Jude Bellingham, Jamal Musiala and Dayot Upamecano were among the Bundesliga stars shining brightly at the 2022 World Cup. bundesliga.com has selected an XI of those who made the biggest mark under the world’s gaze:
Gladbach’s Swiss shot stopper has been inflicting sleepless nights on Bundesliga forwards for eight years now. It was therefore no surprise to see Sommer take his ever-dependable form to the World Cup and be a bedrock for Switzerland as they navigated their way out of a devilish group. He kept a clean sheet as his national team secured a vital 1-0 opening win over Cameroon. He then pulled off four saves as the Swiss went within seven minutes of keeping a sensational Brazil attack scoreless.
Mazraoui has been vying with Benjamin Pavard for a coveted starting spot at Bundesliga champions Bayern this season. The attack-minded full-back has helped his case by taking a key role in Morocco’s sensational defence. The Atlas Lions conceded only one goal in five matches on a historic run to the last four that sent shockwaves around the globe. Despite missing the quarter-final victory over Portugal, Mazraoui gained legendary status for life in Morocco along with his teammates for appearing in famous wins against Belgium, Canada and Spain.
Upamecano’s composure has been known to Bundesliga followers for five years. After swapping for RB Leipzig for Munich in 2021, the roving rock of a centre-back made his first World Cup appearance in this year’s tournament – and slotted right into France’s winning machine. The beefy Bayern defender started in both group stage wins for Les Bleus as well as knockout successes against Poland and England, before playing every minute of the enthralling final against Argentina.
Watch: Analysing Bayern's Upamecano
Donning a mask after recent facial injury, Leipzig’s steely centre-back played the role of a defensive superhero at the World Cup. Gvardiol was a standout performer in a Croatia side who battled well beyond expectations into the last four. He built on the kind of form that has earned him a place on the 2022 Golden Boy Award shortlist with particularly dominant performances against Belgium in a nail-biting group-stage finale and against Brazil in an incredible quarter-final win. He then crowned his tournament with a flying header - and arguably could've won a penalty after a barnstorming run - to secure the Vatreni third place against Morocco.
Watch: The best of Gvardiol in the Bundesliga
The skilful and experienced Dortmund man had a World Cup packed with moments to cherish. Having been trusted with a full-back berth ahead of Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo, Guerreiro was credited with an assist when Bruno Fernandes swept the ball past Cristiano Ronaldo’s head and in as Portugal beat Uruguay 2-0. Guerreiro added a silky finish of his own before linking up with Rafael Leao to tee up another strike as Portugal romped to an amazing 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the last 16.
Bundesliga watchers had no doubt that Bellingham would be a stunning success at the 2022 World Cup. The boy with the world at his feet slotted right into a key role for England, oozing class with his all-action style, intelligent play and immense leadership ability. The 19-year-old Dortmund starlet scored the Three Lions’ first goal of the tournament with a header against Iran. Another super showing in their quarter-final defeat against France left England fans dreaming of a bright future based around Bellingham.
Watch: Bellingham - made in the Bundesliga
While the likes of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez will be most remembered for inspiring Argentina to glory, Exequiel Palacios earned a precious World Cup Winner’s medal in his own valuable way. He played the final 20 minutes as Argentina got their campaign back on track with a vital 2-0 group stage win over Mexico. The bustling 24-year-old Leverkusen talent featured again as a late substitute as La Albiceleste closed out knockout wins over Australia and Croatia on the way to lifting the trophy – an honour he will surely never forget as he returns to his club Leverkusen as the Bundesliga's incumbent world champion.
Watch: The best of Palacios for Leverkusen
Straight after inspiring Freiburg to a remarkable second spot before the Bundesliga broke for the World Cup, the spirited winger made quite the splash at the big tournament. He latched onto a parry from Manuel Neuer to slot past a stunned German goalkeeper and level the score in Japan’s opening encounter. The resulting 2-1 win sparked an outbreak of World Cup fever in Japan. Doan ratcheted this up to another level by sweeping a sensational effort in from the edge of the box against Spain – as a further historic 2-1 victory was secured.
The agile Leipzig attacker was granted a key role in the Spain attack at the World Cup. When La Roja start firing they are unstoppable, as Costa Rica found out to their cost when they were brushed aside 7-0 in one of the showings of the tournament. Olmo opened the scoring in the rout with his delightful control, spin and deft chipped finish over Keylor Navas. The ex-Barcelona and Dinamo Zagreb man then poked the ball through to Alvaro Morata for Spain’s seventh of the night.
After capping a meteoric rise at Bayern with some simply formidable form this season, Musiala was the bright light of Germany’s World Cup campaign. The 19-year-old’s dribbling ability, attacking intent and sheer confidence earned no end of admiration. A trademark drive forward saw Musiala knock the ball on for Niclas Füllkrug to strike Germany’s equaliser in a pulsating 1-1 draw with Spain. We will see far more of him at future tournaments.
Watch: Analysing teen sensation Musiala
Fresh from firing 10 goals as Werder Bremen made a solid start to the Bundesliga season this autumn, Füllkrug wasted no time in justifying his call-up from Hansi Flick at the World Cup. The top German marksman in the world fed his insatiable scoring habit with two strikes in three substitute appearances at the tournament. Füllkrug slotted in clinically from short-range against both Spain and Costa Rica – staking a claim for further national team action in style.
Watch: All of Füllkrug's Bundesliga goals this season
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