Your votes mean RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku has been named the Bundesliga Player of the Month for October 2021, beating out Bayern Munich duo Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski, teammate Dominik Szoboszlai, as well as Borussia Mönchengladbach's Jonas Hofmann and Mainz's Karim Onisiwo.
This season once again the Bundesliga will be officially recognising outstanding individual performances with the Player of the Month award. The award, created by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga in 2018/19 in cooperation with the Bundesliga's official licensing partner, EA Sports, is decided through a two-stage selection process that considers both the players' individual performance data and a vote by fans and experts.
The Frenchman has been a revelation in Jesse Marsch's recent revolution, and Nkunku came close to winning the September Player of the Month gong but was ultimately beaten to the trophy by Florian Wirtz. He was involved in four goals (two goals, two assists) last month and repeated the feat in October with another two goals and two assists as he celebrated his 100th Leipzig appearance by underlining his remarkable consistency.
Nkunku is quickly developing into one of the league's standout players and has already grabbed a goal and an assist to deliver a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the first week of November as the 23-year-old continues to double down on Man of the Matchday performances. "Christo is in super form and has developed brilliantly," said Leipzig teammate Emil Forsberg after the Dortmund game. "He takes on a lot of responsibility and is our key player at the moment."
The other October nominees
Bayern got off to a slow start in October and fell to defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 8 at the beginning of the month. Since then, however, the record champions have been relentless, with Müller in particularly devastating form for his side. The 32-year-old has scored twice and provided five assists in October alone, with all seven goal contributions coming across three wins on the spin since defeat to Frankfurt.
The 5-2 win at Union Berlin that closed out the month on Matchday 10 saw Müller at his very best, with the Germany international laying on three assists and scoring the fifth in a dominant performance. Müller is once again at the forefront of Bayern's title bid and assistant coach Dino Toppmöller emphasised the Raumdeuter's importance to the team after that victory in Berlin. "Thomas is a very important figure in this team because he has so much experience and he has won a lot of titles," said Toppmöller. "He helps the team a lot."
Another Bayern man who does his fair share of heavy lifting is Lewandowski, who seems to break a new record every week. He once again leads the league's scoring charts, with 13 goals in 11 Bundesliga appearances in 2021/22 and five of those strikes came in October. There were doubles in the victories over Bayer Leverkusen and Union that sandwiched his single effort in the 4-0 win at home to Hoffenheim on Matchday 9.
Lewandowski's relentless pursuit of goalscoring perfection has him standing on the brink of lifting the 2021 Ballon d'Or and, after years on the receiving end of Lewandowski's ruthlessness, coach Julian Nagelsmann is clearly enjoying having the Poland captain on his side this season. “He has an incredible dynamic when he goes in on crosses," Nagelsmann told Tz. "I’m glad that I don’t have to talk about him anymore, but can talk to him. It’s much more pleasant than the other way around.”
Gladbach enjoyed their most productive month of the campaign in October, picking up seven points from a possible 12 as they moved into the top half and within striking distance of the European places. Hofmann played a significant role in that turnaround in form, finding the back of the net in the wins over Wolfsburg and Bochum, while also grabbing the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with VfB Stuttgart.
As a result, Hofmann is Gladbach's four-goal top-scorer in 2021/22 and coach Adi Hütter this month reflected that Hofmann is a "critical" component in his side. "Jonas is so important to us," said Hütter after Hofmann sparkled in the win over Bochum. "On the one hand, he is creative and plays with the freedom to find space really well. He knows exactly when to drop deep but also when to press to try and win the ball back. He is critical for our style of play."
Mainz picked up two wins in October, both of which were supplied by Onisiwo star turns. The 29-year-old has developed a superb partnership alongside Jonathan Burkardt and got the ball rolling with the opener in the 4-1 win over Augsburg before teeing up his teammate not once but twice in that victory. Onisiwo then supplied Jae-Sung Lee's opener a week later as the 05ers swept aside Arminia Bielefeld on Matchday 10, just days after he grabbed a goal and an assist against the same opposition in the DFB Cup.
Having been on the wrong end of Onisiwo's MD11 heroics, Augsburg goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz said his opponent was "like Lewandowski" on the day. "Onisiwo could do what he wanted today," said the 'keeper, while Burkardt explained to Kicker that his strike partner has played a significant role in his own superb recent form. "Karim makes it easier for both of us up front," said the 21-year-old.
The Hungary international is well and truly up and running at the Red Bull Arena, having had to wait eight months to make his Bundesliga bow for the club he joined in January. With his previous injury worries firmly set to one side, Szoboszlai has featured in 10 of 11 Matchdays in 2021/22 and has three goals and three more assists to show for his fine work thus far. An assist in the 3-0 win over Bochum on Matchday 7 made for a superb 21-minute cameo, while a goal and an assist came in a 26-minute appearance two weeks later as Leipzig beat Greuther Fürth 4-1.
Marsch has been patient with Szoboszlai so far, but the 21-year-old believes he is getting back to his best after a "very difficult and very hard" period sat on the sidelines last season. “I'm slowly getting in and getting to the level I expect from myself,” he told Goal and Spox. If his October efforts are anything to go by, you'd have to agree.
September 2021 - Florian Wirtz
August 2021 - Erling Haaland