If someone asked you who the highest-rated center-back was from Europe’s Top 5 Leagues, you might be inclined to look at the Bayern Munich trio of Niklas Süle , Lucas Hernandez, and Dayot Upamecano.
Well ... it was none of those aforementioned names ... or anyone from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, or Ligue 1. Per WhoScored.com, it was the Bundesliga’s own Nico Schlotterbeck — a rumored transferred target:
Nico Schlotterbeck has a better WhoScored rating (7.37) than any other centre-back in Europe's top 5 leagues this season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 31, 2021
The young German has been key in @scfreiburg's fine start to the Bundesliga campaign!
So how exactly did Schlotterbeck earn such a high rating. Check out the stats from WhoScored.com:
The younger Schlotterbeck has started all 17 league games for Freiburg this season, starring alongside Philipp Lienhart and Manuel Gulde, depending on Christian Streich’s preference for formation on the day. Either way, Schlotterbeck has excelled no matter the system, yielding a WhoScored rating of 7.37, that better than any other Freiburg player and enough to make the Bundesliga team of the season so far alongside Konstantinos Mavropanos.
The postitional versatility to his game at such a young age has been crucial to his development, but importantly, he has taken to any change in setup with ease. Operating on the left of the centre-back duo or trio, Schlotterbeck has proven time and time again how difficult he is to get the better of. Of his 46 attempted tackles, he has been dribbled past just nine times, returning a success rate of 80.4%, developing a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of ‘tackling’ in the process.
He aggressively pushes forward to deny opposing strikers the chance to turn when they do drop deep, and more often than not comes away with possession too. A commendable sense of anticipation has also helped his stock soar with Schlotterbeck ranking fifth for interceptions (31) in the Bundesliga this season. It’s no wonder, then, that no team has shipped fewer goals than Freiburg (16) in Germany’s top tier this term.
Whether Bayern Munich actually pursues Schlotterbeck on a serious basis or not remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: The young German is starting to show the world his talent.