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Huddersfield Town have been far from the Premier League's whipping boys this season. For a side that were playing in League One just five years ago, the fact that they are tenth after a dozen games is a testament to the impressive progression of the club in recent seasons.
However, the Premier League can be a cold, unforgiving hellscape for any team – newly-promoted or not – and the Terriers were given a humbling lesson against Bournemouth at the weekend.
David Wagner‘s side were turned over by the ten-man Cherries, who looked rejuvenated with hat-trick hero Callum Wilson back to his devastating best. As good as the Cherries were, their goals highlighted how much of a loss Christopher Schindler was.
The influential centre-half was suspended following his red card in the 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. Martin Cranie came in to deputise and he was unable to stop Wilson and co. from running amok at the Vitality Stadium.
Luckily, Schindler will be available for selection once again for Sunday. That's important as Huddersfield welcome league leaders Manchester City to the John Smith's Stadium. Getting the better of Pep Guardiola's attack-happy title favourites is a daunting assignment, there are no two ways about it.
However, the stats show that having Schindler back will give the Terriers a huge boost in defence, one which will maybe help them keep City at bay. Maybe.
Huddersfield's defence looked uncharacteristically dishevelled at the Vitality Stadium. Without Schindler, a true leader and the team's vice-captain, the organisation wasn't quite there and Bournemouth duly capitalised.
Look at Bournemouth's first two goals, both coming from poorly-defended set-pieces. The presence of Schindler, who averages 5.4 attempted aerial duels per 90 minutes (winning a team-high 3.7), would have been key in stopping Wilson.
For Bournemouth's opener, Wilson – an aerial threat who Schindler most likely would have been detailed to mark – was allowed to rise practically unchallenged to meet Jordon Ibe's corner and nod it past Jonas Lössl.
If such negligent defending irritated Wagner in the dugout, he would have been doubly perplexed and irate at conceding at another dead-ball situation just five minutes. Again, it was Wilson, eluding Laurent Depoitre before smashing home Andrew Surman's devilishly curling delivery.
With Schindler's awareness, mobility and organisational capacity, it's difficult to imagine both goals happening in the manner they did, especially the second. It would be impolitic for us to conclude that having Schindler would have prevented Wilson's two goals in the first-half.
Instead, the stats give a numeric indicator of the influence he has on the Terriers defence, allowing us to deduce that he would have been the best man to keep Wilson in check.
Schindler has adapted to the English game with ease following his move from 1860 Munich in 2016 and it's not overstating it to suggest he may be on the shopping lists of some of the Premier League's deep-pocketed elite next summer.
Schindler played as much as any of his teammates in the Championship last season but has risen admirably to the challenge of playing against some of the world's best players in the top-flight.
With 88 clearances, 52 headed clearances, nine blocks and 35 tackles, Schindler features inside the top 20 in all of the key defensive categories, illustrating his consistency throughout the campaign.
While Huddersfield clearly missed Schindler's leadership qualities against Bournemouth, having him back at the heart of the back four for the visit of City will be crucial to their chances of getting something from the game.
Stopping the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling is an unenviable task, of course, but Schindler was the man entrusted to take the all-important penalty in the Championship play-off final, a kick which sent Huddersfield to the Premier League for the first time.
In other words, he's not going to shirk at the prospect of facing City.