The Hard Tackles takes a look at the potential contenders for the Golden Glove, most assists and the prestigious Torjägerkanone in the new 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign.
With less than a week remaining till the 2019-20 season of the Bundesliga gets underway, we, at The Hard Tackle, will be covering a series of topics in our extensive preview of the German top division. We have already covered the leading contenders to finish top four as well as the potential relegation candidates.
And in this edition, we will be discussing the top contenders to win the individual prizes including the Golden Glove, most assists and the Torjägerkanone.
Each season the Torjägerkanone prize is given to the most prolific goalscorer in the corresponding season. Robert Lewandowski has won that prestigious award three times in the last four campaigns, including last season, when he scored 22 league goals.
The Bayern Munich superstar, is, therefore, the prime candidate to secure the coveted prize in this new edition of the Bundesliga. He is currently the only experienced number nine available in Bayern’s books, following the departure of Sandro Wagner.
Lewandowski’s all-round quality in attack makes him a prolific attacker. But, he could face stiff competition from Borussia Dortmund’s Paco Alcacer and Marco Reus this season. Alcacer, in particular, ended the 2018/19 campaign with 18 goals in 26 matches. And with the Spaniard being the only recognised centre-forward for Dortmund in this new season, he is likely to score more goals.
As for Reus, he was recently voted Germany’s Player of the Year. The German international will also lead the Dortmund side in this season and given his knack for scoring goals, the 30-year-old shouldn’t be written off under any circumstances, despite being the only contender, who is not actually a centre-forward.
Speaking of which, RB Leipzig’s number nine Timo Werner is also a contender, having scored 50 goals in the last three seasons in the Bundesliga. He was notably involved in 25 goals in 30 matches last season, which is indicative of his excellent productivity that could give Lewandowski a run for his money.
Players from smaller sides include Jean-Philippe Mateta of 1.FSV Mainz 05 and Wout Weghorst of VfL Wolfsburg. Although the lack of overall quality of their respective teams will likely hold them back from winning the Torjägerkanone, they certainly have what it takes to pose a strong fight.
Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho was the league’s top assist provider last season, registering 17 assists in 34 matches. He is certainly tipped to replicate the same performances this time as well. But, he could face stiff competition from his teammate Marco Reus – the only player to be included in both Torjägerkanone and Most Assists column.
The two have a seemingly telepathic connection between them and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top with most assists come the end of the season. That being said, champions Bayern Munich have three players who could potentially emerge with the same – a list that includes Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry.
Kimmich has proven himself to be one of Europe’s best right-backs and his excellent services from the flanks will be one of Bayern’s main sources of creativity. As for Muller, his ingenuity in that Ramdeuter role is what differentiates him from other attackers in the Bundesliga. But, he needs to perform consistently if he is to become a vital part of the Bayern attack under Niko Kovac.
Gnabry, meanwhile, was voted as the best Bayern player last season, scoring ten goals and providing seven assists. He is expected to enjoy a prominent role in this new season, especially with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery leaving the club.
Players from other clubs include Emil Forsberg, who, if fit, is arguably the league’s most creative playmaker. Mainz star Jean-Paul Boetius is also a strong contender, having enjoyed an impressive debut season in the Bundesliga. Additionally, Philipp Max of FC Augsburg is only the second defender on this list to be considered among candidates for the top assist provider.
Max is arguably the best crosser in the league and if he can remain fit throughout the entirety of the campaign, his services on the left flank could be a boon for Alfred Finnbogason and co.
And finally, our list is incomplete without Bayer Leverkusen sensation Kai Havertz. The German international shone with his prolific goalscoring last season. But this time around, the midfielder will be in charge of providing the creative essence in the final third.
There aren’t many candidates to win the Golden Glove award since it hugely depends on the overall performance of a team rather than the individual performance of a goalkeeper. Therefore, the custodians of all the big teams are generally favourites to grasp this award.
Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer is a hot favourite but things could be tricky due to a new-look backline, especially with Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez coming in. Leipzig ended the 2018/19 campaign, attaining the best defensive record in the league. Henceforth, Peter Gulacsi, who kept the most clean sheets last season, is expected to fight for that status once again this term.
The Hungarian could, however, face competition from Borussia Dortmund’s Roman Bürki along with Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Yann Sommer. Leverkusen’s Lukas Hradecky shouldn’t be written off either as the Finnish international made some excellent saves last season. But, the fight will likely be restricted to the goalkeeping trio of the big three in Bürki, Neuer and Gulacsi.