After years of Bayern Munich dominance, 2018-19 looks to have finally brought a new lease of life to the Bundesliga. A thrilling 3-2 win for Borussia Dortmund over Bayern on Saturday has put seven points between the two giants, handing Dortmund a solid early lead in the race for the title.
As well as the wide open title race, this year’s Bundesliga season has been an exciting one throughout the table. England’s Jadon Sancho has been a revelation for Dortmund, highlighting how the German top flight gives more chances to young players, but he is not the only exciting talent to break through this year. Here are five breakthrough players worth keeping an eye on this season:
Ondrej Duda – Hertha BSC (Here)
The Bundesliga has long needed a powerful Hertha Berlin, given the dominance of western clubs. This season, Hertha have stepped up a gear under Pal Dardai and are competing for a European spot. Their attack is like a minor version of Dortmund’s, with a “we’ll score more goals than you” approach leading to high-scoring entertaining matches. One of the key beneficiaries from this has been Slovakia midfielder Ondrej Duda, whose previous two campaigns in Berlin were seriously hindered by injury. Having played just 20 Bundesliga games over the course of those two seasons, Duda has already lined out 11 times in 2018-19, where the regular run in the first XI has seen him find his form in front of goal, with six league goals already.
Reiss Nelson – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Here)
Having decided to leave England on loan to prove his worth to parent club Arsenal, England Under-21 international Reiss Nelson has been well rewarded for his strong start at Hoffenheim. Despite six goals in his first seven Bundesliga games, the 18-year-old still isn’t a guaranteed starter for TSG. Fan pressure is increasing on head coach Julian Nagelsmann to start him every game, with the fact that he won Bundesliga Rookie of the Month for October only re-inforcing this opinion from Hoffenheim fans that he should play every single minute.
Florian Neuhaus – Borussia Monchengladbach (Here)
There is a case to be made that Hazard has been the best player in the Premier League and the best player in the Bundesliga this season as brothers Eden and Thorgan have been shining for their respective clubs. Gladbach have finally started living up to their potential thanks to Hazard and new signing Alassane Plea, allowing some other players to gain confidence and freedom that comes from playing alongside more talented players. Florian Neuhaus spent last season on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf, where he helped them to promotion, but is flourishing at a bigger challenge this year: trying to get Gladbach into the top six.
Maximilian Eggestein – Werder Bremen (Here)
The older of two Eggestein brothers at Werder (though not by much), Maxi Eggestein missed just one Bundesliga game last season, scoring twice. This campaign, he already has bettered that goal tally and added another in the first round of the cup. He’s been compared to Toni Kroos thanks to his excellent passing ability and vision which allows him to create chances as well as score them.
Nordi Mukiele – RB Leipzig (Here)
France Under-21 defender Nordi Mukiele is a new arrival at Leipzig, having joined from Ligue 1 side Montpellier in the summer. He was courted by Manchester City before moving to the Red Bull Arena, and looks to have made the right decision as he’s played a key part in their Bundesliga and Europa League campaigns so far. He’s played 16 games in all competitions as head coach Ralf Rangnick rotates his squad, but has more than proved his ability to be a regular starter for the rest of the season.