The Bundesliga is home not just to the best that German football has to offer, but also many of the top international players from around the world. So how would the best all-German XI shape up against the best foreigners playing in the top flight?
With both sides operating a 4-2-3-1 formation, bundesliga.com has been speculating about what that tasty fixture might look like.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
This was certainly one of the easiest selections. Neuer may be 33 now, but the Bayern and Germany captain is still head and shoulders above the competition. The veteran missed the bulk of the 2017/18 campaign with a foot injury, but returned to his best to win a seventh Bundesliga title in 2018/19. Now closing in on 100 caps for his country, the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner has helped Germany cruise to UEFA Euro 2020 qualification. The former Schalke netminder revolutionised the game with his sweeper-keeper style, and his shot-stopping reflexes are as sharp as ever.
Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig)
Klostermann is one of a number of players in the line-up who has fought back from serious injury to star for both club and country. The former Germany U21 captain suffered a cruciate ligament tear shortly after winning an Olympic silver medal in 2016, but he has since become a huge asset to head coaches Julian Nagelsmann and Joachim Löw. The 23-year-old chips in with regular goals for Nagelsmann’s Leipzig – he got five in the Bundesliga in 2018/19 – and is now a key part of Löw’s Germany squad. With Joshua Kimmich deployed in midfield by Germany, Klostermann has been racking up appearances at right-back since making his debut in March 2019.
Süle is a player who has a long recovery period ahead of him after tearing the cruciate ligament in his left knee for a second time this October. When the centre-back is fit, though, he is, as Löw put it, a “central figure” for Germany. The 24-year-old cuts a commanding figure standing at 6’5”, so it’s rare that a striker can outmuscle him. With a top speed of 21.7 miles per hour in his Bundesliga career, it’s unlikely many opposing attackers can outpace him either. To cap it all, the former Hoffenheim defender’s passing accuracy runs at well over 90 per cent.
Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
Hummels may be out of Löw’s thoughts for the time being but he’s firmly in ours. There are a number of reasons Dortmund spent big money to bring Hummels back to the club in the summer of 2019, and chief amongst them is his undoubted quality. The 30-year-old is calm on the ball and knows how to win big games – six Bundesliga titles and a 2014 World Cup winner’s medal are evidence of that. With 70 caps for Germany and over 300 top-flight appearances behind him, Hummels brings elegance, a goal threat, and vital experience to the backline.
Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig)
Halstenberg made his Germany debut against England in November 2017 but some people would have been concerned when he suffered – you guessed it – a cruciate ligament injury in January 2018. They needn’t have worried, since the 28-year-old has bounced back to return in the form of his life. The former St. Pauli player loves to get forward from left-back, and often does so decisively. He scored a sweetly struck first goal for Germany in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifying win over Northern Ireland in Belfast, and also netted against Union Berlin and Mainz early in the 2019/20 club season.
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Here’s a player who could have made the team in a couple of different positions. A brilliant right-back for Bayern, Kimmich had two goals and a whopping 14 assists as they made it seven Bundesliga titles in a row in 2018/19. Shortlisted for the 2019 FIFA FIFPro World XI, the 24-year-old impressed in midfield for Bayern and got a superb goal in their incredible 7-2 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League in October. The number six role is one he’s become accustomed to with Germany, and one he prefers as well. Kimmich is thriving with the extra responsibility, and getting better all the time.
Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich)
With Kimmich holding the fort in a defensive midfield role, his Bayern teammate Goretzka will be given licence to break forward a bit more often in our team. Ghosting into the area is something he’s been doing well for both club and country for quite some time now. The former Schalke player, after all, got three goals to help Germany win the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, while also getting eight league goals and four assists in his first season in Bavaria. Having netted against Estonia and Belarus in Euro 2020 qualifying, the athletic 24-year-old got a double to finish against Northern Ireland, and is an obvious choice for an all-German Bundesliga XI.
Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Another in the getting-better-all-the-time category, it’s easy to forget that Havertz is still only 20. The youngest player in Bundesliga history to make 50 appearances – aged 18 years and 307 days in 2018 – Havertz is a major reason why Leverkusen returned to the Champions League in 2019. Die Werkself claimed a fourth-place finish in 2018/19, with Havertz picking up the Bundesliga’s Player of the Month awards for his part in their brilliant late-season surge. He was Leverkusen’s top scorer with 17 league goals, and the high-achieving youngster added his first for Germany in September’s 2-2 friendly draw with Argentina.
Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
Another man to hit 17 Bundesliga goals in 2018/19, Reus is an obvious candidate in attack. Badly-timed injuries robbed the Dortmund captain of a chance to shine at both the 2014 World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016, but there is no doubt about how important he is these days for both club and country. A three-time Bundesliga Player of the Month last season, the 30-year-old racked up five goals inside eight matchdays to fire Dortmund’s latest title challenge this time around. At international level he has given glimpses of how devastating an all-German Bundesliga XI could be, getting on the scoresheet three times in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Watch: All 17 of Marco Reus' goals in 2018/19!
Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Speaking of devastating, have you met Serge Gnabry? The former Arsenal man has been in sensational form since joining Bayern’s squad last season, scoring 10 goals in their title-winning campaign. Just like last term, he scored in a thumping home win over Dortmund, but the highlight so far was his four – yes, FOUR – goals against Tottenham in London. With impressive pace and an ability to shoot off both feet, he was on the mark in both Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Netherlands, and rounded off the campaign with a sparkling hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Northern Ireland. That took his tally in qualifying to eight goals in seven games, and 13 in 13 matches for Germany overall. This all-German team is starting to sound unstoppable…
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
And then we come to Werner. The 23-year-old is another player loving life at Nagelsmann’s Leipzig, having already got to double figures in the Bundesliga for the fourth time in succession. His 11 goals in the first 11 matchdays included a scarcely believable display against Mainz, when the former Stuttgart frontman helped himself to a hat-trick of goals AND assists in a club record 8-0 win. Werner’s form at club level has made Leipzig genuine title contenders and. Quick, a good finisher, and equally comfortable on the wing, leading the line on his own or in a front two, he is a super striker for Germany and our all-German Bundesliga XI.
Yann Sommer (Borrusia Mönchengladbach and Switzerland)
If Gladbach are setting the early pace in the Bundesliga, Sommer has been doing what he does best. The Swiss keeper is as reliable as they come, recording 13 shut outs in 34 matches last season. In 2019/20 he kept clean sheets against Cologne, Hoffenheim, and Schalke to set the tone for the Foals' superb start. The 30-year-old has been in similar form for his country, conceding only six goals in eight qualifying matches as Switzerland topped their group to book a place at Euro 2020.
Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund and Morocco)
In all honesty, it’s getting almost as hard to keep up with the spectacular progress of Hakimi’s career as it is to keep up with one of his runs on the pitch. Following a brilliant first season in Germany – he twice won the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Month prize – Hakimi has been every bit as impressive this year. Adept in either full-back position, the tireless Dortmund star is a potent attacking force. In October, he scored both goals in a classic counter-attacking performance against Slavia Prague in the Champions League. A month later, he was it again – scoring twice the day after his 21st birthday in an incredible come-from-behind victory over Inter Milan. Catch him if you can.
Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich and France)
Another adaptable player in the line-up, Pavard plays right-back for France but all across the backline for Bayern. The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner seems to be enjoying life in Munich following his summer move from Stuttgart. He has featured mostly at centre-back, especially following long-term injuries to Süle and Lucas Hernandez. But the 23-year-old is a threat at the other end, too, having found the net against Mainz and Union Berlin early in his Bayern career.
Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig and France)
Alongside Pavard is his compatriot Konate, who was part of the meanest defence in the Bundesliga last season. Leipzig conceded only 29 goals in 2018/19, with Konate starting in 27 of their matches. The France U21 centre-back is dominant in the air – winning over 80 per cent of his aerial battles this term – and has a pass success rate of 94 per cent. The former Sochaux defender ensured Leipzig conceded only three goals in five matches at the start of 2019/20 before he picked up a muscle injury at the beginning of October.
David Alaba (Bayern Munich and Austria)
Adding some title-winning know-how to the non-German XI is eight-time Bundesliga winner Alaba. The 27-year-old from Vienna has been a mainstay for Bayern in their seven-in-a-row squad, with his free-kicks and raids down the left posing a serious problem for opposition defences. In November, the 2012/13 treble winner ensured that Austria would make a second successive appearance at the European Championship, scoring a goal in the 2-1 win over North Macedonia that booked their ticket to Euro 2020.
Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund and Belgium)
Dortmund’s metronome at the heart of midfield doesn’t look like he’ll stop ticking any time soon. Witsel says he hates losing the ball, and that even giving it away two or three times during a match is too much. Good thing, then, that the classy midfielder has quite a talent for finding a teammate. Fewer than five per cent of Witsel’s passes in the Bundesliga go astray, but the former Zenit St. Petersburg player offers much more than just that. Following a stunning first year in Germany – when he almost drove Dortmund to the title – Witsel has been delivering again this term. As well as breaking up countless opposition attacks, by Matchday 10 he already had two goals and three assists in the league alone. Capped over 100 times by his country, he also helped Belgium coast through Euro 2020 qualifying.
Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich and Spain)
With Witsel providing a perfect foil, Thiago would be free to play his probing passes in a deep-lying playmaker role. The Spain international’s balance and movement make him a hard man to stop, and – averaging 109 touches per game – he was another midfielder with a passing accuracy of over 90 per cent in 2018/19. The 28-year-old should be winging his way to Euro 2020 with Spain next summer.
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund and England)
Sancho has gone from highly-promising teenager to an essential player for club and country in a very short space of time. Never short of a trick to leave a defender looking foolish, the 19-year-old had a hugely impressive haul of 12 goals and 14 assists in the Bundesliga last season. Sancho has since gone on to become the youngest player to record 15 career goals in the German top flight, while continuing to register assists at a rate that makes him amongst the most effective wingers in Europe. The Londoner also weighed in with two goals and three assists in Euro 2020 qualifying as England made light work of their group.
Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig and Austria)
Now in his fifth year in Leipzig, Sabitzer is another player who has excelled under new head coach Nagelsmann. By November, the 25-year-old had scored a jaw-dropping nine goals in all competitions from midfield. And speaking of jaw-dropping, his sumptuous volleyed effort in a 2-1 Champions League win over Zenit St. Petersburg was one of the goals of the season. With two goals and as many assists in the opening four matchdays on the European stage, Sabitzer has Leipzig well placed to qualify for the last 32. He’s also been vital for his county, too, scoring twice to help Austria to Euro 2020, so he’s an in-form addition to our attack.
Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund and Belgium)
Teaming up with older brother Eden to tear apart Russia in November, Thorgan Hazard has also been unlocking defences for new club Dortmund in the Bundesliga. With an impressive tally of one goal and six assists in his first 10 league appearances for BVB, the 26-year-old is set to play a key role in their bid to become German champions for the first time since 2012. Hazard scored 10 Bundesliga goals in each of his past two seasons with Gladbach, so if he delivers that kind of return for Dortmund then they will surely be in the title mix.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)
We’re pretty sure you guessed the first name on the teamsheet. Lewandowski is now in the top four in the rankings for all-time top goalscorers in the Bundesliga, and the 31-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down. The four-time Bundelsiga top scorer created a new record this season by netting in each of his first 11 league matches. After scoring 40 goals across all competitions last term, the former Dortmund hero had 23 by the November international break – including two in a 4-0 win over his former team. With well over 200 goals in over 300 Bundesliga appearances, Lewandowski is hoping to win the Bundesliga for an eighth time before leading Poland to next summer’s European Championship.