Bayern Munich flexed their depth in attacking options, bagging 5 without the likes of regulars Serge Gnabry or Thiago starting. Bayer Leverkusen out-classed Borussia Monchengladbach to move one point ahead of them in the standings. Hertha Berlin added a 4-0 defeat over local rivals, Union Berlin, to continue their fine form under new manager Bruno Labbadia. Haaland didn't score, and Dortmund only posted 2 shots on target, but this was enough to secure three points and keep pressure at the summit of the table. RB Leipzig turned their act around, crushing Mainz in a 5-0 win away from home.
Reviewing Last Week's Players to Watch:
Last week, we highlighted 5 players to keep an eye on for the fixtures of Matchday 27. So how did they perform?
1. Matheus Cunha
The 20 year old Brazilian found himself trending in the Top 200 for the vast majority of last week. Bundesliga's return saw him bag a goal against Hoffenheim, displaying some creative football that saw him rise from £1.50 to £1.90. We highlighted his rise for the very anticipation of what was to come. On Friday night, Hertha stormed to a 4-0 victory over Union Berlin, where Cunha bagged a goal and was a constant threat on the ball. The second half performance from Hertha was a fantastic indication of the quality of attacking Football that new manager Labbadia is aiming for. So far, 2 games in charge, 7 goals scored and none conceded. Hertha Berlin look a great side in terms of the value they offer, given their low profile players. Cunha rose to £2.12 over the weekend, though still looks as though there's plenty yet to come from the creative forward.
2. Joshua Kimmich
In last week's Bundesliga review, we outlined the attraction to Kimmich. His style of play in the Bayern set up is not exactly 'hype' worthy. He doesn't often get on the scoresheet, but does provide a few assists and solid chance creation. His PB 229 last week gave us plenty of reason to suggest he's one to watch. This weekend he posted another highly respectable 222 PB, just 3 points short of the Top Midfielder AND Star Player, Kai Havertz at 225. Only 3 points short of back to back PB dividends.
3. Alphonso Davies
He showed a dominant return to action on the first game back, playing down the left wing. He followed it up again with a goal and an assist from an attacking left-back position this weekend against Frankfurt. He's still tearing down that side of the pitch, and there are not many defenders in Bundesliga that can deal with him right now. He's showing his class every week and developing at an alarming rate - he'll be one to watch for the foreseeable future.
4. Kai Havertz
Our review last week stated 'For a summer hold, Havertz is offering a lucrative opportunity'. At the time, he was around £5.40. One week on, he's £6.82 and won Star Player, Top Midfielder and 1st in Media Ranking over the weekend.
Don't say we didn't give you the heads up. He'll remain one to watch for weeks to come. One uneasy problem we foresee is that Havertz may struggle to perform as well as he did this weekend, every weekend. His form is red hot, but even when he's bagging two goals and shining in that Leverkusen side, his PB only hit 225. Kimmich doesn't need to get on the score sheet, nor assist, to come dangerously close to winning PB. Havertz still offers media speculation surrounding transfer, and his performances still look worthy of good PB score. It's just worth keeping an eye on how much he has to contribute to put up a good PB score in comparison to Bayern's midfielders.
5. Yussuf Poulsen
On the basis of RB Leipzig's first game back after the intermission, we outlined Poulsen as a player to keep an eye on during his 250th RB Leipzig appearance. The Danish International was sat at £0.95, and had started and scored for Leipzig despite them only taking one point against Freiburg. We anticipated Leipzig sticking with Poulsen and Werner leading the attack in Sunday's match against Mainz. They did, and were rewarded handsomely. Timo Werner bagged a hat-trick to steal the show, but Yussuf Poulsen contributed a goal and two assists himself. The athletic forward had 4 shots, won 4 aerial duels, made 2 key passes and harassed the Mainz defence throughout the game. Off the ball, Poulsen is key for Leipzig (not that this helps PB, but it helps earn him minutes). For example, Werner's first goal was facilitated through Poulsen occupying both centre backs leaving his strike partner wide open. Poulsen is not a highlight reel like Werner - but at around £1 as a starting striker in a title-contending Bundesliga side, he's certainly looking like good value. RB have some great looking fixtures ahead, and Poulsen could find a habit of contributing on the offensive end.
Players to watch going forward
Aside from the previously outlined players who are still worth monitoring, here's a list of 5 players we can see showing promise on Football Index from next week.
