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Top 10 disappointments of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season

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BFW’s Marcus Iredahl rates the top ten players who fell short of expectation this Bundesliga season. 

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 26: Renato Sanches of Bayern Munich speaks to the media during a Bayern Muenchen Press Conference at Allianz Arena on November 26, 2018 in Munich, Germany. Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

Having already ranked the standout performances, it is time to review the other side of the coin. This list will include players who did not a good season. Again, this list is not meant to rank the top 10 worst players of the season, but rather try to evaluate what players had a campaign that fell short of the expectations this season.

Note: I will only include players who have been with the squad for the whole season. Hence, Shinji Kagawa or Naldo, who at the beginning of the season had high expectations but ended up leaving the Bundesliga in January with a bad run of form, won’t be included in this list.

10. Renato Sanches, Bayern Munich

Poor Renato has suffered a massive roadblock in his career after leaving his boyhood club Benfica. After a successful 2015/16 season with Benfica that ended with Renato being an important player in Portugal’s Euro campaign, Bayern bought the talented Portuguese midfielder for €35 million. Expectations were naturally high, as he was Bayern’s fourth most expensive signing at the time. An average first season with Ancelotti and a miserable loan spell with Swansea, it looked like Renato could only have space to improve under Kovac during his third season outside Portugal. This wasn’t the case. During his two seasons at Bayern, Renato has managed to only assist one goal in 32 Bundesliga games. It looks likely that Renato is on his way, very likely back home, after yet another failed season.

9. Mario Gomez, VfB Stuttgart

Scoring seven goals a season is not necessarily bad, especially not for a 33-year-old. However, considering this is Gomez worst Bundesliga season since the 2005-06 and Stuttgart’s overall disappointing season, he had to be included. Gomez, who has seen himself more and more on the bench as the season progressed, has had an overall very poor season suggesting that his time as a prolific Bundesliga striker is coming to an end.

8. Mahmoud Dahoud, Borussia Dortmund

Bought from Borussia Mönchengladbach for £10.80 million last season. His first season did not go as planned, as he managed to only get four assists in 23 Bundesliga games for Die Borussen. This season has been considerably worse, as Dahoud has only played for Borussia 13 times in the league and has not managed to make a considerable impression. The once highly regarded talent is still only 23, yet, like Sanches, maybe it is best for his career to move on to another team to get regular game-time.

7. Gonzalo Castro, VfB Stuttgart

Stuttgart looked to have spent their money very wisely this summer by buying Gonzalo Castro for only £4.50 million. To be fair to Castro, he is not the only one in Stuttgart’s midfield who has had a bad season. Santiago Ascacibar and veteran Christian Gentner have also fallen far below expectations during a very disappointing Stuttgart season. Yet, Castro was bought from one of the best teams in Germany and was meant to become a crucial part of Stuttgart’s first team, a team with expectations to reach the higher part of the Bundesliga table. That has not been the case, as Stuttgart will have to play two games to avoid relegation.

6. Mark Uth, Schalke 04

Although he came to Veltins-Arena on a free-transfer, Mark Uth’s first season at Schalke has been far below average. Two goals in 20 games speaks for itself, especially considering it has been his worst every statistic since he began playing for 1. FC Köln second team in the Regionalliga. At Hoffenheim, Uth was a very stable striker, scoring a total of 29 goals in three seasons at the club. His time at Hoffenheim was probably the main reason he got called up for the German squad in the UEFA Nations League matches against the Netherlands and France. However, Uth should not wait by the phone for another call-up. To be fair to him, he has missed large parts of the season due to injuries, and Schalke’s offense has been below average the whole season, yet it doesn’t excuse the poor goal/per match percentage Uth has provided his new club.

5. Pablo Maffeo, VfB Stuttgart

Pablo Maffeo is the last Stuttgart player on this list. It might seem harsh to include a 21-year-old defender who has only played a total of eight games this season, but it is warranted. Bought from Manchester City for €9 million, Maffeo became Stuttgart’s most expensive signing ever this summer before that record was broken Ozan Kabak this January. Maffeo was definitively a signing meant for the future, yet, only playing eight games for the club is not enough for a player who was bought for that amount.

4. Bruma, RB Leipzig

Yes, he has been unlucky with injuries this season, yet, it is hard not to include a player who before this season was regarded as one of Leipzig’s biggest talents. Bruma had a promising first season at the Eastern German club. Bought for €14.25 million from Galatasaray, Bruma looked like he had the ability to pay back that investment with his technique, speed on the ball and magnificent right foot. His second season at the club has not gone as planned. One goal and one assist in 13 games is not enough for a player who needs to perform constantly to compete in the tough environment at RB Leipzig.

3. Amine Harit, Schalke 04

One of the breakout stars last year has had a very disappointing second season in the Bundesliga. Harit, who was part of the Moroccan squad in the 2018 World Cup, had a terrific first season under Tedesco and was an important creative outlet in the defensive Schalke side. This year, Harit, like the rest of Schalke, has been very poor, only playing 18 games and only scoring one goal and one assist. Although Amine is still only 21, the fact that before this season he had a promising World Cup as well as a great 2017/18 season, his performances this year has to be viewed as disappointing.

2. James Rodriguez, Bayern Munich

I believe many Bayern fans will crucify me for including James in this list, yet, it is hard to deny that James period at Bayern has gone far from planned. His first season at Bayern was good, James managed to score seven goals and create 11 assists in 23 games for a team that won the Bundesliga comfortable. This season has not been as great, as it now looks very likely that James is not part of Bayern’s future. Scoring seven goals and creating 11 assists is not necessarily bad, especially considering James is an offensive midfielder. Yet, considering the amount of talent James can produce has left many Bayern fans wanting more. However, he often disappears in games and has found himself more and more on the bench this season.

1. Sebastian Rudy, Schalke 04

Rudy’s career has not gone as he had hoped since he left Hoffenheim for Die Roten before the 2017/18 season. After an average season in Bavaria, Rudy has had a catastrophic season in the Ruhr. Becoming Schalke’s third most expensive signing ever, many were surprised at Rudy’s horrific displays in the Schalke shirt as he was signed from Munich for a whopping €16 million. He was substituted in the 33rd minute against Bayern, not due to injury, but due to his plain horrible performance. 20 Bundesliga games, no goals nor no assists and a 4.47 overall rating on kicker (the worst among Schalke’s midfielders who has played more than 10 games), the 2018/19 campaign has not gone in Rudy’s favor.

Notable mentions:

1. Mikael Ishak, 1.FC Nurnberg

2. Levin Öztunali, Mainz 05

3. Emiliano Insua, VfB Stuttgart

4. Genki Haraguchi, Hannover 96

5. Maximilian Philipp, Borussia Dortmund