Emre Can has been announced as Dortmund's new captain as successor to Marco Reus. - © IMAGO/Jan Huebner
Emre Can has been announced as Dortmund's new captain as successor to Marco Reus. - © IMAGO/Jan Huebner

Who are the Bundesliga's captains in 2023/24?


From Manuel Neuer to Emre Can and Wataru Endo, we run through the men wearing captain's armbands in 2023/24.

bundesliga.com introduces the captains looking to lead their sides to glory in 2023/24…

Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer

Legendary Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Neuer enters his 13th year at the club, having won everything there is to since moving to Munich from Schalke in 2011. He has reimagined his position during that time, setting the bar for the rest of the Keepers' Union to reach up to. Neuer took the armband from Philipp Lahm upon the latter's retirement in July 2017 and has continued the fine work of his predecessor by leading Bayern to an 11th straight Bundesliga title last term - and sixth in a row under Neuer's leadership, though a freak accident in the winter meant he missed the second half of the campaign. He hopes to return for the 2023/24 campaign with one major ambition still dangling like a carrot before him: to lift the European Championship with Germany, the one elusive accolade for his almost-complete collection.

Watch: Manuel Neuer: Rewriting the history books

Borussia Dortmund: Emre Can

After five years as captain, Marco Reus announced in the summer that he was going to pass the armband on, trusting sporting director Sebastian Kehl and coach Edin Terzic in their choice of his successor. That choice fell on the dependable biceps of Emre Can. The former Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Liverpool and Juventus defensive midfielder will turn 30 during the 2023/24 season and has matured with age. He has been a regular force in the middle of the pitch since joining Dortmund in 2020, providing steely security for the club's attacking talents to spearhead a push that came agonisingly close to winning a first title in 11 years last season. Can is sure to do everything in his power to lead his side to one better this time and finally dethrone Bayern as Bundesliga champions. "Emre is a born winner and someone who likes to take on responsibility," said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic on the annnouncement of Can taking the armband. 

RB Leipzig: Peter Gulacsi

Gulacsi is another of the league's goalkeepers to shoulder the added responsibility of being their team's captain - and you can see why he was promoted to the role following Marcel Sabitzer's departure to Bayern in 2022. Heading into the new season, only Yussuf Poulsen (358) has played more games for the club than Gulacsi (284) and the Hungarian has proven to be a leader both on and off the pitch. Not only has he kept 68 clean sheets in Germany's top-flight, Gulacsi has also supported LGBTQ+ rights in his homeland and he made headlines in 2020 by donating his national team bonus to a young Hungarian child named Zsombor, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and was in need of one of the most expensive drugs in the world to aid his treatment. A natural leader, Gulacsi said in 2022: "A good captain always leads by example". His return from a cruciate ligament injury that kept him out of most of 2022/23 will be a welcome boost at the Red Bull Arena.

Peter Gulacsi has kept goal for RB Leipzig since 2015 and captained the side since 2022. - DFL

Union Berlin: Christopher Trimmel

Since joining the club in 2014, Trimmel has elevated himself to legendary status at Union and he even wore the armband during his first season with the team, albeit sporadically. They were in Bundesliga 2 back then and Die Eisernen clearly saw the leadership qualities of their right-back early on, but it was not until 2018 that he took the captaincy full-time. His impact was immediate, with Trimmel leading the team to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history. Both captain and club have not looked back since, establishing themselves as serious top-flight players and earning three straight European campaigns in 2021/22, 2022/23 and in the coming campaign, when Trimmel is set to become the first man in history to lead Union Berlin out for a UEFA Champions League fixture. At 36, the Austrian is no longer the automatic first pick he once was, but he remains the face of Die Eisernen on and off the field.

Christopher Trimmel and Union Berlin can look forward to a historic first UEFA Champions League campaign in 2023/24. - DFL

Freiburg: Christian Günter

Freiburg are a club well acquainted with the term 'stalwart'. Head coach Christian Streich celebrated a decade at the helm in 2021 as Freiburg came within three points of a historic Champions League qualification and were just 14 minutes away from DFB Cup glory until Leipzig's late show eventually saw off the Black Forest club on penalties in the final in 2022. Like Streich, Günter is part of the Freiburg furniture and the 30-year-old has become a full Germany international with eight caps for his country and 379 first-team appearances for his local team since joining them in 2006. He captains them now for a fifth successive season as they once again look to go one better and crack the top four.

