The Top 3 Bundesliga Players in Each Position at the Halfway Stage

Stefan Bienkowski@@SbienkowskiFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

The Top 3 Bundesliga Players in Each Position at the Halfway Stage

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    Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

    The Bundesliga is back in all its infinite glory and with it a whole host of world class players to pick and chose from throughout the country. 

    Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund may be the two outstanding sides in the league, but the strength in depth from 1st to 18th is outstanding (as seen from all four sides making it through to the next round of the Champions League), and only equal to some of the best domestic competitions around the world. 

    To help prove our point, here are your top three players in the Bundesliga this season, in every position. 

Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    1st. Marc-Andre ter Stegen - At the heart of Gladbach's defence stands Marc-Andre ter Stegen: the 21-year-old constantly linked with none other than Barcelona and the goalkeeper who has ensured one of the best defensive records in the Bundesliga this season. Without this star keeper, Gladbach simply wouldn't be where they are today. 

    2nd. Bernd Leno - Another young, German goalkeeper who has helped his side this season is Bernd Leno, who currently resides in goal for Bayer Leverkusen. Leverkusen have a similar record between the sticks in the current campaign, despite Leno's clear lack of ability compared to his Gladbach counterpart. 

    3rd. Manuel Neuer - Manuel Neuer is easily the best keeper in German football at the moment, and although he rarely has anything to do, the brief glimpses of his ability from time to time do remind us of his brilliance. 

Left-Back: Ricardo Rodriguez

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    Fredrik von Erichsen/Associated Press

    1st. Ricardo Rodriguez - In the land of the Bundesliga, David Alaba is king when it comes to young, exciting left-backs. Yet Ricardo Rodriguez has done well at Wolfsburg this season with a strong tackle and threatening cross and can consider himself a comfortable second to the throne.

    2nd. David Alaba - Although Alaba has continued improving at an alarming rate—to the point where the young defender must be considered amongst the best in the world—this season, it has been his sheer consistency throughout Bayern’s steady campaign that sets him out as a reliable defender.

    3rd. Emre Can - Although Can hasn’t played as many games in the position as most full-backs throughout the league, his rise to fame in Leverkusen has been well-documented and raised a few eyebrows in Munich as to whether we are finally seeing his potential fulfilled.


Centre-Backs: Naldo & Jerome Boateng

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    1st. Naldo - Despite strong defensive performances from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Gladbach this season, it has been Wolfsburg’s central defender Naldo who has impressed the most this season. The towering defender is at the peak of his career and showing himself as one of the league’s best.

    2nd. Jerome Boateng - If Naldo is the most in-form defender in the Bundesliga this season, then Bayern’s Jerome Boateng is potentially the most improved over the current campaign. Rarely rated by those outside of Munich, the German international has dug in and cemented his spot beside Dante in one of the best defenses throughout the continent.

    3rd. Mats Hummels - Despite Dortmund's shaky run this season, one of the small, if not insignificant silver linings for Jurgen Klopp has been the slow and steady return to form for Mats Hummels. The German international was unfortunate to pick up an injury late last year which, along with the injury to Neven Subotic, derailed any hope of catching Bayern. Yet Klopp will just be happy to know he has his old defender back. 

    4th. Tony Jantschke - Tony Jantschke isn't technically an out and out centre-back this season with half his time spent on the right flank for Gladbach. Yet no matter where he ends up in the Foals' back line, his talent and ability to keep a cool head take centre stage. Lucien Favre's side have one of the best defensive records in the league this season and Jantschke can take plenty of credit for it. 


Right-Back: Rafinha

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    1st. Rafinha - One of the most worrying facts of Philipp Lahm moving to defensive midfield under Pep Guardiola was the return of Brazilian flop Rafinha to right back, yet the ex-Schalke full-back has looked a different man this season after the Catalonian coach’s magic touch. In a few months he has gone from backup defender to championship leading full-back.

    2nd. Giulio Donati - Giulio Donati comes in as a close second following the progress he's made since arriving at the club over the summer. The young Italian defender has gone from reserve team football at Inter to title-challenging Leverkusen without breaking a sweat, and that takes some amount of talent. 

    3rd. Oliver Sorg - Despite brief stints on the left for Freiburg this season, Oliver Sorg has been by far their best performer across the back line in the Bundesliga this season from right-back. The young German international has a whole host of potential suitors with the flexibility he's shown this season. 


Defensive Midfielder: Philipp Lahm

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    Christophe Ena/Associated Press

    1st. Philipp Lahm - What seemed like a risk, when Philipp Lahm was initially moved in to midfield by Guardiola earlier this season, now comes across as something more akin to a masterstroke through the manner in which Lahm has made the new defensive role his own. From the foot of midfield, the club captain has learned a new way to dictate his side which seemed all too impossible from right-back.

