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There are overrated players and there are underrated players. I think there are more overrated than underrated players. I’m not going to talk about overrated players though because in a way, that’s rather a personal opinion. Underrated players though are rarely mentioned in the medias when their teams win. Those underrated players aren’t the men who score, they aren’t the men who play the crucial passes either. The underrated players are those who organize the game, who work and run, who would die on the pitch for their team, who can choke the attacks of the opponent off with one single action. The underrated players are among the indispensable players of a squad.
Holger Badstuber is one of those underrated players.
Holger Badstuber combines all skills I have written down above. He has been among the best players of Bayern Munich in the first leg of the current season and the omens are favourable to see an even better Badstuber in the second leg of the season.
The 22 year old central defender (central back and left back) has completed 25 matches for Bayern in 2011/20112 so far and played 2458 minutes in all competitions. Actually, Badstuber has been a very reliable player for Jupp Heynckes and his team mates because there haven’t been many mistakes. Not one single mistake resulted in a goal against but there have been some misplaced passes in the important build up play. Luckily he could often adjust them immediately by himself. Altogether his passing accuracy is amazing. The 1.89m tall man played 1,301 passes of which 92.75% reached his team mates! Of course he did play many square passes but on an average half of his passes were forward passes he played to the playmaker. He also played some great changeovers that shouldn’t be forgotten. Altogether, Badstuber crossed 18 times.
He hasn’t scored any goal but he gave 1 assist in those 25 matches. He have his assist in the 5:0 win against Hamburg when his header resulted in Olic’ goal (a header as well) for the final score. The German national player has only shot 3 times on target though. That’s quite poor if you consider that he has a very strong left foot. But I think he just doesn’t have Heynckes’ permission to go forward and try to score because Badstuber is often one of the two last men who are standing on the half-way line when Bayern is in possession. Again Badstuber is perhaps a bit underrated even if it’s only his shooting abilities that are underrated. The defender’s crosses, corners and free kicks are pretty good though and he scored his only goal (in 73 matches) for Bayern Munich so far with a beautiful free kick against Mönchengladbach in his first season.
The 189cm hulk has been quite strong in his duels. He has had 368 duels in the Bundesliga and the Champions League of which he won 67.7%. It is a very good rate but it could be better. One reason for the 33% (232) lost duels (on the ground) is his speed. It is said Badstuber was one of the fastest players in Bayern’s amateur team but he lacks explosiveness on the first meters, which are the most important meters as central defender. He takes too small steps when he’s running and he could actually be way faster if he’d take bigger steps. He still has to improve this even though he has already become faster compared to last season.
He has had 136 aerial duels of which he won 68.4% which is pretty good, I guess.
Badstuber is also a very fair defender. He has committed only 22 fouls in 25 matches but when he straddled, he sometimes used dangerous sliding tackles what I honestly liked. You must show who’s the boss on the pitch. And that’s always the glorious Bayern! Badstuber has also conceded 15 fouls but I don’t think all those fouls on him had been whistled in a harder league such as the Premier League because sometimes Badstuber fell a bit too dramatically and quickly.
Even though he’s rarely mentioned in the medias, Holger Badstuber’s performances actually have been rewarded with a Kicker (best German football magazine, I love it!) average mark of 2.92. He is the 16th best player of the Bundesliga according to the Kicker. In the Champions League the Kicker gave him an average mark of 3.38 in 4 games. It spoils nothing to say though that Holger Badstuber is one of the two best German defenders and among the 15 best central backs in the world at the moment.
But who is this 83kg heavy fair head?
Badstuber was born on 13th of March 1989. His father was one of the best youth coaches in Germany and logically the 5 year old Holger early joined the local football club TSV Rotand at the age of 12 he joined VFB Stuttgart that was only 75km away from his home. In the beginning he played as central midfielder and his left foot was already known at that time.
In 2002 (one year after his arrival at the Neckar, in Stuttgart) he went to Bayern because his father knew Hermann Gerland where he immediately played as central back. in 2007 he first played for the Bayern amateurs and was considered as one of the most gifted defenders in Germany. First he had to play as defensive midfielder again before he recalled on the central position of the back four. He played 55 games for the Bayern amateurs, scored 7 times and gave 1 assist.
Two years later, when Jupp Heynckes managed the team for some games after the sacking of Jürgen Klinsmann, Badstuber already trained with the team and when van Gaal became new manager in July 2009, Badstuber was quick part of the starting line-up. In his first season he played 49 matches (33 in the Bundesliga, 12 in the Champions League!), mostly in as left back. In the end Badstuber was even called up by Joachim Löw for the World Cup 2010 what he really deserved. This has been his best season for Bayern so far but I’m sure the current season will be even better.
In his second season for Bayern he could only play 31 times (23 in the Bundesliga, 5 in the Champions League) because he had to pause 2 months because of a dangerous inflammation of the pubic joint. He wasn’t playing very well because of that injury and was criticized quite a lot.
When Jupp Heynckes took over, he helped Badstuber to gain self-assurance again and I’ve already described in the first part of this article how well he has developed. He has become one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga, his market value has increased to 13 million Euros and he has become to one of the important players in Bayern’s squad.
Every Bayern fan should thank Bayern’s youth academy for promoting and qualifying great players such as Holger Badstuber, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos who are among the best players in the world on their position. We can be proud of them!
MIA SAN MIA!
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