Sebastien Haller, Thorgan Hazard, Luka Jovic, Alassane Plea, Ante Rebic and Marco Reus are the candidates for the Bundesliga’s official November Player of the Month award. The award, created by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga in cooperation with the Bundesliga’s official licensing partner, EA SPORTS FIFA 19, is decided through a two-stage selection process that considers both the players' individual performance data and a vote by fans and experts.
Sebastien Haller(24, FW, Eintract Frankfurt)
A striker’s main job? Scoring goals! Haller did exactly that for Eintracht Frankfurt in November. Three games played, three goals scored. Strong, fast, and with an acute sense of being in the right place at the right time, the Eagles' No.9 scored every time he played, making him the league’s leading marksman over the period. Not exclusively a taker, the Frenchman also made Jonathan de Guzman’s opener in the 3-1 win over FC Augsburg on Matchday 12. All told, Haller ended the month as the league's joint-top scorer (with nine goals) and joint-top assister (six). No attacking player has been more prolific to date.
That Frankfurt are among those in closest pursuit of league leaders Borussia Dortmund is thanks in no small part to Haller. As well as his goals, the combative 24-year-old wins more than half of all his challenges, providing the perfect foil for strike partners Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic. “When they play like that, they take the whole team with them,” said coach Adi Hütter after the trio inspired the 3-0 win over FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 11.
Thorgan Hazard(25, FW, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
If the 'other' Borussia are Dortmund's closest challengers at the top of the table heading into December, Hazard has a lot to do with it. The Belgium international has been a consistent performer all season long: three goals and an assist in September, two and two in October. November saw him involved in at least one goal every game, finding the net once himself and teeing up another two to maintain his central role in his side's success. Add to that his first-ever international brace during this month's UEFA Nations League games, and it's been quite a November…
Though the 25-year-old's goal output has remained healthy — he was the Foals' top scorer last season with ten in the Bundesliga — it is his ability to create chances for others as well as provide laser-guided set-pieces for his teammates that make him so valuable. "The team's win is more important than my goals," he explained after scoring twice in the 3-0 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 10. "It's important we keep working hard. If we do that, we'll keep being successful."
Luka Jovic(20, FW, Eintracht Frankfurt)
His November tally of two goals and as many assists only looks ordinary when compared to the six strikes and single assist he notched in three extraordinary Bundesliga games in October. Along with Haller and Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcacer, the 20-year-old ended the month on top of the Bundesliga's scoring charts with nine, a total collected in just ten appearances.
"Luka again showed he's a big threat in front of goal," Hütter said after seeing his Serbian forward strike twice against Schalke. "He's a player for whom the team's success comes before his own." And it seems the feeling is mutual…"One of the main reasons for our success is that the coach gives us the freedom to express our qualities," explained Jovic. "The whole team is working for us to keep moving forward."
Alassane Plea(25, FW, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
If how quickly a new signing can settle in is a gauge of their quality, then Alassane Plea must be of the very highest calibre. The stats since his summer arrival from OGC Nice have backed up that suggestion, and he polished them up with an impressive month's work: three games, three goals, one assist. That helped him earn a first-ever senior international cap with FIFA World Cup winners France, and took his Bundesliga tally to eight in his first 12 league outings in Germany.
"We have a great team, we work exceptionally hard and that's why things are going well for us," said the 25-year-old. "I have thank my teammates a lot. They have welcomed me so warmly, I feel really good and want to help the team with my goals to be even more successful."
Ante Rebic(25, FW, Eintracht Frankfurt
You cannot have Haller and Jovic without Rebic, so entwined have the trio's talents and achievements been this season. The Croatia international's World Cup exploits meant he joined Frankfurt's party a little later than his partners-in-goals, but November saw him hit the ground at full pelt. Two goals and an assist in the month took him to five strikes and two assists in just eight appearances this season.
The 25-year-old has confirmed the positive impression he gave in 2017/18, and has lost none of his phenomenal pace, clocking a lightning 20.8 mph this term. He has also been his team's lucky talisman: he's unbeaten in six Bundesliga appearances this season, winning five of them. Frankfurt fans must be so happy their club tied down their star with a pre-World Cup contract extension through to 2022.
Marco Reus(MF, 29, Borussia Dortmund)
Marco Reus will always be the first player to win the Player of the Month award after picking up the inaugural honour in September, but it surely won't be the last the Borussia Dortmund captain claims. His month's efforts in November certainly put him in strong contention: three goals in three games — as well as an assist — meant the Germany international kept the league leaders rolling at a stunning average of three goals a game.
The Matchday 11 Klassiker with FC Bayern München saw him at the peak of his prodigious powers. "That was a great game," said the 29-year-old, who struck twice in BVB's spectacular 3-2 win. "We're doing well by just focusing on ourselves and taking every game as it comes. In the end, we'll have to see where we end up."