RB Leipzig seem destined to lose Timo Werner at some point. They will lose one of the most influential Bundesliga players and will get a big amount of money from his sale. And soon, they’ll be tasked with finding a replacement for him. Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica might be the best potential replacement for them.
For a struggling Werder Bremen team, Rashica has been a bright light. The club has created the lowest amount of XG in the Bundesliga this season, having also scored the joint-least number of goals in the division. This has seen them constantly struggle in the bottom-three, being around the threat of going down regularly.
But despite a perenially low amount of input from his fellow players, Rashica has thrived. If not for him, Bremen might have already been relegated. He’s contributed to 11 goals, scoring seven and assisting four times. He’s racked up an XG per 90 of 0.26, having overperformed on it not just this season, but last season too.
All that points to how Rashica has been carrying Bremen and how useful a player he is. The Kosovo international has regularly played on the left, but he’s versatile enough to play centrally or on the right. His goal contribution and versatility would automatically bring in comparisons to Werner himself.
Indeed, Rashica is a lot like Werner. He constantly drifts in and out from the wide areas, even when he plays centrally- like Werner himself. He likes to be in a free role to be the central point of attacks to score and create goals.
Rashica has come up with 67 shot creation actions this season and that is about 15 less than Werner. Considering he’s done that in a lesser and low-scoring team, it is an achievement in itself. But Rashica has dribbled past more players per 90 minutes than Werner (per FBRef) and it shows how he’s better at taking on defenders than the German.
While Werner is bound to have a higher overall product than Rashica, but an advanced comparison of their abilities shows how similar they are in approach.
It is clear that Rashica possesses a high input because of his dribbling and crossing, it doesn’t lead to a high output as he plays for a low-scoring team.
As for Werner, the input is a little higher, but he has a higher XA and assists tally. But on paper, their metric from the above comparison look very similar fundamentally. Werner’s numbers are sky-high as he plays for Leipzig and not Bremen. This leads to much better output and as a result, he gets dispossessed a lot of times too.
Rashica is of quite the same age as him- 23. And he’s been playing at a consistent level for a poor Bremen side over the last two seasons. His overperformance on XG last season shows that he indeed is the one-man in that side that adds creative impetus.
When he gets on the ball more and his team has more of it, many of his metric will go up. That will do Rashica a lot of justice and help his abilities come to the fore in a better manner. And he would certainly deserve it.
Leipzig are known to be smart spenders and rely on signing players on cheap before selling them on for a bigger fee. At 23, they can do the same for Rashica and yield a profit in the future.