The German Bundesliga is back on Football Manager after a decade-long absence, which means you can finally take control of your favourite teams and players from Europe's most exciting league.
To help you in your first managerial steps, bundesliga.com sat down with the new FM19 to find out which Bundesliga gems you should be signing up to make your virtual team sparkle.
Check out our top player recommendation for each of the division's 18 teams below…
Augsburg: Simon Asta
Up-and-coming right-back Asta is currently on the fringes of the Augsburg first-team squad, and has certainly been giving Manuel Baum food for thought with a string of assured performances for the club's U19s. The 17-year-old has the raw stats you'd associate with a modern full-back – pace (16), natural fitness (16) and work rate (15) – but still lacks experience at the highest level. Expect his composure (11), decisions (10) and off the ball (10) to shoot up once he starts getting a regular taste of the Bundesliga.
Bailey has already emerged as one of the Bundesliga's outstanding young talents, grabbing nine goals and six assists during a breakout 2017/18 season. The jet-heeled Leverkusen winger moves almost as quickly as fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt, which clearly wasn't lost on the FM19 boffins: his top attributes are pace (18), acceleration (18), flair (17) and dribbling (16). The 21-year-old also boasts impressive technique (15) and poses a danger from distance with his long shots (15).
One day, Manuel Neuer will hang up his golden gloves and Bayern will face the prospect of replacing the world's best goalkeeper – yet the club are quietly confident they have already found their man in Früchtl. The 18-year-old Bavarian, who won the U17 Bundesliga title in 2016/17, stands at an imposing 6'4", and has been lauded by Neuer himself for his talent and coordination. Along with the agility (15) and jumping reflexes (15) expected of a keeper, he has impressive composure (15) and an important sense of teamwork (14).
Another man who certainly needs no introduction. The precocious Pulisic has broken more records than most of us have had hot dinners, and the scary thing is that the 20-year-old USA winger still has plenty of room for improvement. A talisman for the US Men's National Team, the Dortmund star boasts impressive acceleration (17), agility (17) and pace (15), while his first touch (16) rarely lets him down. His solid work rate (16) and aggression (16) ensure he will always put in the hard yards for your team.
Watch: Pulisic's top 3 Dortmund goals
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Mickael Cuisance
Having joined Gladbach from the AS Nancy U19s at the start of 2017/18, Cuisance ended up playing a much bigger role than expected, making 24 Bundesliga appearances and becoming a firm fan favourite. The French creative midfielder, now 19, was even voted the Foals' Player of the Season ahead of Denis Zakaria and Lars Stindl. As you would expect from a midfield string-puller, Cuisance excels when it comes to passing (16), vision (16), technique (16) and composure (15). He is also handy at taking corners (16).
Eintracht Frankfurt: Evan N'Dicka
A highly-prized possession of French youth football, N’Dicka joined the Eagles this summer from Auxerre. Despite being just 19, he has been thrust into the starting XI for Adi Hütter’s squad and has not looked back. The centre-back missed just 11 minutes in the first half of the season, having started all of Frankfurt’s outings. His 6”3’ height makes him a commanding figure, despite his tender age, and that is reflected in the game with his jumping reach (18) and strength (13), but he also has some highly sought-after attributes such as pace (16), composure (14) and natural fitness (15).
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Davor Lovren
The younger brother of Liverpool defender Dejan, Lovren was born in Munich and joined Fortuna on loan from Dinamo Zagreb in summer 2017, helping the club secure the Bundesliga 2 title with an assist in the winner-takes-all meeting with Nuremberg on the final day. The tricky winger made his move permanent in July, though injuries have limited him to a solitary Bundesliga appearance so far. The 20-year-old is blessed with flair (16) and agility (16), plus the acceleration (15) and dribbling (14) you would expect from a wide man.
Freiburg: Constantin Frommann
Goalkeeper Frommann was one of the most consistent performers for the Freiburg reserves last season, keeping 10 clean sheets in 24 Regionalliga outings. That was enough to earn the 20-year-old promotion to Christian Streich's senior squad, and he also made his first two appearances for the Germany U20s in autumn 2017. Frommann has yet to get a taste of the Bundesliga, but plenty of clubs are keeping an eye on him. Quick off his line, his top attribute is rushing out (17), followed by composure (15), determination (15) and teamwork (15).
Hannover: Linton Maina
Maina was just 17 when he was promoted to the Hannover U19s in time for the 2016/17 season. The midfielder went on to register 11 goals and six assists in 45 appearances, before debuting for the senior squad as a substitute in March 2018. Nowadays a fully fledged member of the Hannover first team, 19-year-old Maina earned his first cap for the Germany U20s in September of 2018. His abilities as a playmaker are reflected in his agility (16), flair (16), acceleration (15) and technique (14) ratings.
Maier could well be the next big thing to come out of Germany. The 20-year-old defensive midfielder broke into the Hertha first-team last season and has become one of the first names on Pal Dardai's teamsheet, playing every competitive match bar one so far in 2018/19. An U19 Bundesliga champion earlier this year (with a goal in the final!), Maier has been garnering attention and praise from all sides with his assured performances. FM19 players will appreciate his teamwork (17), composure (16), first touch (15) and technique (15).
Hoffenheim: David Otto
The up-and-coming Hoffenheim striker enjoyed a sensational campaign with the club's U19s in 2017/18, notching an eye-watering 27 goals and 14 assists in just 22 outings. The youth captain was even rewarded with a cameo appearance for the senior team in their UEFA Europa League group game with Ludogorets, but a broken ankle has since slowed his progress into the senior squad. A natural finisher who also looks to set up his fellow forwards if possible, it is no surprise to see Otto scoring high on teamwork (15). He is also noted for his natural fitness (15), bravery (15) and work rate (14).
Mainz: Erkan Eyibil
Germany has produced some sensational footballers of Turkish origin in recent years – think Mesut Özil, Ilkay Gündogan and Emre Can – and Eyibil could soon be adding his name to that illustrious list. The 17-year-old attacking midfielder has been on fire for Mainz's U19s this term, scoring six goals in his first nine appearances – having already notched a whopping 17 goals and 20 assists for the club's U17s in 2017/18. You certainly haven't heard the last of Eyibil, who stands out for his determination (18), natural fitness (16) and dribbling (15).
Nuremberg: Eduard Löwen
A product of the Kaiserslautern youth system, Löwen joined Nuremberg in summer 2017 and hasn't looked back since. The versatile 21-year-old – who can slot into defensive midfield, central defence or even centre forward – played a key role in helping 'Der Club' return to the Bundesliga last term, grabbing five goals and four assists in 32 appearances. Though he plays for the Germany U21s, Löwen's parents are Russian; they emigrated from Siberia two years before he was born. His major assets are strength (16), bravery (16) and anticipation (16).
At just 20 years of age, Upamecano has already established himself as one of the Bundesliga's finest centre-backs, and Leipzig's recent forays into Europe have given him a chance to show the rest of the continent what he's capable of. It will surely only be a matter of time before the France youth international – who won the U17 Euro in 2015, and currently represents the U21s – is called up to the senior squad. Upamecano has remarkable pace (18) for a central defender, tempered with balance (17), strength (16) and bravery (16).
Wright joined Schalke in April 2016, and had not even recovered from jetlag before scoring a brace on his debut for the U19s. The following season, he impressed everyone with 12 goals and 12 assists, before being loaned out to Bundesliga 2 side SV Sandhausen. Now back in Gelsenkirchen, the USA U19 international is scoring with alarming regularity for the Schalke reserves and even got his first senior goal on his fourth first-team outing. A bona fide target man, Wright’s leading attribute is his jumping reach (16), followed by his acceleration (15), natural fitness and pace (both 14).
Stuttgart may have endured a tough start to this season, but in Pavard they boast one of the Bundesliga's most talented young defenders – and a FIFA World Cup winner to boot. The France right-back, who slots in at centre-back for his club, was one of only four outfield players to play every minute in the Bundesliga in 2017/18, as VfB narrowly missed out on Europe. The 22-year-old excels in anticipation (17), composure (17) and tackling (16), while his positioning (16) and decisions (16) make him a useful addition to any team, which is why Bayern have moved to sign the Frenchman for the start of next season.
Watch: What makes Pavard so good?
Werder Bremen: Johannes Eggestein
Eggestein, the younger brother of Bremen midfielder Maximilian, boasted an extraordinary scoring record at youth level with Bremen. He plundered 41 goals in 51 appearances for the U17s and 42 goals in 33 outings for the U19s. He made the step up from the reserves to the first team early in 2017/18, and hasn’t looked back since. The Germany U21 international has already found the net in the the Bundesliga and DFB Cup – an instinctive nose for goal reflected in his anticipation, finishing and first touch (all 15).
Wolfsburg: Josip Brekalo
A product of the Dinamo Zagreb youth academy, Brekalo made 11 appearances for Dinamo's first team, before moving to Wolfsburg in summer 2016, aged 18. He was loaned out to Stuttgart at the start of 2017/18, before being recalled by a Wolfsburg side fighting relegation at the halfway stage. That they lived to tell the tale owes much to Brekalo’s match-winning influence in the final third. Rated 17 for flair, and 16 for acceleration, agility and dribbling, you can see why he has been dubbed 'the Croatian Arjen Robben'. The only difference is, he’s naturally right - as opposed to left - footed.
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