Welcome back to the Bundesliga Preview for 2023/24, where we will be going position by position and ranking the top players that the league has to offer. The penultimate article in this series looks to list the Bundesliga’s best left sided attackers, from wide men with targets to aim for in the middle to wizards of the half-space that look to sow discord amongst defenses from the inside. Let’s look at the best of the best.
20. Noah Weißhaupt (SC Freiburg)
The inexperienced German has glimpses of talent, being a hard-worker off the ball and capable of the occasional showcase of extraordinary ability.
19. Nathanaël Mbuku (FC Augsburg)
While Mbuku may struggle to get consistent minutes in Augsburg’s new narrower system, he is still a threat from wide areas that should not be taken lightly.
18. Jan-Niklas Beste (FC Heidenheim)
Heidenheim’s only player anywhere in these power rankings, Beste is a gifted winger who can punish uncareful defenders. However it remains to be seen how Beste, much like most of Heidenheim’s squad, handles the step up from the second division to the top flight.
17. Hannes Wolf (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Not to be confused with the Germany U-20s coach, the Austrian has made himself a useful option for Gladbach many a time from the bench, becoming a loyal servant of the club despite never hammering down a starting berth in the team.
16. Olivier Deman (Werder Bremen)
Bremen’s new signing for the left wing is a less direct option than most of the players on this list, although that makes sense when you consider that Deman may be used as a left wing back as often as he’s used in his more natural winger position.
15. Gil Dias (VfB Stuttgart)
Dias is a highly talented forward who has seen hard times come upon him due to inconsistent performances and circumstances. Hopefully he can regain his mojo soon. P.S: Since the writing of this article, Dias has moved to Legia Warszawa on a loan deal from Stuttgart.
14. Jens Petter Hauge (Eintracht Frankfurt)
The Norwegian wide man is an AC Milan alumnus for good reason, as his versatility and talent would serve almost any European calibre team well. Hauge is a good creator, smart passer and especially gifted at finding space in wide areas.
13. Kevin Paredes (VfL Wolfsburg)
Paredes is a great winger, maybe not the best technically but notable for his smart but simple decisions, guile in taking on players when in poor positions and especially his relentless work off the ball. Paredes may not be gifted with great creativity but you can trust him to beat his man or recover the ball back if he fails to beat his man.
12. Farès Chaïbi (Eintracht Frankfurt)
The latest in Toulouse’s line of great creators (looking at you, Branco van den Boomen), Chaïbi is a technically gifted winger, particularly at incisive through balls as well as taking defenders on himself. Chaïbi is a direct threat, loving to run at defenders head-on and challenge for space diagonally before playing a teammate in or even taking a shot on occasionally.
11. Adam Hložek (Bayer Leverkusen)
Hložek is a player who first found himself as an effective target man before Xabi Alonso found use for him as a left-sided attacker. Operating in advanced positions often beyond even the team’s traditional No. 9, Hložek opens up space for teammates to run into by stretching defenses. While he may not be very active on the ball, his presence is felt in his work off the ball.
10. Marius Bülter (TSG Hoffenheim)
Bülter is a paradox of a player. Everything about his playstyle screams striker, but it seems he just doesn’t work well at striker but rather as a left winger. The tenured German capped a stellar campaign for Schalke with 11 goals last season, and has now moved to Hoffenheim where he can continue his recent upward trajectory.
9. Jakub Kaminski (VfL Wolfsburg)
Kaminski is a versatile player but best used as a left winger which is where Wolfsburg too have found use for him. Kaminski may not be extremely gifted going forward but he gets the fundamentals right, which is actually great for Wolfsburg’s system as it prevents zealous decisions, but Kaminski is truly useful to the team when the ball is lost as he is a relentless presser and unafraid to break shape to win the ball back.
8. Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (Borussia Dortmund)
Bynoe-Gittens is the latest Dortmund prospect, with the English winger already attracting interest from elsewhere despite not even having a single proper season of senior football under his belt. Bynoe-Gittens is a powerhouse, pushing through defenders with his physical presence both off the line and strength-wise, and has a thirst for the spotlight, being unafraid to take the onus on himself when his team is on the rocks.
7. Rubén Vargas (FC Augsburg)
Augsburg’s ace in the hole, Vargas has been their primary attacking threat for years now with his tricky dribbling, direct mindset when on the ball, creative ability and of course his goal threat, as Vargas has found himself getting on the end of chances with regularity in the last few seasons with his positional sense and understanding with teammates.
6. Robin Hack (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Hack is not a player with a lot of top flight experience, but there is a reason multiple bigger German clubs courted him. He is a true talent, with the ability to affect play in almost any way. While most players have a specialty or role that they excel most in, Hack has the qualities to perform almost any wide role with very little variance in quality as he can play through balls with precision, take defenders on with a high success rate and take shots from unappetising positions.
5. Florian Kainz (FC Köln)
Kainz is a well known name in Germany by now, with multiple top seasons under his belt. The rapid Austrian balances defensive solidity and the ability to regain and hold onto the ball with every mid-table club’s dream quality: the intangible magic. Kainz is capable of shattering games with moments of brilliance thanks to his immense range of creativity, explosiveness on the counter and dedication to the team.
4. Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund)
He may be struggling right now, but Adeyemi is capable of great things when he is on song as proven by his form during the latter stages of the 2022/23 season. The German attacker is a freight train, surging past defenders with ease and having the ability to provide options for his teammates both on and off the ball from behind the defensive line. However he must stay consistent if he wants to break the podium, which he has failed to do so.
3. Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich)
Bayern’s left wing is spoiled rotten for options, as Coman is just one of multiple. Coman is the least direct of Bayern’s options on the left, as he prefers to stay wide and take on his man before delivering a cross or cut-back. However Coman is no slouch in front of goal, having the occasional cut-in in his locker as well as a great shot. Make no mistake, Coman is world class and when he’s on song he is one of the very best in the world.
2. Vincenzo Grifo (SC Freiburg)
What is there to say about Grifo anymore? One of the league’s stalwarts for the better part of a decade, Grifo has wowed Bundesliga watchers time and time again with his cuts inside from the left, his wand of a right foot which quickly becomes a launch-pad from dead ball situations, his unending creativity and all of it with the simplest approach to the game when the ball is in play. Grifo is not fancy, he is just effective.
1. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
If this article was written three months ago, Gnabry would be nowhere near the top position on this list. He probably wouldn’t even have been on the left winger list to begin with, but Thomas Tuchel has reinvented Gnabry and the German international looks sharper than ever.
Eager to get the ball into dangerous areas when on it, begging to receive a long pass when his teammates are on the ball, and hungry for the ball when the opposition has it, Gnabry has proven that he is not done just yet with his time at Bayern. He seems to be back to his best, daring defenders to blink when he has the ball with his dancing shoulders and quick changes of pace, and challenging for space in behind with constant runs around the defensive line. Gnabry is still a top-class presser too, matching the numbers that kept him amongst Europe’s elite for pressing statistics. It’s The Weeknd comeback tour baby! (Blond this time)