10.01.2019Bayer 04

Kicker rankings: Havertz and Bellarabi in top three

Kicker has just published their half-yearly ranking of German football (editions 3 to 5). The editorial board of the sports magazine has assessed the performances of all Bundesliga pros in the first half of the 2018/19 season (across all competitions) and ranked the best players according to the following categories: 'World class', 'International class', 'In contention' and 'Potential'.

Six Werkself players have made it into the seven positions in the rankings:

With the goalkeepers, Lukas Hradecky is in eighth position ('In contention'). After the operation on his jaw at the beginning of the pre-season, the 29-year-old Finland goalkeeper was sidelined for the first matches but then, according to kicker, he was "brilliantly consistent from matchday five and he made people in Leverkusen forget about his predecessor Bernd Leno."

Tah and Aránguiz Missing

No Werkself player made it into the top spots for the central defender positions with only Sven Bender allocated to the 'Potential' category by the kicker editors due to his "impressive performances" in his 17 appearances in all competitions in the first half of the season. Jonathan Tah, did not appear at all in this category  after being included in the 'International class' in the summer and despite having the fourth most time on the pitch in the first half of the season  (1,679; 19 games) behind Kai Havertz (1,943; 23), Wendell (1,813; 23) and Hradecky (1,800; 20). The professional journal tributes "too many careless mistakes" to the 22-year-old Germany international.

The Werkself captain Lars Bender finished the first half of the season in fourth place In the defensive midfield category ('In contention'). The explanation from kicker reads: "The Leverkusen player was in the international class in the summer rankings as a full back. He has played in this position in the first half of this campaign but more often in the number six role. Was a stabilising factor in an inconsistent Bayer team." In contrast, Charles Aránguiz – number one in the summer rankings  – missed out because the journal's assessment of his nine appearances (seven in the Bundesliga, two in the Europa League) after being sidelined through injury was that he was "no longer as dominant."

Only Reus better than Havertz

Shooting star Kai Havertz was ranked second behind Marco Reus ('International class'). The Werkself number 29 "has reached a new level compared with last season." For Bayer 04, he is not just a regular first choice but now a key player according to the kicker with the addition:"Six goals and three assists in the Bundesliga and three goals and three assists in Europe demonstrate an improvement in terms of goal threat. The highly talented player can (almost) turn the game round on his own as in the 3-2 win in the opening game in the Europa League group stage away to Ludogorets. It's incredible how far Havertz has come for his age and the amount of vision and calm he possesses.“

While Kevin Volland  - as in the summer - is once again included in the 'Potential' category for strikers despite his seven goals and six assists, the kicker assessment of Karim Bellarabi is more encouraging: "Great performances, impressive in all three competitions, defensive work has clearly improved." The 28-year-old German/Moroccan has hit back with eight goals and three assists "after collapsing in the pre-season, being sidelined with a cruciate injury and also suspended because of his bad foul in Munich," and he was named the third best player amongst wingers in the 'In contention' ranking– behind Gladbach's Thorgan Hazard and Dortmund's Jadon Sancho who both are named as 'International class'.


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