Yet another incredible football season has reached its conclusion. The beautiful game has not failed to disappoint, providing the fans with some jaw dropping – as well as heartbreaking – moments over the last nine months.
We have witnessed some brilliant one-off individual displays and a few consistent performers. We’ve had breakout players, impressing at a young age and veterans proving that age is just a number.
As part of our end-of-the-season awards for Europe’s top-five leagues, we’re honouring the Player of the Year and Breakthrough Player of the Year (stars aged 23 and under who made significant strides in 2018/19).
Here, we look at the winners from Bundesliga.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund, 19 years old
At one point, Borussia Dortmund were comfortably on course to break Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga monopoly and claim the domestic title. There remains hope, of course, with the race seeing a final round of fixtures, yet Lucien Favre’s brilliant but bonkers side have struggled in 2019. Amid the chaos, though, Sancho has been an incandescent bright spot. It’s a big call to bestow this award on him, and there will be detractors who point to some inconsistency, but the teenager is not just Dortmund’s biggest asset, but the league’s too. The kid is box office. Even beneath the layer of skill, though, Sancho has shown impeccable maturity, responsibility – particularly when mercurial skipper Marco Reus has been absent – and composure. His 14 assists this season is only bettered by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard from Europe’s top-five leagues. It will be fascinating to see his development because he can and will only get better. Even with his high ceiling, he’s been eye-catching in 2018/19 and the league’s standout star.
Best performance: Double-assist against Bayer Leverkusen
Sancho has enjoyed better games from a statistical perspective, but a microcosm of the impact he can provide came off the bench at Bayer Leverkusen in a 4-2 win. Dortmund were handed a boost the moment he stepped on the pitch as a substitute and he guided his team to an important three points with two assists.
What next for Sancho?
Now an England international, Sancho has naturally courted the attention of the big Premier League clubs. Manchester United are massive admirers but with their entry into the Europa League, it’s obvious Dortmund remains a much more attractive spot for him. He has time on his side, the super-elite clubs will no doubt come but it makes sense of him to continue to round out his game at a team of Dortmund’s stature.
Honourable mentions: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
BREAKTHROUGH PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Luka Jovic, Eintracht Frankfurt, 21 years old
Gifted with an eye for goal, athleticism and footballing intelligence to make the right run, Jovic has taken Bundesliga by storm this season, netting 17 goals and bagging five assists. Only Robert Lewandowski and Paco Alcacer have scored more goals this season. Football loves a front trident and Eintracht’s offering of Ante Rebic, Sebastian Haller and Jovic is one of the most intoxicating. Jovic is the spearhead of this forward line and his ability to pierce opposition backlines has been on display all season. Among many other desirable traits, Jovic’s ability to create space in the box is arguably his best quality. He can find space in a crowded elevator and spot openings with the door closed. No one has scored more goals in the Europa League than his 10 strikes and it’s really no wonder Europe’s elite are circling.
Best performance: ‘Fifer’ against Fortuna Dusseldorf
The world really began to take notice of his ability when he battered five past (un) Fortuna Dusseldorf. He became the youngest player ever to achieve the feat in Bundesliga history and the first at all for Frankfurt.
What next for Jovic?
All signs point to Real Madrid. Jovic is seen to be central to Zinedine Zidane’s rebuilding plans and it will cost the club €70 million to acquire his services if reports are to be believed. That’s a handsome sum for Eintracht considering his two-year loan deal from Benfica was made permanent for £6.3m this year. He will be tasked with competing and pushing Karim Benzema either to produce more, or just out of the team entirely.
Honourable mentions: Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig)
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