Bundesliga action is back and we look at four African players to watch down the stretch in the German league.
After months of having to make do with no football due to the coronavirus enforced-break, the frenzy of the beautiful game is almost set to hit us again as the German Bundesliga returns on Saturday 16th. For the love of all things Africa, in my BGN debut, here are four bold predictions for some Africans playing in the German top-flight as we enter the season’s run-in.
Kingsley Ehizibue to become much more integral to any chances of Köln’s European competition finish
After some testing years with Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle, the 24-year-old speedster looks to have found a home at FC Cologne where he has played a pivotal role for Die Geißböcke, who sit in mid-table going into the last games of the season.
Often one of the first names on Markus Gisdol’s teamsheet, Ehizibue has been involved in 22 out of a possible 24 matches in this season’s Bundesliga, including 21 starts. He only missed out versus Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt due to suspension.
However, one can argue that the fastest sprinter in Bundesliga recorded history, marauding full-back’s input for attackers in the final third has not set pulses racing. He has just one assist to his name so far this season. Therein lies the nub of the dilemma. If Cologne are to edge further and gate-crash a European competition spot on the league table, you can expect the Nigerian to play an important role in that push.
Edmond Tapsoba will earn another big-money move
Barely four months after that celebrated move from Vitória Guimarães, it is already succinctly clear that Edmond Tapsoba will touch the heights of the skies in his fledgling career.
The Burkinabe starlet has seamlessly bedded into the team at Leverkusen, forming a solid defensive partnership with Sven Bender and Jonathan Tah. His only blemish, if it would really count as such for a young defender, is the booking he picked up for a handball in the 2-0 victory over Augsburg, so you can make of that what you really wish.
Die Werkself are enjoying what has been an impressive season under the stewardship of crafty manager Peter Bosz, and will approach these remaining nine games with renewed elan and purpose.
Thus, the 21-year-old will come on in leaps and bounds surely, and by the time the summer rolls around, it would hardly be a surprise if he is on the move again, as elite European clubs are already taking notice. He is simply too good to stick around the BayArena for a long time.
Achraf Hakimi is Borussia Dortmund’s Player of the Season
You can argue that the likes of Erling Håland and Jadon Sancho have dominated the front pages of the media, but do not in any measure belittle what Achraf Hakimi has contributed to this very successful campaign for Lucien Favre’s team.
For the numbers, his tally of ten league assists is unmatched across the whole of Dortmund’s squad. Put that in context alongside his seven competitive goals so far and you get a feeling the Moroccan could even hit double figures for goals and assists before the end of the season. And, he is only a defender!
With his two-year loan spell at Westfalenstadion set to end this summer, it is a no-brainer that Reinhard Rauball and Hans-Joachim Watzke will try to negotiate with Real Madrid and keep him for much longer, but the jury is very much out on if the Spanish giants will be very happy to sanction that now.
Jamilu Collins will work under a new manager
Collins has been a subject of transfer speculations this season, thanks to his impressive performances for Paderborn. Though he looks settled in North Rhine-Westphalia at the moment, what is rather less certain is the future of his club manager, Steffen Baumgart.
The German’s job status will come under stern scrutiny in the offseason no doubt, as having helped the club up from the second tier last season with a second-place finish, they have hardly managed to come off the foot of the top-flight table all season.
With as many as ten points leaving them very well shy of safety, he will be expected to hit the ground running right away and it is not even certain he can do that against lowly Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Either way, if Baugmart fails to lift Collins and his teammates from their travails and try to save them from relegation, it could prompt Elmar Volkmann and Co. to swing the axe, or perhaps, is there any credence to those Newcastle and Fulham links for the defender?