Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho has been named February's Player of the Month. The award, created by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga in cooperation with the Bundesliga’s official licensing partner, EA SPORTS FIFA 20, is decided through a two-stage selection process that considers both the players' individual performance data and a vote by fans and experts.
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Jadon Sancho has been unstoppable in recent weeks, chalking up three goals and another three assists in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund in February. With a direct hand in six goals, he was the most prolific source of goals in the Bundesliga last month alongside Christopher Nkunku and Serge Gnabry. He also set up teammates 13 times, which was the most of any BVB player. However, February was just the tip of the iceberg for Sancho this season.
The England international has scored or assisted a combined 28 goals this Bundesliga campaign, which is the most in the league together with Timo Werner and Robert Lewandowski. The 19-year-old is already one of Lucien Favre's most important weapons in attack. "Jadon is a phenomenon. His efficiency at his age is incredible," said sporting director Michael Zorc. And Sancho’s performances haven’t gone unnoticed beyond the Bundesliga. "Jadon is a player I really like watching. He has a lot of quality," enthused Neymar, whose Paris Saint-Germain side were beaten 2-1 by Sancho's Dortmund in their UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg last month.
The other nominees
Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)
Achraf Hakimi was once again in outstanding form in February. The Borussia Dortmund full-back is now an essential figure in Lucien Favre's team, and Hakimi's importance to BVB is reflected in his numbers, including a club-best four assists last month. "He's extremely attacking, whether as a defender or a winger," said Favre, who is less surprised by the 22-year-old’s attacking penetration. Hakimi himself appreciates what the coach does for him: "He knows I'm young and can learn, and I listen to him."
The Morocco international doesn't just help the Dortmund cause with his assists, he is also key in the team's distribution play. Only Raphael Guerreiro had more touches of the ball for BVB in February than Hakimi (443). He was also part of Borussia's improved defensive display, contesting 101 challenges – the most of any Dortmund player in February – as they kept three straight clean sheets in the Bundesliga following the defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Matchday 21.
Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Serge Gnabry doesn't simply score goals, he scores important goals. He twice broke the deadlock in February by putting FC Bayern München 1-0 up as the record champions beat SC Paderborn on Matchday 23 and then comfortably saw off TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 6-0 the following week. The 24-year-old had previously bagged a brace in the 4-1 victory away at 1. FC Köln, meaning four of his 11 goals this season came in an impressive February. The Germany international has now also reached double figures for goals in all four of his Bundesliga campaigns, but he’d never previously done so by February.
"He's developed really, really well," said Bayern head coach Hansi Flick of his young forward. "Serge has super ability in one-on-ones and shooting." Yet Gnabry isn't all about going for goal himself. He also has an eye for a teammate and provided two assists in February. Combined with his four goals, Germany and Bayern's rising star was directly involved in a league-high six goals last month.
Florian Kainz (Cologne)
February saw Florian Kainz suddenly become a key figure for 1. FC Köln after the Austrian had played just a bit-part role for the Billy Goats in the first half of the season. The attacking midfielder chipped in with two goals and three assists from just 238 minutes of action last month. It meant the 27-year-old contributed to a goal for Köln every 48 minutes. "He's shown a good reaction," said coach head Markus Gisdol of his player’s improving form.
The 16-time Austria international has now had a hand in eight goals in the Bundesliga in 2019/20, with over half of those coming in February alone. Those five made him Köln's greatest source of goals last month alongside top scorer Jhon Cordoba and have played a considerable role in the promoted side’s recent upturn in fortunes. It's a particular purple patch for Kainz himself, who had never registered more than six goals or assists combined in three seasons with SV Werder Bremen. Now he has five in a single month for Köln.
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
"Joshua Kimmich is an important player" - it may be rather simplistic, but the statement from FC Bayern München head coach Hansi Flick is absolutely true. "I like players who lead from the front and have an opinion," he continued. "He's making really good progress and I'm very, very pleased with him." That is no surprise considering Kimmich is now an irreplaceable member of the Bayern team. Still only 24, he had 494 touches of the ball in February, which was the most of any player in the Bundesliga. The midfielder also chipped in with a goal and an assist each, making it the first time this season he's done both within a single month.
The cohesion between himself and Thiago has "worked very well" lately, according to the Germany international as he explained his impressive performances. "We always had great dominance, a lot of possession and accurate passing." The latter is very much down to Kimmich, who found a teammate with 92 per cent of his 366 passes. That was the best rate of any Bayern player in February.
Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Christopher Nkunku was one of the first names on the RB Leipzig teamsheet in February, starting three times in the Bundesliga. His standout performance came in the 5-0 win at Schalke when he provided four assists – all in the second half. It's no surprise, then, that he's Leipzig's top provider this season with 12 assists, placing him third in the league’s overall standings. Yet not all his build-up play ended with reward. The summer signing set up a total of 17 attempts on goal in just 262 minutes of action, meaning a teammate had a shot created by Nkunku every 15 minutes on average.
Yet it wasn't just with assists that Nkunku impressed last month. He also got on the scoresheet with a stunning equaliser as Leipzig came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Borussia Mönchengladbach. It took his total for the season to four goals. "He's by far the best midfielder in the Bundesliga in his age group," coach Julian Nagelsmann said in praise. And the numbers don’t disagree with the Leipzig boss. Nkunku improved his passing rate in February up to 93.6 per cent and had a hand in more goals than any of his teammates. Even Timo Werner, the club’s most potent force this season, couldn’t keep up with Nkunku’s goal and four assists.
Erling Haaland (January)
Timo Werner (December)
Timo Werner (November 2019)
Serge Gnabry (October 2019)
Amine Harit (September 2019)
Robert Lewandowski (August 2019)
Kai Havertz (May 2019)
Kai Havertz (April 2019)
Max Kruse (March 2019)
Julian Brandt (February 2019)
Leon Goretzka (January 2019)
Marco Reus (December 2018)
Marco Reus (November 2018)
Jadon Sancho (October 2018)
Marco Reus (September 2018)