The fact that Borussia Dortmund have established a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga after seven games is due in part to the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at one end of the field, but they would not be so far ahead without building on solid foundations at the back.
Helping in that department is the TAG Heuer Rookie of the Month for September, Dan-Axel Zagadou.
"He's 18, quick and has really good technique," enthused his coach Peter Bosz, who is backed up by the statistics to prove it. With 59 per cent of his challenges won in four starts, for a player expected to be fed slowly into the Dortmund first-team, he helped the Westphalians get through the month conceding just two in five games.
He beat Eintracht Frankfurt's Sebastian Haller and Jean-Kevin Augustin of RB Leipzig to the prize after the trio were shortlisted by Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus for their eye-catching performances in the month of September.