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 final Team of the Season, we look at the best players from every team in the Bundesliga.
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.
Before we begin, we have to acknowledge some people we brought in to help us with this list, which involved more than just us at BPW. It’s reflective of an effort of multiple people, both at this site and beyond. So with that in mind, we want to thank Phil Bonney, Raphael Honigstein, Ian Paul Joy, Derek Rae and the staff at our Borussia Dortmund sister blog, Fear the Wall, for their contributions to this list.
With that, let’s begin!
GK: Peter Gulacsi — RB Leipzig
Let’s start with an upset.
Manuel Neuer is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers of all time, and one of the best in the world. The defense in front of him this season was inconsistent, but Neuer still managed to win 24 games in 33 games played. Surely, anyone able to beat him to this spot had to have one of the best seasons of their life.
Enter Peter Gulacsi. He played in the same number of games as Neuer this season and walked away with less wins (19). However, his fantastic mark of 15 clean sheets this season is what puts him here. There weren’t many weak spots in Leipzig’s back line this season, and Gulacsi was one of the biggest reasons why they only conceded a league best 32 goals.
Others receiving votes: Manuel Neuer — FCB (3), Koen Casteels — WOL (2), Andreas Luthe — UOB (1), Stefan Ortega Moreno — DSC (1), Roman Bürki — BVB (1)
RB: Christopher Trimmel — 1. FC Union Berlin
In the first of these Team of the Season lists, we mentioned that this was an audit on which kind of fullback people preferred: a fullback who primarily defended or a fullback who pushed up the pitch.
While, in today’s game, the former has taken a step back, the latter has burst onto the scene. That is what Union Berlin’s Christopher Trimmel brings to the scene. His 1G/10a in 31 games is a better mark than anyone here in terms of attacking. His seven clean sheets is tied for the 4th most among right backs. For a team of top talent, we need someone well rounded who can get everything done when needed. Trimmel provided that all season for Die Eisernen and is one of the big reasons why they’ll be playing in Europe next season.
Others receiving votes: Nordi Mukiele — RBL (2), Benjamin Pavard — FCB (2), Kevin Mbabu — WOL (1), Erik Durm — SGE (1), Thomas Meunier — BVB (1)
CB 1: Mats Hummels — Borussia Dortmund
In what looked like a group that would require tie breakers, it was surprising - but not undeserved - to see Mats Hummels win the spot as our first center back. While the names in others receiving votes are impressive, that still leaves out names like Edmond Tapsoba, Matthias Ginter, and Marvin Friedrich.
Dayot Upamecano put up the third most clean sheets in the league this year with 11. John Anthony Brooks put up the second most with 12. Alaba and Hinteregger were crucial in the attacking buildup of both of their respective teams.
In the end, it was the veteran Mats Hummels who walked away with 54% of the vote. His five goals as a center back are remarkable and his position as a sentinel on the Dortmund backline is secured seemingly for life. He led this defense and looks to continue his effort next season.
Others receiving votes: Dayot Upamecano — RBL (2), John Anthony Brooks — WOL (2), Marvin Hinteregger — SGE (1), David Alaba — FCB (1)
CB 2: Maxence Lacroix — Wolfsburg
It seems unfathomable that someone can have a season like Lacroix and still won’t crack the top 6 in the Bundesliga Rookie of the Year voting.
This season began with a transfer from FC Sochaux in France’s Ligue 2 and ended with 1G/2a and the most clean sheets in the league (13) among defenders. His promise is still on the rise as he’s set to form a deadly center back partnership with John Anthony Brooks for the next few years.
Others receiving votes: Willi Orban — RBL (4), Robin Knoche — UOB (1), Manuel Akanji — BVB (1), Jerome Boateng — FCB (1)
LB: Raphaël Guerreiro — Borussia Dortmund
We now return to the debate between defensive fullbacks and attacking fullbacks. This year, attacking fullbacks win heavy handedly.
Among a team of superstars, Raphaël Guerreiro hasn’t captured the spotlight nearly as often as he should. His 53.8% of the vote reflects what is seen every day on the pitch: Guerreiro should be in the conversation for one of the best fullbacks in Europe. Period. His influence on the game on offense, defense, and transition is remarkable and speaks volumes beyond his statline.
But even still, his statline is impeccable. A 5G/11a mark with six clean sheets in 27 games speaks to his quality and does more than enough to qualify him for this list.
Others receiving votes: Christian Günter — SCF (4), Borna Sosa — VfB (2)
CDM: Joshua Kimmich — Bayern Munich
We figured we’d have at least one of Bayern’s double pivot partners on the Team of the Season. This one was the most guaranteed with Kimmich racking up 85% of the vote.
It’s beyond impressive that Kimmich could go from being the best right back in world football to arguably the best defensive midfielder in world football. His 4G/10a in 27 games speaks to Bayern’s offensive fluidity as well as Kimmich’s ability to fit into that. His dynamism, versatility, and unstoppable engine make him one of the most formidable opponents in the world. We’d be crazy to omit him from this list.
