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Bundesliga Team of the Week: Round 16

Goalkeeper:

Oka Nikolov (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Nikolov has been one of the league’s more underrated goalkeepers this season, but has been a solid contributor throughout. The veteran Macedonian international, who recently recorded his 300th appearance for Frankfurt, did very well to hold Hoffenheim’ prolific offense to just a single goal.

Defenders:

Patrick Owomoyela (Borussia Dortmund)

The first step towards beating Wolfsburg is knocking out their attack, and that is just what Dortmund did. Owomoyela dominated his side of the pitch, and was an active contributor to his team’s attack. The 11-times capped German international bombed up the right side all afternoon and on Sunday and even scored from a set piece.

Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke)

A rock in defense. Entering round 16, Werder’s attack had been the league’s most prolific, but Schalke kept a clean sheet thanks to physical, tenacious defending. In central defense, Hoewedes made no mistakes, and did not set a foot astray all afternoon.

Heiko Westermann (Schalke)

Like Hoewdes, Westermann was an unshakeable art of the Schalke defense, and did not commit one foul. Although he faced two of the league’s trickiest attacking midfielders in Mesut Oezil and Marko Marin, Westermann was unfazed and put on a masterful display.

Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)

Arguably the world’s best left back, Lahm has taken some time readjusting to his current right-sided berth. If his performance on Saturday is any indicator of things to come, it’s safe to say that Lahm is back to his best. The German international set up Ivica Olic’ first goal with a brilliant pass, and his jinking run into the penalty area created Danijel Pranjic’ strike.

Midfielders:
 
Pirmin Schwegler (Eintracht Frankfurt)

He’s no big star, but Schwegler played one of his best games ever on Saturday. The 22-year old ex-Leverkusen midfielder played an integral role in his team’s possession dominance, and his slightly deflected effort from distance was so hard struck that even a silght diversion was not enough to send it away from Timo Hildebrand’s goal. Schwegler’s strike drew Frankfurt level, and earned a well deserved point.

Gustavo Ramos (Hertha Berlin)

As Hertha’s lone striker, Ramos only took two shots, but made good use of his limited opportunities. The Colombian striker netted an early opener, and when it looked like Leverkusen were going to take three points, he completed his brace. Because he has often played in attacking midfield for Hertha and because this week’s Team of the Week has so many attacking players, Ramos earns his starting role behind the strikers.

Eljero Elia (Hamburg)

Easily Hamburg’s best player this season, Elia returned on Saturday and picked up right where he left off before a brief injury layoff. In his 75 minutes on the pitch, the Dutch international was his team’s best goal scorer and playmaker. Elia scored twice, assisted once, and the Nuernberg defense had no answer for his dribbling, passing, and sheer pace.

Strikers:

Didier Ya Konan (Hannover)

His team may have lost on Saturday, but the Ivorian striker did everything possible to avoid defeat. Ya Konan scored a brace, held up the ball well, distributed to his fellow attackers, and put in a lion’s effort. He was, perhaps, a bit too eager, and two robust challenges saw him receive his marching orders late.

Lucas Barrios (Dortmund)

As the only out and out goal-scoring striker in the Dortmund squad, Barrios has had some massive shoes to fill. His first two months in the Ruhr valley were difficult, but since then, Barrios has been in stunning form. In his last nine league appearances, Barrios has managed eight goals, two of which came in the opening minutes of Sunday’s 3-1 win over Wolfsburg. Another excellent display, another appearance in Team of the Week for the Argentine hitman.

Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich)

Bayern’s “energizer bunny” was at his best again on Saturday. The Croatian international assisted Mario Gomez’ opener, was in position to score his team’s third goal, and emphatically netted the fourth. He nearly had a hat trick, but his curling effort from distance was stopped thanks to an excellent save.

Nikolov
Owomoyela  Hoewedes  Westermann  Lahm
Ramos  Schwegler  Elia
Ya Konan  Barrios  Olic

Honourable Mentions

Defenders Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Christian Fuchs deserve a shout out for their displays this weekend. In midfield, Toni Kroos, Marcell Jansen, and Danijel Pranjic all put in great performances for their respective clubs as well, and are somewhat unlucky that so many of their colleagues reached peak form simultaneously. Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi scored and physically held his own against a physically robust Werder side and also deserves praise.

Goal.com welcomes your opinion…

Clark Whitney, Goal.com