfield No.10s compare?

bundesliga.com takes a closer look…

A number of Bayern legends have worn the No.10 shirt - from Uli Hoeneß through Steffen Effenberg and Lothar Matthäus to Arjen Robben - but it wasn't really until the last few seasons that the record champions had purveyors of the position normally associated with the number.

James Rodriguez
Games: 43
Goals: 14
Assists: 14

The top scorer at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, James Rodriguez was just as happy to lay on goals in his two years at Bayern. - DFL

Style

A left-footed attacking midfielder, James's combination of silky ball control and vision made him as entertaining as he was deadly during his two-season loan at Bayern from Real Madrid.

Winner of the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot award with six goals for Colombia in 2014, James proved just as interested in making chances as taking them during his stay at the Allianz Arena, dropping deeper and pinging passes from range.

Key stats 

In his two campaigns with Bayern, James's 14 goals were scored at a rate of one every 5.3 shots he had. To give that some perspective, Patrik Schick has only needed 4.1 shots per goal since signing on loan for RB Leipzig from Roma, but the Czech plays right up front and has only played 15 games, 10 of them starts.

James played nearly three times as many games, and his shots were not exclusively from inside the opposition box, making his conversion rate all the more impressive. His 14 assists might have been almost 10 times as many, meanwhile, had more of his 137 chances created been converted.

James's long distribution became a sight to behold, and of the 2,244 passes he attempted during his stay in Bavaria, 88.4 percent of them found their intended target.

Best moment

James may have scored some Goal of the Season contenders - notably his free-kick in a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen in January 2018 - but he stole the show when Bayern thumped Mainz 6-0 14 months later.

His hat-trick showed his full range - a chest and volley to make it 2-0; a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box for four, a delicate close-range chip for five - and Bayern returned to the summit - a position they would never relinquish.

Watch: Highlights of Bayern's 6-0 win over Mainz

Overall impact

Countryman Adolfo Valencia may have scored 11 goals in 25 games for Bayern as a centre-forward in the early 1990s, while Adrian Ramos - another Colombian striker - scored 46 Bundesliga goals in his spells with Hertha Berlin and Borussia Dortmund, but James was still the first of his compatriots to manage a three-goal haul in the German top-flight.

James picked up back-to-back Bundesliga titles during his time at Bayern as well as winning the 2018/19 DFB Cup. Those successes might have happened anyway, but they certainly wouldn't have looked so slick.

Philippe Coutinho
Games: 22
Goals: 8
Assists: 6

Coutinho has settled in quickly among his new Bayern teammates. - DFL

Style

Slightly smaller but faster than James, Coutinho is nonetheless also a quintessential modern-day No.10, able to make and take chances from almost anywhere in the final third.

Just as happy playing through the middle or cutting inside from the left-hand-side before fizzing a shot into the far top corner, the "little magician" from Brazil has also wowed fans since swapping Barcelona for Bayern at the start of this season.

Key stats

Coutinho's eight goals in the Bundesliga this season have come from just 22 games, of which only 15 were starts. If his six assists are added the equation, the former Liverpool man has had a hand in a goal every 99 minutes he has played in the Bundesliga.

Where James would look for the early ball, Coutinho is just as likely to turn on a sixpence, dip his shoulder, and beat his marker before moving play on, with his 25 sprints per game at a top speed of 20.3 miles per hour helping him win an average of 21 one-on-ones per 90 minutes.

Best moment

Coutinho's moments of magic became a gust a sheer wizardry when Bayern beat Werder Bremen 6-1 in December.

The Bavarians had lost their previous two Bundesliga games - to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach - and things looked to be going from bad to worse after Milot Rashica's opener at the Allianz.

A hat-trick and two assists from Coutinho turned the game completely on its head, though, and his no-look chip for 3-1 has to be seen to be believed. It was little Phil's best-ever 90-minute return; one coach Hansi Flick described as "pure class."

Watch: Highlights of Bayern's 6-1 win over Bremen

Overall impact 

Coutinho has inherited Robben's No.10 jersey and James's No.10 position. The weight of expectation has been shrugged off as easily as any would-be marker, though, and Coutinho has managed to dazzle despite having Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry competing for final-third minutes and headlines.

The Bundesliga is, for now, on course to return behind closed doors in light of coronavirus before Coutinho is due to return to Barcelona. The record champions are four points clear at the top, and the chances of him leaving without at least one fresh piece of silverware in his trophy cabinet would appear to be very slim indeed.

James and Coutinho - two magnificent No.10s whose Latin flair has been a breath of fresh air.