After scoring seven goals in his six Bundesliga appearances in the first month of 2021, it was only ever going to be Andre Silva to win January's Bundesliga Player of the Month award.
The official "Player of the Month" award has been created by DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga in cooperation with the Bundesliga's official licence partner EA SPORTS. The Bundesliga's 18 club captains, a panel of experts and fans cast their votes, with the winning player receiving an upgraded player card in FIFA 21.
Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Andre Silva may often be overshadowed by some of the Bundesliga's big names such as Robert Lewandowski or Erling Haaland, but when it comes to scoring goals, Eintracht Frankfurt's Portuguese forward knows how to ensure his name hits the headlines. With 16 goals from 19 games, not only is he sitting proudly in second place on the top-scorers chart, but he has also reached a return no other Frankfurt player has ever managed at a similar stage of a Bundesliga season.
His performances in January have contributed significantly to this, with seven goals from his six Bundesliga appearances. That puts him level with Lewandowski as January's top-scorer! He was the only player to net three braces in the first calendar month of the new year, but what is all the more remarkable is the versatility with which he has been plundering those goals. The 25-year-old has scored with his right foot, his left foot and his head, and he's also scored from the penalty spot. The quick and agile Silva can score from anywhere. "That's really, really impressive," said his coach Adi Hütter succinctly after Silva almost single-handedly turned Frankfurt's Matchday 19 clash with Hertha BSC around.
Watch: The best of Silva
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
After the meniscus injury which kept him out of action from mid-November to the end of December, Joshua Kimmich has returned in the new year like he had never been away. FC Bayern München's midfield dynamo set up more goals than anybody else in January, contributing the final pass to five of his team's goals. He scored one himself against Mainz on Matchday 14, meaning he had a direct hand in six goals - quite a remarkable record for a defensive midfielder!
The 25-year-old, whose place in Hansi Flick's starting XI is as solid as a rock, has the complete package. In addition to his aforementioned involvement in Bayern's goalscoring endeavours, his set-piece prowess and defensive ability, in addition to being the brains behind many of Bayern's moves, have furthered his already glowing reputation. And when even Oliver Kahn, one of his illustrious predecessors at Bayern, says that Kimmich is "even more ambitious than I was - that's precisely the kind of player a club needs," then you know how high the bar has to be set for Kimmich not to be somewhere within touching distance.
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Using the otherworldy benchmarks he set in the 2019/20 season as a comparison, Jadon Sancho's first half of the current campaign was quite underwhelming. In fact, whereas the 20-year-old scored 17 goals last term, he had not found the back of the net even once over the first 13 matchdays of 2020/21. All that changed with the turn of the year, however, with Sancho rediscovering his form in January. In key fixtures with RB Leipzig and VfL Wolfsburg, the Englishman scored one and set up another, finally getting his name back on the scoresheet for the first time since last May.
In the battle of the Borussias, he was Dortmund's stand-out player with assists for both of his team's goals in what was ultimately a 4-2 defeat. That means four of his seven assists so far this season came in January, and he also got to wear the captain's armband briefly in Dortmund's win over Augsburg on Matchday 19, where he masterminded their recovery with the goal which put them 2-1 ahead. That was not lost on his coach Erden Terzic. "You could see all of his talent once again in his goal," he said. "But he also worked hard and did the things players don't really like to do - tracking back, closing gaps. I think he's taken a huge step forward in recent weeks." That step forward restored him to previously familiar territory: among the candidates for the Player of the Month award.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich
It would be something of a surprise not to see Robert Lewandowski among the Player of the Month candidates for January. The FC Bayern München centre forward does not seem to be settling for winning a treble and being named 2020's World Footballer of the Year, as he continues his pursuit for more. In January, he scored in every single one of Bayern's Bundesliga games, for a total of seven goals. He was the only player in the league to score in all six fixtures in the month, and if you add his two assists, he was the player who had a hand in the most goals in the first month of the new year.
It's rare that a month goes by in which the 32-year-old does not break a record, and January did not buck that trend. On Matchday 18 against 1. FC Union Berlin, he scored in his eighth away game in a row - something that has never been achieved before in the Bundesliga. Lewandowski surely now has his sights set firmly on one more major target: the all-time record of 40 goals in a season set by Gerd Müller in 1971/72. If Lewandowski continues to score at his current rate, that record will be his come May.
Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
It took a while for Filip Kostic to rediscover his best form following a complicated knee ligament injury, but the 28-year-old looked like his good old self again in January. With three assists and one goal between matchdays 16 and 19 alone, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger finally got his season up and running after failing to find the back of the net in the entire first half of the 2020/21 campaign.
Kostic's recent form transformation has had a more than positive impact on his team's league position too, with Eintracht moving from the bottom half of the table, where they were dwelling at the end of 2020, into the top four at the end of January - on course for UEFA Champions League football next season. This is largely down to the fact they can once again rely on the Bundesliga's crossing king, with Kostic delivering more crosses than any other player in the Bundesliga (84 up to 1 February) - and an outstanding 56 per cent of those came in January alone. When you have players of the ability of Andre Silva and Luka Jovic on the end of these deliveries, then Frankfurt have good reason to look ahead confidently to the final months of the season.
Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich)
There have been just a few, rare form dips in Thomas Müller's career, but what the 31-year-old is currently producing certainly belongs among the many more highlights of a glittering career. Purely in terms of goal contribution, Müller is at his very best. In January, he helped his team defend their position at the top of the league with four goals and two assists, yet it is his efficiency which really stood out when you consider that he only had nine shots on goal in the entire month, with four of them hitting the back of the net. That extraordinary ratio of 2.3 shots per goal even puts teammate Robert Lewandowski (3.6) and Frankfurt's Andre Silva to shame.
Müller has already scored more this season than in any of the past four seasons, but what is the driving force behind a man who has already won almost everything there is to win? Müller recently told Germany's Kicker magazine: "You want to have the feeling that you're one of the best around, and better than anybody else who ever took part in this league." In January, he certainly did his own lofty ambitions justice.
December: Lars Stindl (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
November: Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
October: Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern München)
September: Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim)