FC Schalke 04 are another team to have continued last term's good form, but few would have expected Eintracht Frankfurt to be mixing it among the UEFA Champions League places.
However, while the current top four may be working well as collectives, that's not to say it's only their players shining in the individual stakes. Indeed, the likes of VfB Stuttgart, Fortuna Düsseldorf and even struggling Greuther Fürth all boast standout performers who top various stats categories heading into the international break. bundesliga.com took the domestic pause as an opportunity to pick out both the stars and unsung heroes of the season so far.
Greuther Fürth may be languishing at the foot of the table, but that is certainly not for a lack of trying. has covered 85.2 kilometres already this season, one kilometre more than his nearest rival, Stuttgart's (84.1). Fürstner covered the greatest distance on Matchday 2, when he ran over 13.2km in Fürth's only win of the campaign against 1. FSV Mainz 05. has quite literally hit the ground running with 83.7km covered in his first seven games for Borussia Mönchengladbach, while Fortuna Düsseldorf's has taken to his first season in the top flight with particular diligence, covering 83.2km, 200 metres more than Werder Bremen's .
has given a perfect demonstration of the Japanese work ethic, making a total of 196 sprints in his first seven games in the Bundesliga. The Eintracht Frankfurt forward was particularly active against defending champions Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 5, with 37 lung-busting bursts. His efforts have been rewarded with one goal and an assist for Frankfurt so far. Stuttgart are once again represented with sprinting 192 times, 12 more than Dortmund's most active player, . may not have found the back of the net as often as he would have hoped for VfL Wolfsburg, but his coach Felix Magath can have no qualms about his effort with 179 sprints, three more than Fortuna revelation .
Martin Harnik never seems to stop. The Stuttgart striker leads the rankings for intensive runs, gauged by the number of times a player spends running at a speed of at least 4m/s over two seconds, or at least 5m/s over one second, but not over 6m/s, which then becomes a sprint. The Austrian international has made 503 such runs so far this season, yet he has only played in six games, representing an average of 79 per match.
is two goals behind the league's top goalscorer , but only opposition goalkeepers and inaccuracy have prevented him from topping that chart. The Bayer 04 Leverkusen striker has had more shots on goal than anyone else this season with 32. By comparison, Mandzukic has needed just 22 attempts for his six goals, while Takashi Inui has found the back of the net only once with 26 efforts. Kießling's nine goalbound strikes on Matchday 1 were not enough to earn Leverkusen victory against Eintracht Frankfurt back in August, and nobody has yet matched that tally for efforts on goal in a single game this season. and have also been trigger happy this term, with 22 and 21 shots respectively.
Getting the ball into the box is the speciality of Frankfurt's
, who has sent in 29 crosses in the first seven matchdays, setting up two goals in the process. He delivered nine balls into the area against Hamburger SV and Borussia Mönchengladbach - a figure which no other player has bettered in a single game this term. Good service from out wide has also been provided by Wolfsburg's (28 crosses), while the lack of goals scored by Bremen striker is compensated by the fact he has delivered 26 crosses. Thomas Müller also has a tendency to move out wide, sending in 24 crosses, three more than Gladbach's marauding winger .
There can be few complaints about the success rate of Fortuna Düsseldorf's Oliver Fink when it comes to tackling. The 30-year-old midfielder has won 124 duels, a success rate of 55 per cent. In terms of efficiency, nobody beats FC Schalke 04's , who has won 78.6 per cent of his challenges, even though he has not been involved in as many duels as Fink.
FC Bayern Munich captain is hungrier for the ball than anybody in the league. The Germany defender has made 665 contacts in the first seven matchdays, with no other player even reaching 600. That works out at an average of 95 touches per game, just over one per minute. His Bayern team mate is second in the list with 585, while of Dortmund is third with 567. FC Augsburg's is also frequently involved, coming into possession a total of 559 times. Fagner is fifth with 554 touches.
There is clearly plenty of Brazilian flair in Bayern defender Dante, who, despite being a centre-back is not the kind to just hoof the ball into touch. When he gets the ball, the 28-year-old remains faithful to his roots by seeking a more intelligent way out - with a pass. The former Borussia Mönchengladbach man has sought out a team-mate 520 times, with a 92 per cent success rate. Only a few of those (36) were long balls out of defence and even then more than half (53 per cent) found the intended target.