Others receiving votes: Emre Can — BVB (1), Maximilian Arnold — WOL (1)
CM 1: Leon Goretzka — Bayern Munich
For a while, it seemed like both pieces in the Bayern Munich double pivot would not make its way onto the list. However, at the last minute, Goretzka pulled away from Jude Bellingham.
It was a stacked grouping here. Marcel Sabitzer came off another impressive season with Leipzig, ending the season with 8G/4a in 27 games as a part of the lightning quick attack from Die Roten Bullen. Bellingham’s statline (1G/3a - 29 games) leaves much to be desired. However, his impact on the field was felt through his pinpoint passing and excellent vision on the pitch. Dortmund hope to get more out of him as the 17 year old grows.
Now to Goretzka. His 5G/7a in 24 games doesn’t scream “fantastic season,” but like Bellingham, his statline undermines his off-ball abilities. Bayern’s need to constantly move the ball often found play flowing through Goretzka as part of the double pivot in Bayern’s 4-2-3-1.
At the end of the day, I see a lot of similarities in Bellingham and Goretzka. But, thanks to the latter’s greater scoring prowess, he got the five votes necessary to move on.
Others receiving votes: Jude Bellingham — BVB (4), Marcel Sabitzer — RBL (3), Xaver Schlager — WOL (1)
CM 2: Thomas Müller — Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich fans perennially claim Thomas Müller is is underrated. Whether or not that’s true is all based on perspective. Inside German soccer circles, it’s not outrageous to say he’ll go down as one of - if not the - best attacking midfielders of all time.
Year after year, Müller puts up stats that will make people’s heads spin. This season is no different. Once again, he walks away with the Bundesliga assists title with 21 — equaling last years mark. But when you tack eleven goals onto that, the combined Goals + Assists tally is the highest of Müller’s career (32). The man is aging like a fine wine.
Others receiving votes: Marco Reus — BVB (2), Lars Stindl — BMG (1), Yannick Gerhardt — WOL (1)
LM/LW: Angeliño — RB Leipzig
Again, it feels like this vote should have been a lot closer than the 54% Angeliño got. Filip Kostic bagged the second most assists (17) in the league this season. Kingsley Coman (5G/12a) was right on his tail. This list - which also included players like Vincenzo Grifo, Moussa Diaby, and Marcus Thuram - should have been close.
But it seems our voters valued what that left side of the field now looks like. We already have a box-to-box winger at left back in Guerreiro. Let’s go ahead and add another.
Angeliño (4G/6a) did not put up fantastic offensive numbers. But, again, the stats are not everything. His quickness and vision in the rapid attack Leipzig created this year were deadly on the left side. He was allowed to venture forward and be the attacking fullback Julian Nagelsmann loves to field.
It’s his versatility that really lands him on this list.
Others receiving votes - Filip Kostic — SGE (2) , Giovanni Reyna — BVB (1) , Kingsley Coman — FCB (1)
RM/RW: Jadon Sancho — Borussia Dortmund
It’s a bit surprising that Sancho won here. He’s not a bad player by any means, but this wasn’t his best season. It took him a while to get going and when he did, he still managed to battle for his position with players like Giovanni Reyna.
It was an uncharacteristically unproductive season for Sancho. His first season (18/19) saw him put up 12G/18a in 34 games. Last season, he set his personal best marks with 17G/17a in 32 games. This year he only managed 8G/12a and 26 games in the Bundesliga season.
But still, he was the best player in this group of right wingers this season. His 12 assists led all his contemporaries on the right side of the field. The eight goals he scored are T-4 in the list behind Silas Wamangituka (11) and the duo of Moussa Diaby and Ilhas Bebou. Despite the down year, he deserves it and rightfully takes this spot.
Others receiving votes: Silas Wamangituka — VfB (2) , Ritsu Doan — DSC (1)
ST: Robert Lewandowski — Bayern Munich
Were it not for one person who voted for Erling Haaland (and only voted for Borussia Dortmund players), this would have been our only unanimous selection.
Haaland deserves credit. His 27 goals and 6 assists in 28 games is a fantastic mark. He’s one of the best strikers in Europe and his best years are in front of him.
However, with no offense meant, they have nothing on what Lewandowski accomplished this season. Last year’s presumptive Ballon d’Or winner came back and dominated the league once again. The Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season was set by Gerd Müller during the 1971-72 season. Despite injury in the middle of the season, Lewandowski broke the record with the last kick of Bayern Munich’s season.
With a season like this, it’s hard to vote for anyone else.
Others receiving votes: Erling Haaland — BVB (1)
This is a tougher subs bench than normal. Decisions here usually came down to the seven players who got the most votes, but didn’t win their position. However, if we went with that here, we’d not only miss out on some of the best players this year, but we’d also be heavy on one half of the pitch.
So, after careful consideration, here is our bench
- Manuel Neuer — GK — Bayern Munich
- Christian Günter — LB — Freiburg
- Willi Orban — CB — Leipzig
- Jude Bellingham — CM — Borussia Dortmund
- Marcel Sabitzer— CM — Leipzig
- Silas Wamangituka — RW — Stuttgart
- Erling Braut Haaland — ST — Borussia Dortmund
Finally, here is our team in visual form:
Now it’s your turn! Fill out our final Fan Team of the Season list and find out next week who you picked: