Bundesliga Team Of The Week: Round 16

Clark Whitney runs the rule over the Bundesliga’s top performers in Round 16.

Manuel Neuer (Schalke)

Was not too troubled against Mainz for the most part, but kept his focus, which was decisive. Neuer was almost prophetic in his decision to come off his line to clear ahead of Andre Schuerrle late in the first half, and afterward saved the youngster’s penalty to secure three vital points. He did indeed concede the penalty to begin with, but there was little else he could have done with Adam Szalai rounding him.

Castrol Ranking: 372


Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund)

Bremen may not be in the best of form at the moment, but it still is no easy task to hold them scoreless. Dortmund did just that on Saturday, and Subotic deserves heaps of praise for his part. The Serbian centre-half was immaculate in his tackling, and never strayed too far from partner Mats Hummels, who also played a very good game.

Castrol Ranking: 52

Marin Compper (Hoffenheim)

The versatile defender was in top form against Nuernberg; he had Julian Schieber firmly shackled for 90 minutes, won the ball back when necessary, and was on hand to score the only goal in Hoffenheim’s 1-0 victory.

Castrol Ranking: 459

Diego Contento (Bayern Munich)

Active in attack as always, and strong in support of Ribery. However, the 20-year-old made himself most noticed in defence; he won a phenomenal 74 per cent of his challenges, made a goal-line clearance, and saved several other scoring opportunities with timely interventions.

Castrol Ranking: 687


Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen)

Yes, he scored a rather unfortunate own goal, but the Chilean atoned for his mistake with a proper goal and assist to lead Leverkusen to victory. Vidal was quick to the ball, strong in the challenge, and formed a dominant partnership with Simon Rolfes in the centre of the park.

Castrol Ranking: 203

Christian Clemens (Koeln)

The best player on the pitch in Koeln’s victory over Frankfurt; his work rate was phenomenal, and the winger produced the decisive blow when he won the ball with a good tackle before scoring his first ever Bundesliga goal with a great finish. It was a huge win for struggling Koeln, and a tremendous way for the 19-year-old to establish himself in the first team.

Castrol Ranking: 1536

Renato Augusto (Bayer Leverkusen)

The oft-injured playmaker reminded Bundesliga fans of his true potential in Saturday’s 4-2 win against Hamburg. The Brazilian always called for the ball, and was a real magician with the ball at his feet. Though he was credited with just one goal (from a brilliant finish), he also created another, even if it only entered the net with a fortunate deflection off Frank Rost’s leg.

Castrol Ranking: 1213

Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund)

Is truly gaining a reputation for being a big game player. The Japanese playmaker brought his best game in Sunday’s match against Bremen; he scored a fine goal and danced past defenders with ease. It seemed that whenever he received the ball in the attacking third, he would either create a scoring opportunity or draw a foul.

Castrol Ranking: 874

Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

After a lengthy hiatus, the Frenchman returns to Team of the Week for his outstanding show against St Pauli. Ribery was extremely active on the left flank, and made 72 touches. He scored just once, but it was a well-taken goal, and he could have had at least a couple assists if not for poor finishing. Most importantly for Bayern, the wing wizard finally looks fit.

Castrol Ranking: 309


Didier Ya Konan (Hannover)

The Ivorian striker made the difference on Friday, scoring both his team’s goals in a 2-1 victory over Stuttgart. He should have had a hat trick, but earns honours for being a real match winner. His effect this year has been decisive: through 16 games, Hannover have earned 31 points, just two behind their tally for the entire 2009-10 campaign.

Castrol Ranking: 433

Papiss Cisse (Freiburg)

Man of the match against Gladbach, hands down. The Senegalese striker scored a brace and forced another goal after his shot was parried. Cisse now has 13 goals to his name, level with Theofanis Gekas for the Bundesliga lead.

Castrol Ranking: 105

Subotic - Compper - Contento
Clemens - Renato Augusto - Kagawa - Ribery
Ya Konan - Cisse

Honourable Mentions

Simon Rolfes, Dominic Maroh, Hamit Altintop, Manuel Friedrich
and Jefferson Farfan all played well this week and deserve a mention.

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