The 2020/21 Bundesliga season is nearly upon us, and the Official Fantasy Manager game is ready to go! To help you on your way, we look back at last year's team of the season...
Manuel Neuer may have kept the most clean sheets in the league (15), but the Bayern captain was pipped to the Fantasy No.1 spot by Gladbach’s Sommer. Saves bring you points in Fantasy Manager, and no one produced more in the league than the Switzerland goalkeeper (126). Although Borussia managed just two shutouts in the second half of the season, Sommer ended the campaign with the highest save rate of any first-choice goalkeeper (75 per cent) to ensure that he and the Foals kept racking up the points and got over the line for UEFA Champions League qualification.
Watch: How Sommer compares to Neuer
Hakimi’s star has risen at Dortmund, particularly in the second season of his two-year loan spell from Real Madrid. He featured in all but one game this term (due to suspension) and blossomed in a more attacking rule. Nominally a defender, the 21-year-old has spent the majority of the season further up the pitch, either as a wide forward or, following Lucien Favre’s move to a 3-4-3 formation, as a wing-back. The reward for that has been five goals and 10 assists, the latter being the most by a defender in the league.
Watch: Achraf Hakimi, born to play football
Kimmich’s season began with the question of what his best position was – right-back, centre-back or central midfield? He ended the campaign with that definitively answered after marshalling Bayern to an eighth straight title from the middle of the pitch. Four goals, seven assists and winning challenges over 33 of a possible 34 games saw the points mount up faster than he could pass the ball around the pitch. The Germany international also benefited from the points that came with 15 clean sheets to ensure he topped the points chart for defenders.
Watch: Joshua Kimmich: following in Philipp Lahm's footsteps
Günter definitely isn’t one of the bigger names in this Fantasy XI, but managers in the know have been backing the Freiburg left-back throughout the season. He has played the most minutes of any outfield player in the league, helping the Black Forest club to a highly creditable eighth-place finish. Skippering the side in place of club captain Mike Frantz, the one-time Germany international has led from the front as a left-back or wing-back, chipping in with eight assists from open play and set pieces. As the cheapest player in this Fantasy XI, the just eight per cent of managers with him in the team have benefited from his points and the saved millions in the bank.
It’s been a blockbuster season for Sancho, whose 17 goals and 16 assists mean only Lewandowski and Timo Werner have had a hand in more goals, but neither can claim to have had the all-round attacking influence of the England international. He became the first Bundesliga player since detailed data collection began in 1992/93 to reach at least 15 for both goals and assists in a season, ensuring the 20-year-old almost always chipped in with points. Fantasy managers and fans can only expect more of the same next year.
Another who has perhaps gone under the radar a little this season, Sabitzer has still been a consistent performer for Leipzig, exerting his influence from midfield. The Austrian began the campaign in scintillating form with a goal and hat-trick of assists in the opening game against Union Berlin. After 32 appearances, he ended on nine goals and seven assists as Leipzig finished third to ensure a second straight Champions League qualification in the first season under Julian Nagelsmann, who would certainly include the midfielder in his own Fantasy team (Nagelsmänner United isn’t fooling anyone, Julian).
Lewandowski finished as top scorer, Müller as the top provider, but Gnabry was the only Bayern player in double figures for both goals (12) and assists (10) this season, doing so across just 26 starts. The former Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim forward was a banker for Fantasy managers the moment his name appeared in Hansi Flick’s starting XI. Over a third of his points came from attempted shots alone, meaning he didn’t even need to find the back of the net to make his Fantasy bosses happy. And to top it all off, he didn’t receive a single card all season.
Without doubt the gem in the crown of Fantasy managers’ teams, Kostic was the highest-scoring midfielder in the game despite the fact his Frankfurt side finished lower than any other club in this Team of the Season. The Serbian started every game bar one (due to illness) and was Eintracht’s chief attacking outlet down the left, delivering almost twice as many crosses from open play (209) than any other player in the league (Günter is next with 115) and sitting fifth for shots (86). The fact that only 12 per cent of managers had him in their team is a surprise, but you can guarantee the most successful will have had their star on the winger most of the season.
Managers will have been forgiven for disregarding Müller early in the season after he found playing time limited under Niko Kovac, but his revival under Flick saw him and boyhood club Bayern produce one of the most stunning campaigns in history. The Raumdeuter finished the season on eight goals (his best return since 2015/16) and a remarkable 21(!) assists. It’s the most ever recorded in a single Bundesliga season, surpassing the previous best set by Kevin De Bruyne for Wolfsburg in 2014/15, and includes six braces of assists. The nine-time Bundesliga champion is now interpreting space for assists over goals.
Watch: Müller: "We had some really hard times"
There is no shortage of superlatives for Lewandowski this season, and it’s no great shock that the Bundesliga’s top scorer is also top of the lot in Fantasy Manager. His 34 goals is a personal best for the striker and equals the fourth-best haul by any player in Bundesliga history – only the seemingly unsurpassable Gerd Müller has ever netted more. Those goals accounted for a quarter of his monster haul of points, with shots providing even more. The only surprise is that 49 per cent of managers DIDN’T have Lewandowski in their teams. No excuse for that really.
Werner pushed Lewandowski for long periods this season on the goals and Fantasy points fronts, but came up second best in both regards. He did, though, sign off for Leipzig with a brace against Augsburg that saw him become RB’s all-time top scorer with 95 goals. This season he netted multiple goals in eight games – a league high with Lewandowski – and got 17 of his 28 on the road, which equals Jupp Heynckes’ Bundesliga record for away goals set in 1973/74. Leipzig and Fantasy managers will have a big hole to fill in attack next season after his departure to Chelsea.
Watch: Werner: "I just wanted to have fun with my teammates one more time"