Just in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past few weeks, the Bundesliga returned today and it was bloody brilliant.
Another update for any recent cave-dwellers out there: RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner is the subject of quite a lot of interest from across Europe.
Luckily, if you have managed to miss that particular storyline, BT Sport were sure to remind you of it every five minutes during commentary of Leipzig’s 1-1 draw against Freiburg this afternoon. How very thoughtful of them.
Sarcastic jibing aside, Werner’s name being brought up so frequently was largely warranted. Although he didn’t score, the Germany international was the best player on the pitch by a country mile, proving once again that unlike with the Arctic Monkeys in 2006, we should all very much believe the hype.
Werner kicked off the afternoon by giving the world a glimpse of his devastating pace. Latching onto a long throw from Peter Gulacsi, he left his defender for dead before being forced away from goal by some impressive covering from Dominique Heintz.
The exchange set the tone for the entire afternoon – Werner asking some very difficult questions of the Freiburg defence which they just about managed to find the answers to.
It’s not just frightening defenders that he specialises in though. As his seven Bundesliga assists can attest to, Werner is also a skilled creator. He demonstrated as much on the half-hour mark when his clever movement and cut-back presented a fantastic opportunity for the returning Kevin Kampl.
Timo Werner created 5 chances vs. Freiburg, no player on the pitch created more.
Created some big chances, unlucky not to grab an assist. ?????? pic.twitter.com/lBopGqdOvm
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 16, 2020
Unfortunately, Kampl showed the rustiness that comes from not featuring in a competitive game since November, wasting his gilt-edged chance.
This incident was the first occurrence of another motif during Werner’s performance – his teammates letting him down. He was involved – both directly and indirectly through his relentless work off the ball – in creating a significant proportion of the 22 shots that Julian Nagelsmann’s side had this afternoon and is well within his rights to expect a higher level of ruthlessness.
20 minutes from time it seemed that his frustration might come to an end, only for Alexander Schwolow to deny him with a smart save with his feet. Though Yussuf Poulsen did eventually level things up for the hosts, Werner will be bitterly disappointed not to have added to his 21 league goals against Freiburg.
He may not have got his name on the scoresheet but his performance confirmed what we already knew; Werner is one of the most complete forwards in Europe and whichever one of the of club’s chasing his signature manages to secure a deal is getting a very special player.