No player in Europe’s major leagues has outscored 1.FC Köln's Anthony Modeste as we head into the international break; FC Bayern München’s Joshua Kimmich has gone from stopgap centre-back to goalscoring midfielder; and the champions are undefeated - yet so are RB Leipzig and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim…
It has been a thrilling season in Germany’s top flight so far and, refreshingly, incredibly difficult to predict. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring and Manuel Neuer keeping clean sheets will have raised few eyebrows, but that the following players have also starred is rather more surprising.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look with Part II of the surprise team of the season so far. Next up, the midfield!
Right midfield: Kerem Demirbay (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)
Expected: A Borussia Dortmund youth product, Turkey Under-21 cap Demirbay arrived at Hoffenheim in the summer having most recently plied his trade in Bundesliga 2 with Fortuna Düsseldorf, who finished 14th last season, and without an international appearance in three years.
Reality: Demirbay has been one of the star performers as Hoffenheim have stunned the division to take an undefeated record into the break. The versatile 23-year-old has scored three and assisted two, with his most recent strike - sent fizzing past Neuer as Hoffenheim drew 1-1 with Bayern last time out - one of the goals of the season so far.
Watch: Highlights of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's 1-1 draw with FC Bayern München:
Centre midfield: Naby Keita (RB Leipzig)
Expected: Keita arrived at Leipzig in the summer, following the now well-trodden path from Salzburg to Saxony. A two-time Austrian Bundesliga champion, could the 21-year-old Guinea international keep up his form with a step up in competition?
Reality: A resounding ‘yes’ has been the answer so far. Keita has scored three goals and become a key component of Leipzig’s engine room as the club have motored up the standings. His winning goal against Dortmund on Matchday 2 was the club’s first ever top-flight tally. Self-monikered “Deco” after the former Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona great, Keita figures to score and assist many more.
Watch: Naby Keita's historic strike for RB Leipzig against Borussia Dortmund:
Centre midfield: Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern München)
Expected: Kimmich impressed at centre-back under Pep Guardiola last season with Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber plunging the club into a defensive injury crisis. But with Boateng back and Mats Hummels arriving, his path into the team looked blocked - especially with the signing of EURO 2016 winner Renato Sanches in his preferred central midfield position.
Reality: Kimmich has arguably been Bayern’s player of the season so far. Only Robert Lewandowski has bettered his haul of four Bundesliga goals, and he bagged his first international and UEFA Champions League strikes in a whirlwind September to boot.
Watch: Up close with FC Bayern München's prodigy, Joshua Kimmich:
Left midfield: Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt):
Expected: Fabian arrived at Frankfurt last winter as CONCACAF Champions League winner and Olympic gold medallist. Nine starts and no goals later, and the Mexican was struggling to emerge from the shadows of his best friend and international teammate, Bayer O4 Leverkusen’s Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.
Reality: With three goals and four assists, Fabian is Eintracht’s most dangerous attacker, despite lining up in midfield every week. He scored the equaliser as Frankfurt drew 2-2 with champions Bayern on Matchday 7, and was voted bundesliga.com’s #BLMVP for two consecutive weeks in October.
Watch: Marco Fabian on facing Eintracht Frankfurt colleague Timothy Chandler when Mexico take on the USA: