We’ve officially hit the halfway point of our virtual Bayern Munich simulation and the team has been doing very well, which can be seen in the posted results. However, seeing as it’s hard to keep track of all that, I’ve decided to use this article as a catch up point to let everyone know where we stand in terms of tables, Pokal and UCL opponents, scorers and more. I’m gonna also give out some mid-season awards for things like Biggest Surprise, MVP, and Biggest Disappointment (relatively).
2019-20 Virtual Bundesliga
Unlike this current Bundesliga season, there’s a significant talent gap between the top six teams and the rest of the table. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the teams are this spread out however, and the current teams occupying the top six are the usual suspects in Bayern, Dortmund, BMG, Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Frankfurt.
Most Valuable Player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern)
This was actually a tougher question to me. In terms of a player valuable to a team’s performance, I’d argue that if Robert Lewandowski didn’t exist, the title would go to Fortuna Düsseldorf striker Rouwen Hennings. Hennings sits 10th in the scoring table with 6 goals and has been the brightest spot in what has been a typical season for Fortuna. He’s the highest scorer for the teams in the bottom half of the table and would be a popular transfer commodity if he wasn’t 32 years old.
But, let’s get back to the matter at hand here, because no one has scored more than Robert Lewandowski in this league. Not only that, but he’s the leagues leading assist man as well. His 16 goals is five better than 2nd place, which is occupied by teammate Thomas Muller.
What’s even more astounding is the gap in terms of assists. Spots 1 and 2 also go to Lewandowski and Muller. Muller is in 2nd with 5 assists. Lewandowski is in 1st with 17 assists.
Biggest (relative) Disappointment: Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig)
I’d honestly put all of RB Leipzig here because it’s been a tough stretch for the only East German team in this league. After a summer transfer window where they saw five starters leave the team, including three defenders, they failed to find capable replacements for any of them. As a result, RBL are sitting in 10th place and could have the potential to fall further.
Enter Yussuf Poulsen. Looking at this roster, the one person you’d expect to be scoring the most is the Danish striker. But, his paltry 2 goals and 3 assists in 17 games hasn’t broken down any barriers the team desperately need right now. Top scorer Marcel Sabitzer has managed 5 goals in three less games, further driving the nail in the coffin.
Biggest Surprise so far: FC Schalke 04 (15th)
The surprise to me is that this Schalke team hasn’t had many cosmetic changes to the lineup. For the most part, it’s the same players and the same formation on a team that currently sits 6th in the Bundesliga and has been challenging for a top spot all year.
It all comes down to the lack of scoring this team has put forth. Virtual Schalke has only scored 12 goals over 17 games. Benito Raman is the current top scorer with only 4 goals to his name so far. Real-life top scorer Suat Serdar has yet to score in 10 appearances. Other major real-life contributors like Weston McKennie, Ozan Kabak, and Jonjoe Kenny haven’t scored in this simulation either. Add to the fact that the team has only managed three clean sheets all season and it’s been a disastrous campaign for Schalke.
For the below tables, red indicates the team has been eliminated from the competition
Most Valuable Player: Florian Niederlechner
They played two matches. They won one and lost one. That first game was against Darmstadt and ended 5-1. All five goals came from Florian Niederlechner. That one performance shot him up to the top of the Pokal scoring table where he currently sits, despite the fact that Leipzig knocked them out in the Third Round.
Biggest Disappointment: Lack of Lower Division Sides
In a previous edition of Bavarian FIFA Works, I ranted about how disappointing it was to see the lack of teams from the lower divisions of German football doing well in the DFB Pokal.
Allow me to repeat some of my two finest points:
- For context, out of all the teams in the Bundesliga that competed, only two lost to lower opponents. The only major upset was 5th place Hertha losing to Hannover 96.
- As a result, only Hannover 96 and Hamburger SV moved on to the third round. Contrast that with real life, which saw FIVE teams from lower divisions move to the Round of 16.
Biggest Surprise: Hamburg SV
So, I guess the biggest surprise is that any lower division team made it this far at all. Being from the 2. Liga, they had to go through the entire gauntlet of the DFB Pokal, starting in the first round.
They went the distance in their first game after drawing SV Sandhausen 1-1, eventually, Der Dino won 5-4 on penalties.
Round 2 was more decisive, with Hamburg scoring often and locking down their defensive half to handle Union Berlin 2-0.
Another easier Bundesliga side in Fortuna Düsseldorf awaited them. This was a closer match, but a 2-1 final scoreline saw Hamburg as the only 2. Liga side to advance to the Quarterfinals of this year’s DFB-Pokal.
