The 2018-19 season is already seven games old and the second international break is upon us. With surprises at both ends of the table, DW takes a look at six Bundesliga players who have impressed so far.
Paco Alcacer and Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
They've only made three starts between them in all competitions this season, but Borussia Dortmund super-subs Paco Alcacer (below) and Jadon Sancho (top) have been key to the Black and Yellows' unbeaten start.
Together, the Anglo-Spanish duo have contributed nine goals and nine assists in just 578 minutes of playing time — that's a goal contribution every 31 minutes!
For 18-year-old Sancho, it's meant a first call-up to Gareth Southgate's England squad while 25-year-old Alcacer, on loan from Barcelona, is looking even further ahead. "I feel really comfortable in Dortmund," he said after his 96th-minute winner against Augsburg on Saturday. "BVB was the right step for me at the right time and I can definitely imagine staying on at the end of the year."
Weston McKennie (Schalke 04)
Weston McKennie picked a good time to score his first two goals for Schalke. A late winner away at Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League last week was followed just a few days later by the opening goal against Fortuna Düsseldorf.
After five straight Bundesliga defeats, Schalke have now won three games in a row — and much credit must go to the 20-year-old Texan. Deployed in various defensive midfield roles, McKennie has quickly become a key member of Domenico Tedesco's squad.
"He has an extraordinary body language for a 20-year-old," said sporting director Christian Heidel after the victory in Moscow. "When the other players see how he goes into tackles and how he fights for every ball, they imitate him. His whole game makes him a match-winner for us."
There's only one problem for the Royal Blues of Gelsenkirchen. McKennie's best friend in Germany? Compatriot Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund.
Alassane Pléa (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
He's the most expensive signing in the club's history but Alassane Pléa is proving to be worth every penny of the €23 million ($26 million) Borussia Mönchengladbach paid for him in pre-season.
"He can score goals out of nothing," says teammate Christoph Kramer, and the Frenchman has proved him right with five goals already for the Foals, including a stunning opener in the 3-0 win over Bayern Munich at the weekend.
The 25-year-old himself credits Lucien Favre, his former coach at Nice, with his development. "He made me tactically and technically better," he says of the current Dortmund coach. "I don't think it's a coincidence that I had my best years under him." Now however, he's looking like the missing piece in Dieter Hecking's Gladbach jigsaw.
Davy Klaassen (Werder Bremen)
If Werder Bremen were worried about replacing Thomas Delaney in midfield, they needn't have been — record signing Davy Klaassen has proven himself to be a more than adequate replacement.
After a disappointing spell in the Premier League with Everton (only seven league appearances), the Dutch international has re-discovered his form on the banks of the Weser.
"Davy invests so much into his game and works extremely hard," sporting director Frank Baumann told German newspaper Bild. Indeed, no Bundesliga player has covered more ground than Klaassen who has already run 74.83 kilometers to help Werder go joint-second after matchday seven.
And he has a knack for scoring important goals, netting the winner against Augsburg and setting Bremen on their way to victory over Wolfsburg. That €15m is looking like money well spent.
Ondrej Duda (Hertha Berlin)
"An unfulfilled promise by the name of Ondrej Duda" — that was the headline in Berlin's Tagesspiegel back in March as the Slovakian forward's second year at Hertha BSC trudged towards a disappointing end with just one goal in 17 Bundesliga matches.
This season, the 23-year-old already has five in six — goals which have seen the Berliners start the season as one of Germany's form teams. With his clinical finishes, pin-point set-pieces and accurate crosses, Duda embodies the new, creative playing style that coach Pal Darbai has instilled at the Olympic Stadium. "He's an artist," said Dardai after Duda had played yet another important role in Hertha's 2-0 win over Bayern Munich last week.
But there's one aspect of his game that still needs work: his goal celebrations. After scoring against Bayern, Duda attempted to slide on his knees but came to an abrupt halt on the turf. "I'll have to teach him something new," said veteran teammate Salomon Kalou — "we'll work on it."