Ranking Borussia Dortmund's 5 Most Important Players So Far This Season
After what has been the best start that BVB have ever made to a Bundesliga season, I felt it appropriate to take a look at which of their players have had the biggest impact in this early success.
To calculate my findings, I evaluated the entire first-team squad on a variety of factors: goals scored/goal-scoring ability shown, creativity of chances, defensive duties, playing time in the first XI and the individual flair that players bring to the side.
My findings—which it is important to remember are focused on this season's performances alone—left me with six players (two of which were tied for third spot) standing out a step ahead of the rest.
One thing to note: While this is a fair test for the majority of outfield players, it obviously cannot really be applied to a goalkeeper. As such, Roman Weidenfeller deserves an honorary mention here.
Let's take a look at which elite players made the grade...
5. Neven Subotic
The Serbian centre-back may be out for the season with an injury, but that doesn't detract from Neven Subotic earning himself a well deserved spot at the No. 5 position here.
His consistent form had proved to be an immensely useful factor once again for BVB this year. While perhaps not one to add much to the team going forward, Subotic is a solid-as-a-rock defender when healthy.
4. Nuri Sahin
It had seemed like for a long while the move away from BVB had permanently damaged Nuri Sahin's career in the long run.
This current loan spell (Dortmund will be perturbed to say the least that he is not officially their player) seems to have completely rejuvenated the 25-year-old, however. He now looks as sharp and on the ball as ever before.
With the loan deal coming to an end at the end of this current season, one has to wonder if the Madrid midfielder will elect to try and make a move to the Schwarzgelben permanent—although if his current form continues, Real may have something to say about that.
Having played a key part in several big matches thus far this season, Sahin has been instrumental in the dominant midfield performances that BVB have demonstrated during the campaign.
Liverpool fans who saw him struggle to perform must be watching his contemporary outings with with a mixture of confusion and bitterness.
3. Mats Hummels and Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Mats Hummels is another one of Dortmund's players who has been linked with a move away from the club for the best part of three years. Most recently, German newspaper Bild claimed Barcelona would make a move for the defender (h/t John Drayton of The Daily Mail).
However, unlike a lot of the others, it truly appears as if the German centre-back is more than happy to stick it out with the club despite interest from abroad.
His performances this year have only gone to emphasize exactly why he is in such high demand.
Regarded by many as quite possibly the most successful creative-minded centre-back in the modern game, Hummels is able to enact a style of "offensive defense" when he takes to the field.
It is not uncommon on those occasions which require it to see Mats bounding up the pitch, linking up brilliantly with the Dortmund midfield.
On top of this, none can fault his positional awareness and aerial abilities, which often see him making critical clearances when his team need it most.
With an injury he picked up in a friendly against England keeping him sidelined for the Munich game on top of Subotic being out for the season, the Dortmund defense will be far more vulnerable than they would have liked going into such an important fixture.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is perhaps a slightly controversial name to put this high up the list—but the stats this season well and truly speak for themselves.
With three goals and five assists to his name already this year, the Armenian midfielder has proven his worth thus far this year.
While perhaps not the most defensive-minded midfielder in he world, Mkhitaryan's knowledge and awareness during a match often shows a quietly confident demeanor that is usually only noticeable among the very best in the world.
Henrikh doesn't quite fall into that category, but he certainly is a valuable asset to Dortmund.
Going forward, he will be a crucial character in Borussia's attempts to regain their Bundesliga crown from Bayern.
2. Robert Lewandowski
It must be frustrating for Dortmund fans to know that two of the players on this list more than likely won't be playing for BVB next season.
While with Sahin there is still a chance he may stay, in Robert Lewandowski's case, that seems rather unlikely due to talking openly about intentions to play elsewhere, including perhaps Bayern Munich, per The Telegraph.
That said, the big Pole has unsurprisingly been a key player once again for Jürgen Klopp's men this season.
Having already netted nine goals in the league alone, Lewandowski is slowly starting to enter the realms of legendary goalscoring status at the club.
It must serve as a sort of mental quandary, knowing that one of your best players could be leaving you for your fiercest rivals.
Whatever the case, Robert's consistent ability to find the back of the net has been a driving factor in the amazing start that his current side have made this year.
Whether you view him as a temporary mercenary or an out-and-out traitor, Lewandowski has once again been imperative for Borussia Dortmund.
1. Marco Reus
It's probably not too much of a surprise for most people to see the German midfielder topping the list.
Marco Reus has been on absolute fire so far this season and—while some would argue that in certain games he goes inexplicably missing at times—currently makes a claim to be not only the best BVB player of the season to date, but potentially even across the Bundesliga as a whole.
With an amazing seven goals and five assists in the league to his name already, you would be hard-pressed to suggest that anyone else deserves the top spot on the list.
Reus may be Dortmund's best hope going into the Bayern game on Saturday.
These are just my rankings using my own system. Who do you think deserves to be on the list?