The king is dead! Well, not quite - he retired actually. After three trophy-laden seasons and countless passes of all shapes and sizes with Bayern Munich, Xabi Alonso hung up his boots and allowed the rest of the league a chance to stake a claim to the Bundesliga passing king's throne.
bundesliga.com has totted up the passes, counted those rare misplaced ones on our fingers and now brings you the league's top five pass masters vying for Alonso's title...
5) Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), 92%
Vidal has been handed the mantle of Bayern's senior midfield general following Alonso’s retirement. Featuring in all but one of the champions’ Bundesliga games so far this season, “El Guerrero” has been as competitive as ever in the centre of the park, whilst also taking on the role of leader in directing Bayern’s play. Averaging almost a pass every minute, Vidal has seen only 18 of his 231 attempted passes fail to find their target. No midfielder has played more passes this term, and it’s a record that confirms his position as Alonso’s heir at Bayern, but it’s not enough to snatch the title for the Bundesliga as a whole…
4) Dennis Geiger (Hoffenheim), 93%
The man whose name means ‘violinist’ in German, Dennis Geiger has been leading the Hoffenheim orchestra this term. At 19 years of age, he’s only just old enough to not require a regent to govern for him should he take over Alonso’s position as the king of passing. The youngster has shown admirable composure in his five appearances in the Hoffenheim first team this season. Filling the boots left by Sebastian Rudy’s departure to Bayern was never going to be easy, but Julian Nagelsmann appears to have found the ideal player, with Geiger stringing the ball to a teammate 93 per cent of the time.
Watch: Geiger's maiden goal for Hoffenheim against Schalke
3) Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Dortmund), 93%
Already an established Bundesliga name at 21, Mahmoud Dahoud has quickly adapted to life at Borussia Dortmund following his summer move from Borussia Mönchengladbach, thriving under new coach Peter Bosz. A fixture in this Dortmund team setting the pace in the Bundesliga, Dahoud has picked out a player in black and yellow 93 per cent of the time – no easy feat in a team that loves to get the ball down and pass, and of all the players to feature in the top 20 for pass completion this season, no player has lost the ball fewer times than the Syrian-born German.
2) Denis Zakaria (Borussia Mönchengladbach), 94%
One of the newest faces in the Bundesliga, Denis Zakaria made a flawless start to life in the German top flight. A derby win over Cologne on his debut and a goal seven minutes into his second game were nothing compared to the fact that the 20-year-old did not misplace a single pass in his first two Gladbach games! Unsurprisingly compared to Swiss compatriot Granit Xhaka, Zakaria has quickly filled the gap left by Dahoud’s departure. Indeed, he boasts a better pass-completion than his predecessor, with 94 per cent of his attempted 194 passes finding a fellow Foal.
1) Julian Schuster (Freiburg), 94%
Unsung hero? Julian Schuster currently holds the statistically strongest claim to Alonso’s title of Bundesliga pass master. Despite playing for a Freiburg side without a win to their name, the club’s captain has been the most assured midfielder on the ball this season. Perhaps it’s down to the excellent visibility in Germany’s sunniest city, but the 32-year-old has only failed to find a teammate on seven occasions in the opening six matchdays. His completion rate of more than 94 per cent puts him on early pole in the race for Alonso’s title…