Homegrown Christian Günter barely misses a minute as Freiburg captain. - Pressefoto Rudel/Robin Rudel via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Sportfoto Rudel

Bayer Leverkusen: Lukas Hradecky

Hradecky is one of four goalkeepers that captain Bundesliga sides, having been given the honour by Gerardo Seoane ahead of the 2021/22 season. "Lukas is not only an outstanding goalkeeper but also a complete professional who has a very conscientious approach to his game," said Seoane at the time. "On top of that, he has a very positive presence, communicates well and is happy to accept responsibility." For those very same reasons, current Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso also sees no reason not to trust Hradecky to be his extended arm on the pitch, though summer recruit Granit Xhaka will add his experience to the centre field in the coming campaign.

Lukas Hradecky (l.) enters his third season as Bayer Leverkusen captain. - DFL

Eintracht Frankfurt: Sebastian Rode

Rode was given the Eintracht captaincy by Oliver Glasner ahead of the 2021/22 season, describing his midfielder as "a true Hessian with great experience and personality". The pair went on to make history as they led Die Adler to UEFA Europa League success and through a maiden Champions League campaign. Although Glasner has since moved on, Rode remains the man new coach Dino Toppmöller will rely on to command his team from the middle of the field, from where he scored four goals last season, as Eintracht enter a European competition for the third straight year, this time the Europa Conference League.

Sebastian Rode (c. with the trophy) ended his first season as Eintracht Frankfurt captain by lifting the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League trophy. - Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Wolfsburg: Maximilian Arnold

Koen Casteels was installed as the Wolves skipper by previous coach Mark van Bommel for the 2021/22 off-season, but Niko Kovac made a change ahead of last season by promoting stalwart Arnold from vice-captain to captain. You can see why; Arnold was once the club's youngest-ever top-flight player, is now entering his 13th campaign for the Wolves and is their highest appearance-maker. Arnold featured in all 41 of their games in all competitions in 2021/22 and has missed just eight Bundesliga matches in the past five seasons, five through suspension.

Maximilian Arnold is to captain Wolfsburg for a second season in 2023/24. - IMAGO/Eibner-Pressefoto/Bahho Kara/IMAGO/Eibner

Mainz: Silvan Widmer

Widmer, who joined Mainz in 2021, was given the captain's responsibility last term after an impressive rookie season. The Swis full-back had contributed four goals and five assists to the Mainz cause as Bo Svensson's team flirted with Europe before ending 2021/22 in eighth place, and that was enough to convince Svensson that Widmer should take up the baton from Moussa Niakhate when he left the club. "He's only been at the club a year but he has lots of experience," said Svensson of his 39-cap Switzerland international. "He always performs on the pitch and also has a good head off the pitch to deal with the responsibility of being captain." It did not go to his head in 2022/23, with two goals and as many assists from 26 games, with an ankle injury cutting his season short prematurely.

Silvan Widmer will look to guide Mainz to another top half finish in 2023/24 after a memorable past campaign. - IMAGO/Andreas Gora/IMAGO/Andreas Gora

Borussia Mönchengladbach: Julian Weigl (possible)

Lars Stindl's return to the first club of his career, Karlsruhe, in the summer saw Jonas Hofmann emerge as the most likely successor as club captain, However, his transfer to Bayer Leverkusen has led to new coach Gerardo Seoane being presented with his first big decision only days into the job. The experience of Julian Weigl has made him a strong contender. Despite only being on the club's books for a year - Weigl has the know-how of four years in Portugal after five seasons at Borussia Dortmund to support his leadership credentials, should he get the nod. The role will not be entirely unfamiliar either, with him having been named the youngest ever captain of his first club 1860 Munich when he was just 18 years old. Ten years on, he could wear a captain's armband once more, this time in the Bundesliga.

Julian Weigl has earned six caps for Germany and joined Gladbach on a permanent basis from Benfica this summer. - IMAGO/Eibner-Pressefoto/Silas Schuelle/IMAGO/Eibner

Cologne: Florian Kainz 

Following Jonas Hector's retirement in the summer, the Cologne captain's armband is changing arms for the first time in some years this season. Steffen Baumgart was not rushed into naming his successor, asking for time "for the lads to get to know each other," and suggesting that "football sometimes moves in unpredictable ways." Austrian midfielder Kainz eventually got the nod as Cologne's new captain, however. With over 100 appeararances for the club he joined four years ago, 30-year-old Kainz is the most experienced Billy Goat, after all, and will now get the chance to lead the herd onto the field each week. 

