(This is part of our three part series. Our next part will cover the best of the mid-table sides. Our final part will be an overall Team of the Season.)
In every part of the Bundesliga table, there are quality players. Not every Team of the Season list reflects that. Caught behind players from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and other top clubs are some fantastic footballers who deserve their moment in the sun.
That’s what this project is all about. We’re here to take a look at the best players in the whole league in three parts. In this, our first Team of the Season, we look at the best players in the bottom four sides.
At the end of our picks, we have one for the readers to fill out! Make your selections, and we will reveal our so-called BPW Fan ToTS for each category.
If you want to know how we came to our selections at specific positions, you can read them here.
GK: Stefan Ortega Moreno — Arminia Bielefeld
The first player on our list was one of two players who were chosen unanimously. For all of Arminia’s faults this season, it could be argued their defense was the least of their worries. After all, it’s not every day that a recently promoted team finishes tied for 7th in the Bundesliga for least goals conceded (52). Unfortunately for them, their scoring ability (26) was the second worst in the league, just one ahead of last place Schalke.
While they need to bolster their attacking, they don’t need to worry about who’s between the sticks. Stefan Ortega Moreno earned himself and Arminia an amazing 11 clean sheets, good for the third most in the league behind Koen Casteels of Wolfsburg (14) and Leipzig’s Peter Gulasci (15). He is fully deserving of being our starting keeper.
Others receiving votes: none
RB: Theodor Gebre Selassie — Werder Bremen
Allow me to add a little commentary. I’m not exactly sure why three of our four picks on our backline are from Werder Bremen. Bremen had the third worst goals conceded mark in the league (57) behind Köln (60) and Schalke (86).
But, in this case, the selection of Selassie makes sense. This selection is basically a barometer on the debate between whether or not it’s better to have strong defensive outside back or an attacking outside back. Of our four options at RB, Selassie had the best offensive statistics (3G/2a — 34 games). Interestingly enough, the best option in terms of defense, Bielefeld’s Cedric Brunner (0G/1a/11 clean sheets — 31 games) didn’t receive a single vote. Seems offense wins here.
Others receiving votes: Kingsley Ehizibue — KOE (2)
CB 1: Amos Pieper — Arminia Bielefeld
This one was a coin flip for us.
No, seriously. We had to flip a coin.
After a late vote for Omer Toprak, we had to go to the coin. We flipped it five times with Pieper being heads and Köln’s Sebastiaan Bornauw being tails. Heads came up three times.
Given his statistics, Pieper deserves to be in this best XI. Very few center backs in this league can claim double digits in clean sheets. It’s probably for the best that we had more than one defensive stalwart from Bielefeld in this lineup.
Others receiving votes: Sebastiaan Bornauw — KOE (3), Omer Toprak — SVW (1)
CB 2: Marco Friedl — Werder Bremen
The former Bayern academy prospect has been a revelation this season at Bremen. His five clean sheets were good for second best out of this group of players. His quality was often mucked over by the poorer performance of the rest of the team. Expect to either a) see him on a different Bundesliga team next season or b) become the best center-back in the 2. Bundesliga.
Others receiving votes: Joakim Nilsson — DSC (2), Rafael Czichos — KOE (1)
LB: Ludwig Augustinsson —Werder Bremen
This was also a close one between Augustinsson and Köln captain Jonas Hector. While Hector has swapped between left back and central midfield, LB is where he’s mostly plied his trade in the seasons before this one.
However, Augustinsson has mostly stayed to outside back. His four assists led this group of players. His four clean sheets was tied for the most in this group as well. Watch to see if he leaves Bremen to stay in the top flight or if he stays with Bremen down in the second division.
Others receiving votes: Jonas Hector — KOE (3)
CDM: Ellyes Skhiri — Köln
We move from a Werder Bremen dominant backline, to a midfield painted in red. Every selection in this midfield came from Die Geißböcke. On the surface level, it seems very one sided. But, considering Köln’s midfielders led in each statistical category, it’s justified.
