While my colleague Matt 'The Expert' had a date with his Excel table at the weekend and James 'The Coach' pored over Carlo Ancelotti's book for the hundredth time, I had the pleasure of watching some football for you guys.
About Flo: From shoe sizes to the number of goals scored in training, Official Fantasy Bundesliga Scout Florian knows everything there is to know about every single member of the Bundesliga's all-star cast. He claims to have discovered Fritz Walter and Franz Beckenbauer, and now he wants to share his talent-spotting prowess with you.
Alongside the Olympics and Bundesliga 2 action, the weekend's headline fixture was the Supercup between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München. Homegrown BVB youngster Felix Passlack was particularly impressive and appears to be ready for the big stage – he could be a big hit this season both in the Bundesliga and Official Fantasy Bundesliga.
I probably wasn't the only one who checked how much Passlack costs straight after the final whistle. He is officially listed as a midfielder but was outstanding at right-back against Bayern and with the 18-year-old up for grabs at just 5 million, he's a must for the start of the new campaign.
But what else can we learn from the Supercup? Thomas Müller scored another typically Müller-esque goal, Arturo Vidal proved once again that he is a man for the big occasion and Manuel Neuer is, well… Manuel Neuer. Those three do not come cheap in Official Fantasy Bundesliga (Müller and Neuer at 15m, Vidal at 14m), but they are guaranteed to rack up plenty of points.
For Dortmund, there were several other winners – bearing Official Fantasy Bundesliga in mind – despite the 2-0 reverse. I was struck by midfield duo Sebastian Rode and Gonzalo Castro, especially Rode's tenacity in tackles. He contested more challenges (25) than anyone else on the pitch and won 18 of them – remember that you score a point for every five duels won.
Castro, meanwhile, had three shots on goal and set up three further shooting chances. Available for 12m (Rode) and 11m (Castro), these two should be on every manager's radar.
Tips for bargain hunters
The Supercup aside, pre-season fixtures have given us a glimpse of a number of players who could prove to be an absolute bargain. Peter Gulacsi has earned the No1 spot in RB Leipzig's goal so far and is highly likely to be the cheapest of all first-choice Bundesliga keepers. And for an outlay of just 5m for a shot-stopper at a highly-ambitious club: you can't really go wrong.
1. FC Köln's Leonardo Bittencourt is another one who's looked sharp. He scored twice in the Billy Goats' 3-0 friendly win over 1. FSV Mainz 05 and subsequently signed a contract extension, sending out a clear signal that he means business with coach Peter Stöger's side. The left-winger will set you back 11m in Official Fantasy Bundesliga, but his form at the end of last season justifies the hefty price tag: he netted three times in Köln's last seven games and aged just 22, he can keep improving.
The same goes for Branimir Hrgota, who is now at Eintracht Frankfurt after a spell at Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Swedish forward was superb at the weekend in a friendly against Celta de Vigo, netting a brace in 3-1 win. Available for 6m, he's a first-class option to fill in as a third striker in your team. While it remains to be seen if Hrgota can become a regular starter, his current form is excellent.
Stay tuned for more hot tips from me before the season gets underway. Scout's honour!
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