We’re asked for English-language Bundesliga Fantasy Football every year since computers and/or fantasy sports were invented and the Bundesliga has finally relented.
WE NOW GET TO FOREGO ALL EARTHLY DUTIES AND FIXATE ON A GAME!
As the game is so new, I think it’s important we figure out how to play this season together. The rules are here, but really what are rules but counting metrics for how the score is calculated? That’s the boring part of this. The cool part is the part where you get to lord over your fellow Bayern fans and say “Neiner neiner neiner, my fantasy team is better than your’s because I totally saw Timon Wellenreuther coming from the Schalke U19’s and being an awesome goalkeeper so there”. Really this is about our egos.
So I’m going to go through my selection’s to start this season to impart some wisdom, make some hilarious mistakes, and ultimately learn how to play this Bundesliga fantasy better come the Rückrunde and/or next season.
The first thing I’m looking at is the $150M budget for 15 players which tells me anything $10M is a luxury buy and anything below $10M is a potential value add. That’s my line.
Selecting a Goalkeeper
The first thing I’m going to do is select Manuel Neuer because obvious. Goalkeeper points are solely tied to goals conceded. Every goalkeeper should play 90 minutes so it’s a position that starts at +3 points every game, or +4 if they win. They get 3 additional points for a clean sheet, +5 for each penalty save, and maybe an additional +2 if they win 3+ goals. Given the rarity of those conditions for most teams, it’s 4 points and the rest is all downhill. If they concede two goals in a game, which is the Bundesliga average scoring rate, then the goalkeeper is worth zero. Saves could potentially make this position very valuable, but only for players on good defensive teams that allow a ton of shots. Here’s looking at you Timo Horn.
I’m spending surplus money to get Manuel Neuer. At a backup I’m taking Koen Casteels. He’s cheap and he just beat out Diego Benaglio so his value is going to go up. I’ll ride this horse on the bench for a while assuming his value is going to go up and then sell when it becomes beneficial.
Selecting My Defense
Minutes played and clean sheets matter for defenders but the difference here is going to be defenders who score and defenders who win duels. Since defenders scoring goals is fairly rare for most sides, I want maximize my value by focusing with minutes, clean sheets, and duels won. This means I immediately look at Ingolstadt and grab Marvin Matip. I’m not happy with the player cost on other good defensive teams so I’ll just go big and supplement him with Wendell and Mats Hummels who do everything well.
I want to avoid team’s that are prone to blowouts, which leaves me with only a few options left for my 4th defender, because blowouts are where the defender points start creeping into the negatives. Having gone big on three defenders, I also need a value piece at the 4th spot and I find Mainz’s Jean-Philipp Gbamin. He’s listed as a defender but he was a regular DM in Ligue 2 last season and Mainz is notorious for developing new players fast. I’ll take a flyer on a value buy and if it goes sideways I can always sell him and Casteels and invest in another defender.
For my fifth spot I see that former Bayern Munich academy rightback Benno Schmitz is available for $2M and he was a regular starter for RB Salzburg past two seasons. This is a steal with enormous upside so I go for it.
Selecting a Midfield
Midfield is where I think I can maximize low value buys into high point counts because you get points from literally everything. Javi Martinez is valued at $9M so I buy because someone at the Bundesliga office was clearly asleep behind the wheel. I add Alessandro Schöpf and Gojko Kacar, two starter/depth pieces who I think are undervalued and likely will become first team players. I’m not going to start Kacar but instead am betting on him being a piece of the Augsburg midfield I can cash in or swap for a better asset in a couple weeks if needed.
For my high profile pieces I split up nearly a sixth of my total budget between Ja Cheol Koo and Charles Aranguiz. That’s one high scorer and one guy who will aggregate defensive points that way I’m not hung out to dry in midfield due to the fickleness of goals.
Selecting a Striker
Robert Lewandowski. Duh. Points accrued for minutes played, goals scored, shots taken, assists, and bonus’s for braces and winning goals? Yeah, Robert Lewandowski is one of the Bundesliga best at everything on that list. He’s worth dropping 10% of my budget on.
Aside from Lewandowski, I think Yoshinori Muto is a very solid piece who’ll probably give me 10 goals this season and is part of a team that focuses on collective play so he’ll pick up some assists. He costs less than other strikers at bigger clubs by a couple million and I think there’s a value add here even if he’s above the $10M threshold. Given I really splurged in a couple key areas, namely selecting three Bayern guys at $15M each I can’t complain that I have to do for a low depth striker in Dong Won Ji to round out the last of my roster.
I’m going to line up this setup in a 4-4-2 and focus this team on pulling high defensive action points counts. I’m down a striker and an attacking midfielder compared to other formations, so I definitely need Neuer, Hummels, Martinez, and Aranguiz to carry my team while supplementing the 5-10 points they should rack up every week with other goals. I’m confident I have a baseline of 50 points every week, now I just need the strikers to hit and some of my value buys to work out.
What was your strategy for Fantasy Bundesliga? Did you adopt go big or go home with Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski? Or were you more cautious, approaching your lineup with the season in mind? Let us know in the comments.
Remember to sign up for the Bavarian Football Works + Fear the Wall League and set up your roster by Friday. You can find us by searching for us in the “Join a league” section.