Next Round Matchups: Quarterfinals
RB Leipzig v. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen v. Hamburg SV
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Bayern Munich
Virtual UEFA Champions League
*Read Atalanta as 3-1-2
Most Valuable Player: The Liverpool Front Three
I don’t care if it’s cheating, this is my article. The front three of the defending European title holders has been dominant in their entire campaign. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané have led the way with 6 goals a piece. Mohamed Salah isn’t far behind with 5 goals.
They’ve also made an impact in the assists column with Mané grabbing three and Salah has two. Firmino is still looking for his first.
The three players who often act as a unit have combined for 17 goals and 5 assists across the entire group stage. A staggering number, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of M-S-N at Barcelona. Speaking of which...
Biggest (relative) Disappointment: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The Little Flea, the greatest player of all time (to some, including me), has been absent this entire competition. I was shocked to find that he wasn’t in the top scorers list, but I was more shocked to find that he’s scored no goals all competition. The only contributions he’s made are two assists
It’s incredible that Barca have even won their group with Messi underperforming this much. Lucky for him, Ousmane Dembele has been performing at an abnormally high level. If Barcelona expect to make a run at even the semifinals, Messi needs to step up.
Biggest Surprise so far: Dominance at the Top
In real life, only one team was able to walk through the entire Champions League group stage unbeaten (oh hey, it was us).
However, in the virtual world, this wasn’t the case at all. Bayern was able to repeat the feat, but they were joined by Liverpool, Manchester City, and FC Barcelona.
All these teams make sense, including Barcelona despite their lack of a top scorer due to the fact that all of their scoring has been spread out among eight players in this competition. Nonetheless, it’s still a remarkable feat to have four teams go unbeaten
Next Round Matchups: Round of 16
Napoli vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Inter Milan vs. Atletico Madrid
Chelsea vs. Olympique Lyonnais
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich (It always has to be Real Madrid, doesn’t it?)
Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) vs. Liverpool
SL Benfica vs. Manchester City
Atalanta vs. FC Barcelona
Bayern Munich Leaderboard
So, where does this leave the team as a whole across all competitions?
First, let’s look at the leaders in total points (Goals + Assists)
No surprise that Lewandowski leads this one, nor that Müller and Werner come 2nd and 3rd. But, we see some interesting results from that point down. 3-5 goes Coutinho, Goretzka, Sane.
For a further breakdown, let’s sort that same table by goals
Again, Lewy, Muller, Werner going 1-2-3 isn’t a surprise. 4th place belongs to Coutinho who brought great performances in the UCL and Pokal. 5th place goes to Sane, and coming out of nowhere in 6th is Jann-Fiete Arp.
Finally, let’s look at total assists.
Again, the front three get a lot of credit and remain the only players to eclipse double digit goals and assists. But, close on their tail in 4th is Leon Goretzka with 8. Tied for 5th is Coutinho and, yet again, Arp.
We’re officially in the month of January now, and as such we have the chance to get some reinforcements...that is if we need them.
First thing to note, I believe we’re pretty well set in three areas: attack, wings, and defense.
The rotation between Lewandowski, Müller, and Werner has accounted for 89 points in all competitions. With Arp performing really well also, I think we’re all set up front. If anything, I still plan on loaning out Arp to give him the most possible playing time.
The wings aren’t a necessity because Gnabry and Coman have come to me complaining about a lack of playing time, Sane is phenomenal, and Werner occasionally rotates on the wings. Throw Alphonso Davies in there as well, and I think we can safely agree that the wings are set.
Finally, let’s talk about our defense which has kept 8 clean sheets in the Bundesliga this season. Our centerback rotation is in perfect harmony right now, with at least one of Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Süle playing each game. Whenever the two main CB’s need rest, we have capable backups in Dayot Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard there to fill in. Left Back is wonderfully filled by the tandem of Alphonso Davies and David Alaba. The one light spot is Right Back, and Joshua Kimmich has done a really poor job at times covering his position. I would highlight this as a place for major concern if not for two things: 1) there’s no one out there I’d go get right now 2) We now have the free reign to use Alvaro Odriozola.
So, the only place we would logically need to fill in is the center defensive midfield, which even then, is more of a position of want than of need. Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka have been phenomenal in their distribution and control over the pace of play. The only issue is that we rely on them too much. The recall of Mickaël Cuisance on loan has done wonders, but there’s a feeling in me that says we can go out and get someone else to hop into that rotation to really allow us to rest them both if needed.
As of January 2nd, we haven’t sold anyone and we have a transfer budget of about 14 million euro, so there’s no one huge out there that we can afford to get.
Then again, decisions are up to you guys. The poll closes at 7:00am ET.
Do we go out and get a backup central midfielder?
This poll is closed
Yes, let’s help out Thiagoretzka
No, Cuisance is enough
Hope you enjoyed the mega article! We are back tomorrow with some more simulations, so join us at 11:30 am ET.