    2nd. Luiz Gustavo - Despite a rough few weeks at the start of his time at Wolfsburg, Luiz Gustavo has gone on to become what many would consider the signing of the season, with a straight transfer of his performances for Bayern right in to the heart of the Wolves' midfielder. Arsenal and the likes will be kicking themselves for missing out on this bargain. 

    3rd. Tolga Cigerci - Hertha Berlin may have one of the best defenses in the Bundesliga this season, but their united solitude against better sides has much to do with young Tolga Cigerci in midfield. The young Turkish defensive midfielder has been ever present for the capital side this season with some outstanding performances. 

Central Midfield: Nuri Sahin

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    1st. Nuri Sahin - Times have been tough for Dortmund without the excellence of young Ilkay Gundogan, yet the presence of Nuri Sahin has smoothed over what should have been a very shaky few months for Klopp's side. Sahin has stepped up to the role as if he never left and made the central midfield role his own. 

    2nd. Daniel Baier - As an all round box-to-box midfielder, Daniel Baier is enjoying what should be the peak of his career at Augsburg ths season. The 29-year-old is a fantastic tackler and interceptor of the ball, yet his through balls and ability to create chances are what keep his name on the Man of the Match award for most of the small club's games. 

    3rd. Toni Kroos - With an expiring contract and the signing of Thiago Alcantara, many are beginning to fear what future Toni Kroos sees for himself at Bayern. Yet with five assists already for the season, it's clear that any alternative motives are kept far from the pitch. 

Left Wing: Franck Ribery

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    Christophe Ena/Associated Press

    1st. Franck Ribery - This really needs no explanation: nine goals and seven assists in just 16 games. 

    2nd. Marco Reus - Although Marco Reus has frustrated at times this season, it's hard to argue that his ten goals and six assists in 21 starts for Dortmund haven't been anything but the work of a wonderful player. In Mario Gotze's absence, Reus has continued his excellence at Dortmund's joy. 

    3rd. Julian Draxler - With rumours linking the player with a move to the English Premier League every day, it comes as no surprise that Julian Draxler's brilliance is far from unnoticed. Schalke may be in a bit of a mess, yet his talent continues to shine across the country. 

Number 10: Diego

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    1st. Diego - With three goals and two assists this season for Champions League chasing Wolfsburg, Diego may not be pulling any surprises, yet his performances for the Wolves have been nothing but excellent and more importantly, better than any other. If Dieter Hecking’s side do reach fourth spot this season, it’ll undoubtedly be down to their Brazilian magician.

    2nd. Roberto Firmino - It was with great difficulty that we finally managed to separate Diego from his compatriot Roberto Firmino in second place. The Hoffenheim youngster has been something of a revelation this season but was ultimately pipped to top spot for his side's rollercoaster form this season. 

    3rd. Heung-Min Son - Heung Min Son hasn't really been a number 10 this season, yet Leverkusen's 4-3-3 formation doesn't really fit in with our own, so we've squeezed him in here for convenience.  Oh, and seven goals and four assists at the halfway stage of the season ain't too bad either. 


Right Wing: Sidney Sam

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    1st. Sidney Sam - It may seem like a bit of a cop-out to consider Sam as this season’s most useful right-winger, considering the length of time he’s been out injured. Yet it’s a simple fact that no right-sided forward has been of such great use when on the pitch for his side. The deal to Schalke may be confirmed and with it a drop in his performances when he finally returns, but for now he is still very much the most in-form player in this position.

    2nd. Arjen Robben - Many assumed Arjen Robben's time was up when Guardiola walked through the front doors at the Allianz Arena last summer. Yet 16 games later, along with nine goals and five assists, we find the Dutchmen as a pivotal member in the new coach's system and one of the best in the league this season. 

    3rd. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang is technically a striker, yet until Robert Lewandowski makes the short trip south to Munich, we're likely to see the Gabonese forward keep his role on Klopp's right wing. With 10 goals already this season, who's to say that's a bad thing?


Striker: Adrian Ramos

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    1st. Adrian Ramos - With Radamel Falcao’s recent injury at Monaco, Ramos’ role in the Colombian national side has seen a significant boost and should give the player a huge incentive to continue pushing through what has been a fantastic return to the Bundesliga. With 12 goals already this season, the Hertha striker can now continue his form in the knowledge that a World Cup spot may be within touching distance. 

    2nd. Max Kruse - In second, we have Max Kruse of Gladbach, who has done remarkably well to show absolutely no signs of a dip in form from last season when moving clubs over the summer. With eight goals and five assists already this season, the Foals' new forward is wasting no time in that hunt for a spot in the Germany squad this summer. 

    3rd. Pierre-Michel Lasogga - Our bronze medalist in the striker role is young Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who came from the Hertha Berlin reserve team last season to first on Hamburg's team sheet each week this year, with a goal tally of nine in just 11 games. Not bad for a 22-year-old.