1. Dodi Lukebakio
Lukebakio stood out as a key threat for Hertha on Friday night's fixture against Union Berlin. His pace saw him bettering defenders throughout the match, which inevitably rewarded him in the second half when he rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net. The manner in which Hertha are playing will suit Lukebakio against any high defensive line, or teams liable to counter-attacks. He has the pace and composure to punish on a regular basis. If Hertha can maintain form, Lukebakio will likely start to increase his PB rating. At £1.05 and 22 years old, the Belgian has a lot of room to grow. The goal against Union could be that trigger that sees him establish a routine in contributing on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see the midweek fixture between Hertha and RB Leipzig, which will be a certain test for both teams as they both like to get forward. Lukebakio could use his pace to good use on the counter when RB Leipzig throw men forward - offering an unlikely opportunity to get his name out there on the index against a big side.
2. Vedad Ibisevic
We never thought we'd be mentioning a 35 year old Bosnian targetman in our 'ones to watch'. However, Hertha Berlin's current captain is in mighty fine form. He thumped home a terrific header, an assist to Cunha AND an assist to Lukebakio in the 4-0 win. The week before that he also got on the scoresheet. That's two goals and two assists in two games. He's one of Bundesliga's hottest forwards in a team that are 7-0 up since Bundesliga returned. It's hard to not consider Ibisevic a player worth keeping a tab on. He's won 6p in PB dividends and another 4p in IPDs. For a player that was £0.30, that's a 33% ROI in just a two week period. Of course, there's a good chance we've missed the boat on this one - but if Ibisevic makes another impressive display, traders could be left kicking themselves that they didn't consider it on the basis of his age alone. His form and captaincy indicates he's as important to Hertha as ever. We're not suggesting he's a smart investment, but those that took the wild chance on him back on Matchday 26 could have great returns at this rate. He's worth watching regardless of if he's your type of investment.
3. Marcus Thuram
The young French winger has caught the attention of many traders in the last couple of weeks. He was one of our Bundesliga Best Buys back when the return of German Football was announced. He's scored in both games since returning, and looks the greatest threat of any Monchengladbach player. They face a struggling Werder Bremen on Tuesday evening, where Thuram could run riot against the poorest defence in the league (2.3 goals conceded per 90mins). Despite posting poor PB against Leverkusen, Thuram certainly offers potential to rise the Index as a 22 year old in good form.
4. Filip Kostic
Eintracht Frankfurt have not had an easy return to Bundesliga. They've lost to both Monchengladbach and Bayern, failing to hold much of a grip in either game in terms of possession and rhythm. Despite being sat in 14th, Frankfurt actually have the 7th best scoring record in Bundesliga this term. The remaining fixtures in their campaign are all against weaker sides than the two they've faced most recently, and we'd expect them to start to gather themselves to push on against the weaker opponents. Kostic leads their creativity in the final third, so we'd expect him to start to contribute more at that end in the Freiburg and Wolfsburg fixtures this week.
5. Leon Goretzka
All signs indicate it's going to be an incredible game against Dortmund on Tuesday night. The selection process for Bayern is more than difficult to call. Goretzka started in place of Thiago against Eintracht Frankfurt and nailed a terrific strike into the top corner to open their scoring just 15 minutes in. Kimmich has been outlined as a PB pace-setter, but Goretzka sits at just £1.62 compared to Kimmich's £4.40 and Thiago's £2.54. The 25 year old German may not get a start against Dortmund, but his contributions this season from the bench are still outstanding. He's netted three and assisted once in his last 4 outings, averaging a goal-involvement every 54 minutes. Over the last 5 appearances he's averaged 204 per 90 - so he's certainly got room to grow if he finds himself getting more minutes.
Wildcard - Kingsley Coman
Coman is not quite so 'current' in terms of players to watch, rather a player worth monitoring in weeks to come. The French winger has consistently been plagued by injury, crucially stunting his growth on the index during those 'wonderkid' years. Now aged 23, he's facing increased competition from Gnabry, Davies and Perisic. However, he was given the chance against Frankfurt to start - a strategic move presumably to rotate the squad and prevent burning out the lightning wingers who cover so much ground at Bayern. Coman took the opportunity in his stride, assisting Lewandowski and winning Top Forward dividends despite Muller being the standout cog for Munich in that fixture. At £2.42, if Coman finds himself featuring more regularly in this Bayern squad he'll be a good prospective investment. Traders be weary though - the combination of his injury history, the current competition and anticipated arrival of Leroy Sane could make things tricky for the French Winger to feature as regularly as an investor would hope. Even with Alaba, Perisic and Coutinho all potentially leaving, Coman's fitness will be a vital decider in how much game-time he receives next season down the wing whilst Davies, Gnabry and potentially Sane are on the roster. If he gets the nod and continues form in the mid-week clash against Dortmund, he'll be one to monitor, even as a substitute.
Let's hope for some more terrific matches throughout this week in Bundesliga. We'll be recapping on this article in next week's Bundesliga Review.