They may not have been stealing the headlines, but RB Leipzig midfield motor Marcel Sabitzer, Fortuna Düsseldorf goal-grabber Rouwen Hennings, Union Berlin skipper Christopher Trimmel and Freiburg keeper Mark Flekken are all immensely valuable players for their respective teams this season, and should be in a few more Bundesliga Fantasy Manager ones too...
Fantasy hat on, bundesliga.com explains just how important this quartet have been for their respective sides and why they deserve a few more plaudits...
Leipzig’s rollicking start to the season that sees them sitting pretty in first place over the winter break has largely been attributed to the 18-goal heroics of Timo Werner. And while the Germany international rightly deserves plaudits for his stunning first half of the campaign, he would likely be the first to tell you how important his Austrian teammate has been in putting Leipzig top of the pile going into the new year.
Watch: Sabitzer, Poulsen and Werner giving RB Leipzig wings
Sabitzer has teed up 39 Hinrunde chances for Werner and Co., as well as four assists courtesy of his eye-of-the-needle passing range. Sabitzer has also chipped in with six goals already, with four coming courtesy of absolute scorchers from outside the box. His lethal long-range and set-piece delivery make him a constant threat to opposition defences, as well as an immensely valuable asset in Fantasy Manager teams. No wonder the the 25-year-old is the this season’s fifth-highest Fantasy scorer, with a mind-boggling 190 points to his name already.
The exploits of Hennings may have gone under the radar for some due to Fortuna’s struggles so far this season, even if his contribution to their cause is staring us in the face. His 11 goals from 16 appearances are only bettered by the frankly silly returns of Robert Lewandowski (19) and Werner (18), and ranks as the best Bundesliga haul of his career. Hennings has also equalled Fortuna’s club-record for most goals during the first half of a campaign - set by Klaus Allofs back in 1978/79.
Without Hennings, Fortuna would doubtless be far worse off than the 16th place they occupy at the end of 2019. The former Germany U21 international has accounted for 11 of Fortuna’s 18 goals so far - a league-high share of 61 per cent - bagged nine of their last 11 league goals and scored in all four of the Flingeraner’s victories. He has been coach Friedhelm Funkel’s leading man, and once you throw in his three strikes from spot-kicks and an unsung total of 114 fantasy points, you can see why Hennings is invaluable to the armchair coaches among us, too.
Look up ‘captain fantastic’ in the dictionary, and you might just find a picture of Trimmel. A fierce competitor and absolute terrier of a right-back, the 32-year-old has been exceptional as Bundesliga newsboys Union have defied the odds to sit 11th at the midway stage of the season. His unrivalled commitment is typified by the 190.6 kilometres that he’s run across his 17 appearances - a fourth-best tally in the league for distance covered.
Trimmel has also offered one of Union’s biggest threats going forward, his corners providing a league-high 27 scoring chances and four assists. For a side that have scored nine of their 20 goals this season courtesy of set-pieces - more than any team in the Bundesliga - he is a significant weapon in their arsenal. Despite being the fifth-highest scoring defender in game with 163 points, only eight per cent of Fantasy Managers own Trimmel - but for how much longer…?
If people have been sleeping on Tremmel, they have positively hibernated on Flekken. Only four per cent of Fantasy Managers call the Freiburg stopper their own, despite his haul of 79 points - just three shy of last year’s best goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi - and his bargain price of 2m. Not bad for a so-called second-choice keeper, who didn’t come into the side until Matchday 9.
Since then, the 26-year-old Dutchman has saved a league-high 78 per cent of the shots he has faced, making 50 saves in the process. That’s the 10th most in the Bundesliga, with all nine keepers above him having played at least 14 matches compared to Flekken’s nine. He’s also picked up two clean sheets in the Hinrunde, whilst saving Freiburg’s bacon with two quite stunning stops in the the 2-2 draw with struggling Werder Bremen. Freiburg No.1 Alexander Schwolow might have a job on winning his place back…