With the Bundesliga returning this weekend, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the top five goalkeepers in the competition in the first half of the 2019/20 campaign.
The Bundesliga has no shortage of outstanding goalkeepers and, while Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer is the most famous of the lot, there are plenty of other standouts between the posts such as Yann Sommer, Roman Burki and Kevin Trapp.
Thus far, the 2019/20 season has been littered with some terrific goalkeeping displays and several have come to the fore.
With shot-to-save percentage as the benchmark, here are – statistically – the Top 5 goalkeepers in the Bundesliga so far.
5) RAFAL GIKIEWICZ (UNION BERLIN) – 74.2% shots saved
Having been part of the Union Berlin side that won promotion last season to become the Bundesliga’s 56th team, Rafal Gikiewicz has wasted no time in showing he belongs in the top flight.
As the competition’s new boys, Union will have a fair share of matches where they are on the back foot and they have kept just four clean sheets so far, so it helps to have someone of the Pole’s quality to fall back on.
While his shot-save percentage of 74.2 per cent puts him fifth on this list, he actually leads the competition in total shots saved with 69 – two more than Fortuna Dusseldorf’s Zack Steffen.
4) ALEXANDER NUBEL (SCHALKE) – 74.3% shots saved
Only in his first full season as a first choice in the Bundesliga after breaking through at Schalke last term, Alexander Nubel’s rise has been astronomic – and only bigger things await him in the near future.
Having announced his intention to leave the Veltins-Arena when his contract expires this summer, it was later confirmed that he will be joining Bayern and it is easy to see why they were so quick to snap up a prospect of his potential.
His amazing double save from Emil Forsberg and Marcel Sabitzer against RB Leipzig was a real highlight in the Hinrunde, and Neuer will know he has real competition on his hands from August.
3) KOEN CASTEELS (WOLFSBURG) – 75.0% shots saved
It is quite impressive that Koen Casteels ranks third on this list having saved 75 per cent of the shots he has faced, especially considering he missed eight games of the campaign through injury.
Amazingly, Wolfsburg actually had a more-than-capable replacement in Pavao Pervan, who also boasted an excellent shot-save percentage when he was in the side and looks good enough to be a No. 1 for many a Bundesliga outfit.
Still, the moment he was fit again, Casteels was back in the Wolves’ starting XI and the Belgian – standing all of 1.97 metres tall – continues to enhance his reputation as one of the best in the league.
2) YANN SOMMER (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH) – 77.2% shots saved
Yann Sommer is almost becoming something of a cult icon not just at Borussia Monchengladbach but in the entire Bundesliga, purely from his sheer ability that belies his 1.83-metre frame.
Gladbach’s swashbuckling style of play means that Sommer can sometimes be left exposed yet he never seems fazed by it and often relishes finding himself one-on-one with an opposition striker.
Now 31, the Switzerland international has also grown in influence and usually captains the side in the absence of Lars Stindl, and it will take something special to deny him the save of the season – which he produced against Bayern when he stopped a goal-bound shot that was deflected right on the line with a single fingertip.
1) MARK FLEKKEN (FREIBURG) – 78.1% shots saved
Mark Flekken was still playing in the 2. Bundesliga as recently as in 2018. In fact, he was not even Freiburg’s second choice at the start of the campaign.
For the first six matches, the Dutchman had to settle for a seat in the stands as Niclas Thiede played back-up to Alexander Schwolow.
But on Match Day 9, Flekken was given his chance in what proved to be a 2-1 win over RB Leipzig and – as they say – the rest is history as he has not been content to grabbed Freiburg’s figurative No. 1 jersey with both hands, but has established himself as statistically the Bundesliga’s best goalkeeper in the first half of 2019/20.