Unsung Bundesliga quintet Thomas Delaney, Jonas Hofmann, Peter Gulacsi, Alfred Finnbogason and Maximilian Eggestein (l.-r.) have been in top form so far in 2018/19. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Unsung Bundesliga quintet Thomas Delaney, Jonas Hofmann, Peter Gulacsi, Alfred Finnbogason and Maximilian Eggestein (l.-r.) have been in top form so far in 2018/19. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Thomas Delaney, Jonas Hofmann, Peter Gulacsi, Alfred Finnbogason and Maximilian Eggestein: 5 Bundesliga stars who have been flying under the radar this season


It's the nature of the modern game: some players – usually the goalscorers – get all the glory, while others quietly go about the business of winning football matches.

Thomas Delaney(Borussia Dortmund)

With almost a third of the Bundesliga season gone, bundesliga.com has picked out five unsung heroes who may not have been grabbing too many headlines, but have certainly had a significant impact for their sides on the pitch…

Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer were the heroes for Dortmund as they beat Bayern Munich in a sensational Klassiker on Matchday 11, but Delaney's absence was keenly felt in the first half. Without the Denmark midfielder, BVB found themselves overrun in the middle of the park and it was no surprise to see Bayern go in 1-0 up at the break. Mahmoud Dahoud did a good job of shoring things up after the interval in place of the former Werder Bremen man – who came off the bench himself late on – but Delaney's importance in the finely tuned Dortmund machine should not be underestimated.

Watch: Patrick Owomoyela meets Thomas Delaney

Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Alongside fellow midfield enforcer Axel Witsel – who has taken rather more plaudits – Delaney has helped to toughen up Dortmund's soft centre, bringing his combative style and considerable experience to bear on a youthful, attacking side. "He's an outstanding player," Reus told kicker. "The kind we've been missing in the past. In the tough games, you need a player like him in that position. Thomas could be very important for us."

The 27-year-old has won over 60 per cent of his challenges, and nearly 70 per cent in the air – not bad for a man who is under six feet tall. He has also completed 85 per cent of his passes, and helped to restore a sense of balance to a BVB team that has often prioritised attack over defence in recent years. With Delaney mopping up in midfield, Dortmund could well be on course for their first Bundesliga title since 2011/12.

Dortmund aren't the only Borussia to be shining in the Bundesliga this season: Gladbach have worked their way up to second place after picking up four wins in their last five outings. Alassane Plea and Thorgan Hazard have led the way in front of goal with 15 strikes between them, but in a slightly deeper role Hofmann has played just as significant a part.

Watch: Does Jonas Hofmann get your vote for October Player of the Month?

Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)

With five goals and three assists in 10 outings, the 26-year-old attacking midfielder has been involved in a goal every 109 minutes, and his first Bundesliga hat-trick helped the Foals canter to a 4-0 victory over Mainz on Matchday 8. In fact, Hofmann is already enjoying his most prolific season in Germany's top flight, having never previously got past three strikes.

"I see him in action every day, and I've always said it: when Jonas realises how good he is, he'll become a complete footballer," said coach Dieter Hecking, who had the nous to realise Hofmann could be more effective as a No.8 than a winger. "He has pace, stamina, great passing ability and sharp tactical instincts." And he could end up being a central figure for an ambitious Gladbach this season.

Consecutive 3-0 wins over European contenders Hertha Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen have pushed Leipzig up to third – and while Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen have been doing the business in front of goal, it is the team's defensive stability that has really stood out in recent weeks. Ralf Rangnick's side have now gone five games without conceding in the Bundesliga, thanks in no small part to goalkeeper Gulacsi.

- © imago

Alfred Finnbogason(Augsburg)

Augsburg may not harbour the same lofty ambitions as some of the teams mentioned above, but the Bavarians have shown they're no pushovers with impressive draws against Bayern, Gladbach and Leipzig this season. Their standout performer has been Finnbogason, who has netted seven goals in just six games. The Iceland striker even grabbed a hat-trick against Freiburg on Matchday 6, and looks set to better his 12-goal tally from last term.

Maximilian Eggestein(Werder Bremen)

Finnbogason's name rarely comes up in a discussion of the Bundesliga's sharpest shooters, yet the 29-year-old boasts an impressive record: 29 goals in 55 top-flight appearances, which makes him Augsburg's all-time leading scorer in the German top flight.

"Of course I am proud to have broken the record," he said, after eclipsing Tobias Werner's previous mark of 23 goals against Freiburg. "I spoke to Tobias and he was very happy for me. I was just happy to be back on the pitch."

Despite a few injury problems earlier this season, Finnbogason is very much Augsburg's talisman, and they will be relying on his ice-cool finishing to ensure they don't get dragged into the thick of the relegation battle.

Even if they have gone off the boil somewhat in recent weeks, Bremen are sitting seventh after 11 games, which should suit a side who were 17th at the same stage last season. Surprisingly, their top scorer this season is not a striker – Max Kruse, Yuya Osako and veteran Claudio Pizarro all have two – but central midfielder Eggestein, who has notched four goals and one assist.

- © gettyimages / Martin Rose