With 16 rounds of fixtures played going into the winter break, we asked you who you think the best 11 players have been so far in the Bundesliga this season. You were spoilt for choice, but the votes are in. Here’s the best XI thus far in 2023/24, as chosen by you…
Dortmund may not boast the meanest defence in the Bundesliga, having conceded over twice as many goals as leaders Leverkusen, but they certainly boast one of the division’s best goalkeepers. Kobel ranks second among first-choice shot-stoppers for the proportion of efforts on his goal that he’s saved (72 percent) and is among the leaders for keeper efficiency (the number of saves made compared to the number of expected goals against) at +6.7, meaning the Switzerland international has prevented BVB from conceding even more.
Watch: The best of Kobel in the Bundesliga
Nominally a defender, Frimpong has helped Leverkusen concede the fewest goals in the Bundesliga, but most of his best work has been done in the attacking third. The Dutchman has scored five goals and set up a further six as Die Werkself reached new year unbeaten in all competitions and top of the Bundesliga. And he’s been tireless down the Bayer right, with 587 sprints almost 100 more than any other player in Germany’s top flight.
Watch: Bundesliga Beyond with Frimpong
He may have turned 35 in December, but Hummels has been proving this season that he is still one of the most consistent and reliable centre-backs in the game. He’s won almost two thirds of his duels so far this campaign, leads the way in black and yellow for passing accuracy (91.3 percent), and bagged a brace in Dortmund’s thrilling 4-2 win at Freiburg on Matchday 4. It saw the Germany international equal the Bundesliga record of having scored in 16 consecutive seasons.
Watch: Hummels - 16 seasons, 16 goals
After being named Defender of the Season in Italy’s Serie A last year, Kim has quickly adapted to life in Germany, starting all 15 of Bayern’s league assignments thus far. The South Korea international averages more touches of the ball per 90 minutes (113) than anyone else in the division, ranks second for the number of passes played (1,402) despite playing a game less than the rest, and tops the Bayern chart for challenges won (65 percent). The ‘Monster’, as he’s known, was also named South Korean Footballer of the Year for 2023 prior to joining up with his national team to compete at the AFC Asian Cup.
Grimaldo is another who’s taken to Bundesliga life immediately, doing very much the same job on the Leverkusen left as Frimpong on the right. His seven goals – including two sublime free-kicks – place him second in the Bayer scoring chart behind Victor Boniface, while the freshly minted senior Spain international has also chipped in with five assists. Again, only striker Boniface can beat the 28-year-old for goal contributions in Werkself colours.
Watch: Leverkusen’s Spanish Maestros
Given the attention that summer signings Grimaldo and Boniface have had since arriving, Wirtz’s work has gone somewhat under the radar. But the 20-year-old most certainly looks back to his brilliant best after his cruciate ligament injury. Five goals and seven assists (second only to Leroy Sané across the division) are just the headline stats for the German playmaker. Wirtz has been the league leaders’ main creative source so far with 39 passes to a shot – only Sané, Julian Brandt and Franck Honorat can boast greater numbers.
Xhaka is another who has slotted right into the Xabi Alonso jigsaw at the BayArena, emerging as the on-field director of proceedings. The summer signing from Arsenal has started all 16 Bundesliga fixtures, has covered more ground than any other player in the division (189.7 kilometres), has had the most touches of the ball (1,767) and has found a teammate with 93 percent of his passes – a remarkable figure for a central midfielder.
Watch: Xhaka under the tactical microscope
Leipzig sit fourth ahead of the resumption of play in 2024 and have new man Xavi to thank for some of their best moments. The Paris Saint-Germain loanee is second only to Sané in the division-wide assist chart with seven provisions, leading the team standings for chances created (38). The Dutch playmaker also has four goals of his own, meaning only Loïs Openda has been directly involved in more Bundesliga goals for Die Roten Bullen this term.
Watch: Xavi & Openda - Leipzig's latest deadly duo
At the time the Bundesliga shut down for the winter, Sané was the only player across Europe’s top five leagues to have both eight goals and assists in league games this season. He outright leads the Bundesliga for provisions as a result and tops the standings for chances created (45), while eight goals equals his personal best for an entire Bundesliga campaign, with only 15 games played. It appears to be his new partnership with Harry Kane that has brought out the best in the 27-year-old.
Watch: Analysing Kane & Sané's partnership
As for Kane himself, he’s been smashing all sorts of records since setting foot on German soil. He’s had a direct hand in 26 goals from only 15 games, which is as many as division leader Randol Kolo Muani got in the whole of last season. The England captain is also the first player in Bundesliga history to have 21 goals from his first 15 appearances in the league. His xG of 14.9 and shot efficiency (+6.1) are both the best of any player in the German top flight so far in 2023/24 as he leads the race for the European Golden Boot.
Watch: Every Kane goal so far in the Bundesliga
It wasn’t actually Kane who originally led the scoring chart in the Bundesliga this season. Guirassy got off to an absolute flier, setting a new league record with 14 goals after the first eight matchdays. He now has 17 to his name from only 14 appearances, which is already five more than a Stuttgart player had ever managed at the halfway stage of a Bundesliga season. Only Kane can beat the Guinea international, who is off to the Africa Cup of Nations in January, for combined goals and assists (18) and shot efficiency (+5.1).
Watch: The best of Guirassy
While third-placed Stuttgart have been grabbing the headlines thanks to the goals of Guirassy, arguably their best player this season has been goalkeeper Nübel. On loan from Bayern, the 27-year-old has been consistently solid in the VfB net, keeping six clean sheets – behind only Lukáš Hrádecký with seven – and again only trailing the Leverkusen man and Kobel for his save rate (71.6 percent). A keeper efficiency of +4.2 ranks the Schalke youth product fifth across Bundesliga custodians.
It looked at one point last season than Tah’s time at Leverkusen might be up, but the centre-back has been a man reborn this term at the heart of the back three for the league leaders and division’s meanest defence. The 27-year-old boasts the best tackling stats with the Werkself (63 percent won), tops the league standings for pass completion (96.9 percent), and is also the top-scoring centre-back with three goals.
Musiala is yet to quite get going this season, only starting seven out of 15 Bundesliga games and coming on in three more. We’ve seen glimpses of the 20-year-old Bayern forward at his best. He’s got three goals and two assists so far.
It’s taken some extraordinary numbers from Kane, Guirassy and Sané to keep Undav out of this team. The Brighton and Hove Albion loanee has struck nine times in his first 13 Bundesliga outings, while only Kane has netted more times (14) since the Stuttgart man got his maiden goal on Matchday 6. Originally just back-up to the free-scoring Guirassy, Undav is now being used in tandem with his fellow striker, having scored the opening goal four times this term, and pushing for a place at UEFA Euro 2024 this summer.
Vote for February's Goal of the Month!
The likes of Harry Kane, Xavi Simons, Granit Xhaka and Deniz Undav are up for February's award, so who will you choose to take home the Goal of the Month crown? Vote now!
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