They are the players who would lift the Meisterschale at the end of the season, but before then the Bundesliga’s 18 captains need to lead their team through highs and lows on the pitch.
bundesliga.com introduces the men wearing the armbands in 2019/20…
Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer
Neuer has been captain of the record champions since 2017 when succeeding, as he did for the national team, Philipp Lahm. He is the fourth goalkeeper to skipper the Bayern ship after Sepp Maier, Raimond Aumann and Oliver Kahn, but the 33-year-old is the only ‘keeper in Bundesliga history with over 100 games to have conceded fewer goals (284) than matches he’s played (372).
Borussia Dortmund: Marco Reus
Reus took over as BVB skipper for the start of last season, enjoying perhaps the best campaign of his Dortmund career with 17 Bundesliga goals as he pushed his side to a second-placed finish. That performance was crowned with the prestigious German Player of the Year award for 2019.
Watch: Marco Reus' Bundesliga mixtape
RB Leipzig: Willi Orban
Last season Ralf Rangnick utilised three captains as he rotated his squad. Willi Orban wore the armband 24 times in the Bundesliga in 2018/19, while Kevin Kampl (six) and Diego Demme (four) also bore responsibility. Under Julian Nagelsmann this term, Orban has been named skipper once again, with Demme and Yussuf Poulsen as vice-captains.
Bayer Leverkusen: Lars Bender
Bender is currently the Bundesliga’s longest-serving captain having taken the armband in 2015, although he often skippered the side before then in the absence of the injured Simon Rolfes. Since being named captain, Leverkusen average 1.8 points per league game with Bender in the side, just 1.3 without him. He is beginning his 11th season with Die Werkself.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Lars Stindl
Stindl joined Gladbach in summer 2015 and has been skipper since the start of the 2016/17 campaign. The Germany international has had a hand in an impressive 53 goals in 112 Bundesliga matches for the Foals. The 30-year-old is currently recovering from a broken shin. Yann Sommer and Matthias Ginter have been named vice-captains.
Wolfsburg: Josuha Guilavogui
New Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner has confirmed that Josuha Guilavogui will continue as captain for the 2019/20 season. The midfielder was named skipper last year and proved a lucky charm for the Wolves. With the Frenchman in the side, they took 37 points from 19 games, but just 18 from 15 without him. "I think he's an excellent captain," said Glasner. "He's accepted by the team and is an absolute leader in the changing room and on the pitch."
Eintracht Frankfurt: David Abraham
Argentine Abraham took on the armband for the 2018/19 campaign, succeeding club legend Alex Meier. Last year he won a club-high 60 per cent of his challenges while leading one of the most multinational teams in the Bundesliga.
Werder Bremen: Niklas Moisander
Niklas Moisander succeeds Max Kruse as coach Florian Kohfeldt's on-field leader. The 33-year-old Finland international defender is entering his fourth season as a Werder player, and has already skippered the northern club in eight of his 85 Bundesliga appearances. He ranked in the Bundesliga's top 20 for best pass completion last season (89 per cent).
Hoffenheim: Benjamin Hübner
Hübner took over the armband from Kevin Vogt in December 2019. The 30-year-old centre-bac, who arrived at Hoffenheim in 2016 from Ingolstadt, made 10 starts in the first half of the 2019/20 season and has won an average of 60 per cent of all his tackles, while finding a teammate with 90 per cent of all his passes.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Oliver Fink
Fink is Fortuna’s longest-serving player, having joined in 2009 and was the third-oldest player to feature in the Bundesliga last season after Claudio Pizarro and goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny. He was handed the armband in 2016 and has since led from the front. The 37-year-old averaged 41 challenges per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga last season – a league high.
Hertha Berlin: Vedad Ibisevic
Ibisevic was also named captain in 2016 as the Hertha squad put forward an overwhelming favourite candidate for the job to coach Pal Dardai. Only Robert Lewandowski, Pizarro and Giovane Elber have scored more goals in the Bundesliga than the Bosnian among non-Germans, and the 35-year-old’s experience will come in useful for new coach Ante Covic.
Mainz: Danny Latza
Coach Sandro Schwarz has opted for midfielder Latza as a replacement for retired captain Niko Bungert. Stefan Bell was already vice-captain and wore the armband in Bungert’s absence last season, but the club have chosen a player they believe "knows the values that are important to us, is a key performer with a clear head and a clear opinion."
Freiburg: Mike Frantz
Frantz was voted team captain by his teammates ahead of last season to replace the retiring Julian Schuster. At the age of 32, he is the oldest player in the Freiburg squad and has 210 Bundesliga appearances to his name.
Schalke: Omar Mascarell
After head coach David Wagner and previous skipper Alexander Nübel mutually agreed in January 2020 for the latter to step down as captain after the confirmation of his upcoming move to Bayern, combative midfielder Omar Mascarell - previously vice-captain alongside Benjamin Stambouli - has taken over the role at the Royal Blues.
Augsburg: Daniel Baier
Baier has been Augsburg skipper since 2017 when he succeeded Paul Verhaegh, having already been deputy since 2012. The 35-year-old has played in 251 of Augsburg’s 272 Bundesliga matches, all in the starting XI.
Cologne: Jonas Hector
Hector has been a member of the Billy Goats’ first team since 2012/13 but was expected to leave following relegation in 2017/18. Instead he signed a new contract and was rewarded with the captain’s armband for their year in Bundesliga 2, where Cologne finished as champions by some distance for an immediate return to the top flight.
Paderborn: Christian Strohdiek
Born in Paderborn, Strohdiek is a part of the SCP furniture. Bar a one-year sojourn at Düsseldorf in 2016/17, he has been with the club since 2000 and worn the armband since 2017. The 31-year-old and fellow centre-back Uwe Hühnemeier are the only members of this Paderborn squad that played in their last Bundesliga campaign in 2014/15.
Union Berlin: Christopher Trimmel
Trimmel has been with the capital club for five years now and took on the captaincy last season. He only missed three matches in all competitions in 2018/19, creating a club-high 117 attempts on goal. Over the last two seasons, the right-back has provided 19 assists.