Florian Kainz has made over 100 appearances for Cologne and has been named as their new captain. - 1.FC Köln / Thomas Fähnrich

Hoffenheim: Oliver Baumann

Oliver Baumann deputised for Benjamin Hübner in 2021/22 before inheriting the armband following his predecessor's retirement in the winter. The 33-year-old goalkeeper was the logical replacement. He was an ever-present last term, keeping five clean sheets, and will celebrate his 10th straight season as a Hoffenheim player as the club captain.

Oliver Baumann made his first appearance in the Hoffenheim goal in August 2014 - and has rarely been absent since. - Oliver Zimmermann via www.imago-images.de/imago images/foto2press

Werder Bremen: Marco Friedl

At 25, Friedl is the youngest skipper in the division. A former Bayern academy player, the defender actually made his Bundesliga debut with the record German champions in 2017 before heading to Werder - initially on loan - in January 2018. He made 27 appearances as Bremen earned promotion last year, which not only earned him a new contract last summer but also the armband. Following the departure of Ömer Toprak, Friedl was voted into the position by his teammates and described the captaincy as an honour. "I’m really pleased to have the trust of the boys," he told the Werder website. "It’s a great responsibility for me to represent this club as captain on and off the field."

Marco Friedl will hope to guide Werder Bremen to Bundesliga safety again in 2023/24. - IMAGO/Michael Taeger/IMAGO/Jan Huebner

Bochum: Anthony Losilla

This will be Losilla's ninth year at Bochum and fifth since taking the captaincy in 2019/20. In that time, the 36-year-old Frenchman has helped earn promotion to the top flight in 2020/21 and then kept them there since. He has well and truly endeared himself to the supporters and established himself as a true figurehead of the club. Losilla extended his contract for another season in January this year and made clear his affection for the city and its football club that he so proudly represents. "VfL is my club," he told the club's website. "And I state that unreservedly. The city of Bochum has captured my heart and it's been my pleasure to give something back to the people here through our promotion and Bundesliga matches."

Frenchman Anthony Losilla (2nd l.) has taken Bochum to heart and vice versa. - IMAGO/nordphoto GmbH / Rauch/IMAGO/Nordphoto

Augsburg: Jeffrey Gouweleeuw

Dutch defender Gouweleeuw landed in Augsburg in January 2016 having previously captained AZ Alkmaar in his homeland. Just three years later he was given the duties at FCA, replacing Daniel Baier. Head coach Enrico Maßen, who at 39 is just seven years older than Gouweleeuw, has retained the centre-back as captain for the upcoming campaign. He missed just two Bundesliga matches last season and is now just five away from bringing up a second century, all for Die Fuggerstädter, where he has already become a club legend.

VfB Stuttgart: Wataru Endo

Handed the captaincy at the start of the 2021/22 campaign, Endo had a gold-plated position in the VfB Hall of Fame by the time the season came to an end. The Japan international was the club's Matchday 34 saviour as he popped up in the 92nd-minute to hit a winner against Cologne that kept Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. It was a goal that sent the Mercedes-Benz Arena into delirious celebration. Once the dust settled and Endo got back home, he was greeted by a chalk message on his driveway from his neighbours' children that simply read: "Legendo". We could not have put it better ourselves.

Heidenheim: Patrick Mainka

For Patrick Mainka, being in the Bundesliga is new territory, but being captain is not. The 28-year-old defender has been part of Heidenheim's fairy-tale journey from Bundesliga 2 to the top flight of German football, captaining them since the 2020/21 season. The No.6 has made 175 appearances for the club, heading into the 2023/24 season, and will make history by becoming the first player to lead Heidenheim out for a Bundesliga fixture. "Patrick's constantly grown as a leader," said the club's coach Frank Schmidt prior to the start of last season. "He's made for this role."

Patrick Mainka will make history when he leads Heidenheim out for their first ever Bundesliga fixture in 2023/24. - imago images/Laci Perenyi

Darmstadt: Fabian Holland

Fabian Holland has worn Darmstadt's captain's armband since 2019, and that is set to continue in the Bundesliga. After extending his contract with the Lilies through to 2025 last December, the 32-year-old has underlined his commitment to the club he joined in 2015, earning the respect of his coach Torsten Lieberknecht. "Any coach would dream of having a player like Fabi in his squad," Lieberknecht said. "He leads the way, on and off the field, is tactically versatile and helps new players settle in." All those are qualities Lieberknecht will be delighted to count on as Darmstadt embark on their return to the Bundesliga this season.

Fabian Holland (l.) helped Darmstadt muscle their way back into the Bundesliga, and he will lead them as captain in Germany's top flight. - IMAGO / Hübner