The Bundesliga stars in need of a big 2018 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 11.01.2018
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The Bundesliga stars in need of a big 2018

For different reasons, Leon Goretzka, James Rodriguez, Marco Reus and Timo Werner are all in need of a great year. With plenty still to play for in the Bundesliga, and a World Cup on the horizon, it's now or never.

Deutschland Bayern München gegen RB Leipzig | James Rodriguez (Reuters/M. Dalder)

Bayern took James Rodriguez is on a two-year deal from Real Madrid

James Rodriguez

The Colombian was billed as a rockstar signing when Bayern announced his two-year loan deal from Real Madrid. An important factor in his decision to leave the European champions was former Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, under whom he recorded his best returns for goals and assists in all-white. Unfortunately for the attacking midfielder, Ancelotti was sacked early in the season after a string of underwhelming results. 

He's remained a key part of new coach Jupp Heynckes' plans, however, with two-goals and three assists in nine Bundesliga starts an acceptable return for a player who's still settling in to life in Bavaria. 

Now it's time to show what he's really made of. Bayern have a tough test against reigning Turkish champions Besiktas in the Champions League last-16 and, if navigated successfully, it's only going to get tougher from there. These are the types of big games James was signed for and provide an opportunity for the 26-year old to show why he was once deemed one of world football's most exciting talents.

Leon Goretzka

The Schalke midfielder finds himself at the center of a classic transfer tug-of-war. Now into the final six months of his contract, he's free to speak with potential suitors over a summer move. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and a host of Premier League clubs are supposedly interested. Goretzka must not let this become a distraction ahead of the World Cup.

The 22-year-old is sure to feature prominently in Germany coach Joachim Löw's thoughts after his goals and drive from midfield helped propel a young Germany side to victory at last summer's Confederations Cup. His job between now and the end of the season is to show why he deserves a starting berth alongside the likes of Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil when Germany line up against Mexico on June 17th. 

If he remains focused, and helps Schalke maintain the red hot form which has seen them climb to second in the Bundesliga table, he might be impossible to overlook.

Marco Reus

Deutschland Dortmund gegen Frankfurt (Reuters/R. Orlowski)

Marco Reus has had a tough couple of years

Germany's nearly man is back in full training again and he couldn't have timed it better. Dortmund have arrested their woeful run of form since the arrival of coach Peter Stöger and will be looking to kick-on in the second half of the season. Champions League qualification is the priority and the return of their talisman will provide a huge boost to their chances.

Löw could be forgiven for forgetting about Reus, such is the 28-year old's miserable record with injuries; the most heart-breaking of which saw him omitted for Germany's successful World Cup campaign in 2014. That being said, if Reus can recapture the magic which has seen him bamboozle defences since he burst onto the scene in 2009, he might be one of the first names on the national coach's teamsheet.

Timo Werner

Fußball Bundesliga RB Leipzig - Mainz 05 (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Woitas)

Timo Werner has struggled to replicate his 2016/17 form

It's been mixed year for the RB Leipzig striker. The golden boot recipient at last summer's Confederations Cup has appeared out of sorts in the first half of this Bundesliga season.

Eight goals in fifteen appearances may not sound inadequate but Werner's talent holds him to a different set of standards to most players. His tally of 21 goals last season is unlikely to be matched this time round and, in order to secure a starting role at the front of Löw's World Cup side, he'll need to rediscover the form that has made him one of Europe's most coveted marksmen.

Leipzig face a battle for a Champions League birth and also have a tricky Europa League tie against Napoli to look forward to in February. Werner's goals will be vital to any success his club enjoys on these fronts. 

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