Let’s start with Skhiri. Not only were his five goals tied for the most in this group, but his three assists also led the group. Get used to this defense being used for the next two players.
Others receiving votes: Kevin Möhwald — SVW (2)
CM 1: Elvis Rexhbecaj — Köln
Two midfield players from Köln have seven goals to their name. Rexhbecaj is one of them. His three assists are second most in this group behind Bremen’s Maximilian Eggestein, but Eggestein’s two goals are paltry compared to the Köln midfielder. He’s a shoe in for this spot.
Others receiving votes: Maximilian Eggestein — SVW (1), Suat Serdar — S04 (1)
CM 2: Ondrej Duda — Köln
All but one of our panel voted for Ondrej Duda in this spot. It’s surprising considering he has the most impressive statistics of any player in consideration. At seven goals and six assists, he was a major catalyst for Köln this season en route to being the team’s leading goal scorer and leading assister. If Köln are able to stay up, they will have Duda to thank.
Others receiving votes — Leonardo Bittencourt - SVW (1)
RW: Ritsu Doan — Arminia Bielefeld
While he doesn’t have the most goals of the players here, Japanese winger Ritsu Doan is clearly the most well rounded player here. While he’s tied for the second most goals at five, he leads the right wingers in assists.
Allow me at this moment to expound on the difficulties of forming this list. Two of our options are not clear right wingers. Werder Bremen and Schalke did not deploy right midfielders often this season. This led us to place two players on here who are not normally right wingers. Josh Sargent can and has been deployed as a winger in the past, but mostly played as a striker. However, considering the other attackers in the Bremen lineup didn’t have a lot of right side experience, we put Sargent there. Same for Schalke’s Matthew Hoppe. He’s played on the right side of the midfield, but hasn’t really been deployed as a RW. We employed the same logic here for his case.
Others receiving votes: Matthew Hoppe — S04 (1), Marius Wolf — KOE (1)
LW: Milot Rashica — Werder Bremen
The second player on our list to be voted in by unanimous decision, Rashica was on this list for good reason. Of the four left wingers listed, he had the highest goal scoring total and by far the highest assist total.
However, do not take this as a good thing. Rashica just came off the worst year he’s ever had in the Bundesliga. Ignoring the nine games he played in the 17/18 season, Rashica has played at least 20 games a season for the last three years. In 18/19 he bagged 9G/5a in 26 games. The following season, he improved his assist totals putting up a 8G/7a statline in 28 games. It was his best season yet. He helped Bremen stay up. Even if that failed, he was rumored to be linked to leave this summer to the Premier League. All seemed right in the world.
Until this season. Werder were relegated, and Rashica bagged an underwhelming 3G/5a in 24 games. It’s expected he’s going to leave this season. Whether his stock has fallen will be in the hands of the market now.
Others receiving votes: none
ST: Fabian Klos — Arminia Bielefeld
Last year’s 2. Bundesliga top scorer was expected to fire enough goals in the net to keep Bielefeld in the top flight. He did just enough to be tied for first with Ritsu Doan at the mark of five goals in 34 games.
Whether or not his output will be the same next year is up to the Bielefeld board. It didn’t seem like there were nearly enough chances being created for Klos this season. If they can play their cards right, Arminia will have a good shot at continuing their stay in the top flight for another year.
Others receiving votes: Niclas Füllkrug — SVW
We’re gonna fill our subs bench with seven players who got votes, but didn’t make the cut. They are as follows:
- Sebastiaan Bornauw — CB — Köln
- Joakim Nilsson — CB — Arminia Bielefeld
- Jonas Hector — LB — Köln
- Kevin Möhwald — CM — Werder Bremen
- Suat Serdar - CM - Schalke
- Matthew Hoppe — CAM/RW — Schalke
- Niclas Füllkrug — ST — Werder Bremen
Here is a visual representation of our Team of the Season:
Now it’s your turn! You can submit your picks for our BPW Fan Teams of the Season! Just fill out the form below and we will reveal your picks next week. Submissions close June 6th at 11:59pm ET.