WATCH: Bundesliga’s Top 5 defenders of 2018/19… so far

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

With the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign set to resume following the winter break, we take a look at the Top 5 defenders from the first half of the season.

Top 5 Defenders of the 2018/19 Bundesliga so far



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Having only moved to the Bundesliga from Metz last summer, it has not taken Moussa Niakhate any time at all to get settled in at Mainz.

Although Die Nullfunfer are currently 12th on the table, they actually have the joint third-best defensive record in the competition having only conceded 22 goals.

With a 65.86% success rate in challenges, the 1.9-metre tall Niakhate has emerged as a tough opponent for many a Bundesliga striker and a maiden senior cap for France could be on the not-too-distant horizon.


With 66.16% challenges won, Niklas Sule is statistically the fourth-best centre-back in the Bundesliga at the moment but offers so much more than just defensive stability.

His 95% pass completion from open play ranks him joint-top in the competition alongside Axel Witsel and Nico Elvedi, while his 1,468 total possessions is bettered only by team-mate Joshua Kimmich.

After arriving at the Allianz Arena at the start of last season as a bright prospect from Hoffenheim, it has not taken Sule long to supersede established internationals Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng as Bayern’s main man in defence.



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It has been a difficult season for Schalke with the Gelsenkirchen outfit currently languishing 6th from bottom after their impressive runners-up finish last term.

However, one man who has stood out for them has been summer signing Salif Sane, who made the move to the Veltins-Arena after five years with Hannover.

The Senegal international ranks fourth in the Bundesliga in aerial duels won with 75, which should come as no surprise given he stands at 1.96 metres, while he has also emerged victorious in 66.91% of his total challenges.


Another young star who has taken his game to another level so far this season, Jonathan Tah is ranked the second-best defender in the Bundesliga with 69.34% of challenges won.

Strong in the challenge and with a good turn of pace, the Leverkusen man is also comfortable in possession and is never afraid to use a bit of skill to get himself out a tight situation.

Tah may have been unlucky to miss out on Germany’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup although it could prove to be a blessing in disguise following their embarassing group-stage exit, and it has taken national team coach Joachim Low long to introduce the 23-year-old back into the fold.



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When it comes down to purely doing a job defensively, none have been better than Borussia Dortmund’s Dan-Axel Zagadou.

Dortmund’s 18 goals conceded is the joint second-best record – bettered only by RB Leipzig (17 goals conceded) – and Zagadou has certainly been a key contributor by winning 74.23% of his challenges.

The Frenchman’s emergence as a genuine star of the Bundesliga is even more remarkable considering he is still only 19 and Dortmund’s future looks exceedingly bright with him marshalling the defence alongside the likes of Abdou Diallo (22 years old) and Manuel Akanji (23 years old).