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Turbo Timo: RB Leipzig Star Primed For Bundesliga Return


We use Stats Perform’s data to assess Timo Werner’s stunning campaign so far as the Bundesliga gears up to resume this weekend.

By: Oliver Hopkins, Dom Farrell

Timo Werner will probably be delighted he gets the chance to let his football do the talking once more as the Bundesliga restarts this week.

During football’s hiatus brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Werner’s name has remained somewhere near the top of most transfer gossip columns, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich all reported to be among his potential suitors.

However, it is a move to Merseyside that seems to appeal to Werner the most, with the striker having gone on record in expressing a desire to play in the Premier League under Jürgen Klopp.

Ralf Rangnick, who previously managed Leipzig and is now head of sport and development at their parent company Red Bull, added fuel to the fire by saying he believes Anfield would be the perfect destination for the Germany international.

For now, Werner’s primary concerns will be rebooting RB Leipzig’s title bid, as they prepare to resume five points shy of Bayern in third with 10 matches remaining after Germany’s top flight was given the green light to return behind closed doors.

Here we look at the impressive numbers returned by the 24-year-old forward, who is deservedly one of the hottest properties in Europe.

Lethal in Front of Goal

Werner has played mainly at centre forward for Leipzig this season, albeit one with a tendency to drift out the left-hand side, where he can capitalise on his explosive pace to exploit space offered by the opposition.

Averaging a goal every 97.6 minutes, Werner is second in the Bundesliga’s scoring charts this campaign (21 goals), with only Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski (25) ahead of him. His tally of 21 goals is already equal to his best single-season return and puts him joint-third amongst Europe’s most prolific strikers.

The talismanic striker, who is RB Leipzig’s all-time leading Bundesliga goal scorer (71 goals), has been central to Leipzig’s title charge this season. His goals have earned his side 15 points, more than any other Bundesliga player (Lewandowski’s have earned Bayern 12).

Looking at his expected goals, Werner has clocked up 16.9 xG so far in the Bundesliga, ranking him fourth across all players in the top five European leagues. This demonstrates Werner’s ability to generate high-value scoring opportunities from which he’s finishing with impressive efficiency.

Top Players Ranked By Expected Goals Across Europe’s Top Five Leagues 2019/20

RankPlayerTeamGoalsxGxG Differential
1R. LewandowskiBayern Munich2523.7+1.3
2C. ImmobileLazio2719.8+7.2
3 =C. RonaldoJuventus2116.9+4.1
3 =T. WernerRB Leipzig2116.9+4.1
5E. DzekoAS Roma1215.8-3.8

Werner’s extremely healthy 0.74 xG per 90 minutes ranks him 10th across all players in Europe’s top five leagues.

Werner’s xG differential (actual goals – expected goals) of +4.1 this season is a step back in the right direction for the forward, after an underperformance last season (16 goals from 17.5 xG).

There is evidence to suggest that the German has a clinical edge to his finishing. Werner is one of six players to have scored over 50 goals in the Bundesliga across the last five seasons. Of those players, only Marco Reus (+3.5) has a better xG differential than Werner (+3.1). That Werner could continue to replicate his current level of output is indicative of his qualities.

Turbo Timo Can Do It All Himself

Werner’s game certainly benefits from working in tandem with a more physical and aerially dominant striker, like Youseff Poulsen or Patrick Shick, and having a supply lines from the like of Christopher Nkunku, but the worrying thing for defenders is that Werner can hurt you all by himself.

The German excels in counter-attacking situations where he can burst beyond the defensive line or match up with a defender one on one, using a combination of skill, pace and movement. With a unique ability to thrive in transition, Werner’s ball-carrying ability turns defence into attack. The Leipzig star has scored the most goals (7) and attempted the most shots (35) in the German Bundesliga this season following a ball carry in open play.

Indeed, of all centre forwards in the Bundesliga, only Marcus Thuram (3.9) and Breel-Donald Embolo (3.3) are attempting more take-ons per 90 minutes in the final third than Werner (3.0).

Werner’s tendency to drift out to the left-hand side doesn’t limit his ability to get into the opposition penalty box. Only Bayern trio Serge Gnabry (10.2), Robert Lewandowski (9.8) and Ivan Perišić (9.2) average more touches in the opposition penalty box (8.4) per 90 minutes.

A Creative Force

The German is also more than a goal-scorer. He has seven assists to his name this season and his 5.5 expected assists, a measure of a players’ underlying creativity, is the highest of any striker in the league. He has engineered 35 opportunities from open play (first amongst strikers in the Bundesliga), including 10 big chances (fifth amongst strikers in the league), illustrating his capacity to create opportunities for both himself and his teammates. His 28 goal involvements so far this season place him joint-fourth with Lewandowski across the top five European leagues.

Goal Involvements: Europe’s Top Five Leagues 2019/20

RankPlayerTeamGoalsAssistsGoal Involvements
1C. Immobile
2L. MessiBarcelona191231
3J. SanchoBorussia Dortmund141529
4 =R. LewandowskiBayern Munich25328
4 =T. WernerRB Leipzig21728
6K. De BruyneManchester City81624
Work Rate

Off the ball, Werner is an astute presser and leads Lepizig’s aggressive counter-press with his express pace. This work rate and game intelligence underlines a decent chunk of his appeal, particular with leading suitors Liverpool. Werner has completed 16 high turnovers this season, defined as winning back possession within 40 metres of the opposition goal.Two of those turnovers led to a shot and one led directly to a goal.

His total high turnovers figure places him joint-13th in the division, one shy of rival Lewandowski. Werder Bremen’s Davy Klaassen leads the way with 22 high turnovers.

Werner’s combination of devastating speed, clinical finishing and ball carrying skill, plus his ability to create chances for his teammates makes him a huge offensive weapon. Coupled with his pressing capabilities, it is easy to see why he is turning the heads of Europe’s biggest clubs. Maybe 2020/21 will see Turbo Timo join an already stellar attack at Liverpool, potentially even creating a remarkable front four if Roberto Firmino drops in to play as a No. 10 to accommodate for the German.