Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are two of the Bundesliga’s biggest clubs with squads containing the likes of James Rodriguez, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski and Michy Batshuayi the envy of world football. But what if you could combine them into one super squad?
To do just that, bundesliga.com has pitted players against each other based on shirt numbers. While some numbers were relatively straightforward, there were some that caused some serious managerial headaches. Having to pick just one of James or Reus? What a decision to have to make…
1. Manuel Neuer over Roman Weidenfeller
The four-time World’s Best Goalkeeper may have missed the majority of this season through injury, but he would be first choice at any club in the world when fit. On a personal level, Neuer has gotten the better of Weidenfeller on seven of the 13 occasions the pair have faced off since the former’s move to Bayern in 2011.
Two Bundesliga titles, two DFB Cups, a UEFA Champions League runner-up medal and a FIFA World Cup winner would be a haul for any goalkeeper to be proud of, but not even that can see Weidenfeller past former Germany teammate Neuer.
Watch: Neuer's top 5 saves
2. Sandro Wagner over Dan-Axel Zagadou
A rather odd comparison to have to make with striker Wagner wearing the unusual No.2 shirt at Bayern. As he said when he signed, that is because it’s his second attempt at the club. And he gets the nod here over Zagadou thanks to his four goals in eight Bundesliga games since returning to Munich in January, combined with his experience over the 18-year-old.
A summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain, Zagadou was impressive in Dortmund’s early season unbeaten run as he deputised for Marcel Schmelzer at left-back. However, the France U19 international has not featured at all since December. He is still young, though, so expect more to come from the teenage defender.
One to annoy the footballing purists, neither Bayern nor Dortmund currently have a No.3 in their squads.
Joo-Ho Park held that jersey at BVB from 2015 to 2017, but played just seven times in the Bundesliga for the club. Xabi Alonso was the last No.3 in Munich during his first season at the club before switching to the more accustomed 14 for his remaining two campaigns.
4. Niklas Süle
Unchallenged for the No.4 shirt in this team, the 22-year-old has had an impressive debut campaign at Bayern. Scoring the first goal of this Bundesliga season on his debut, the defender has been impressive in his 21 league appearances for the record champions.
As well as picking up just one yellow card all season, Süle also has the best pass completion rate at Bayern. More than just an able apprentice for world champions Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, the summer arrival from Hoffenheim has in fact played in more matches this season than either of his older mentors.
5. Mats Hummels
The former Dortmund man claims the No.5 jersey unopposed in this team, and he will be appreciated by both Bayern and Borussia fans alike. Winning two Bundesliga titles and the World Cup during his time at the Signal Iduna Park, he has since added another Bundesliga medal to his collection since re-joining Bayern.
Not just renowned for his defensive work, Hummels has scored or assisted five goals already this season for the third year in a row. Promising form before he attempts to defend his World Cup title with Germany in Russia this summer.
It has been a frustrating season for the Spaniard with a string of injuries limiting him to just 20 appearances in all competitions.
His 13 Bundesliga matches have, however, been impressive. Only failing to win three of them, he has completed 92 per cent of his passes and averages over 100 touches per game when out on the pitch.
7. Franck Ribery over Jadon Sancho
Another case of experience over raw talent, it’s the mature know-how of the 34-year-old Frenchman that sees him take the No.7 jersey over the potential of the 17-year-old Englishman.
Sancho may be an U17 world champion with England, but he has still only made six Bundesliga appearances to date. Ribery, on the other hand, has done it year in year out for Bayern. His 79 goals and 88 assists in 345 Bundesliga games has seen him crowned German champion on seven occasions with an eighth beckoning.
8. Javi Martinez over Nuri Sahin
A Dortmund youth product, Sahin has had a rather nomadic career that has seen him win trophies at Real Madrid and Feyenoord, as well as spend a year at Liverpool in England. The Turkey international was integral in Borussia’s lightning start to this season, but has failed to feature as much under Peter Stöger.
Martinez, on the other hand, is a key player in Jupp Heynckes’ team. A versatile piece in the jigsaw who was often deployed at centre back under Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, Heynckes has restored the Spaniard to his preferred defensive midfield position and even made him the first Spanish player in history to captain Bayern. His win ratio of 85 per cent from his 104 Bundesliga matches is the best in the league’s history and makes him indispensable part of any squad.
9. Robert Lewandowski over Andrey Yarmolenko
Not necessarily a fair comparison with a striker up against a winger, but what team would not want Lewandowski? Another man to cross the Klassiker divide, the Pole has enhanced his reputation for goalscoring even further at Bayern, becoming the club’s leading non-German scorer, sitting sixth on the Bavarian’s all-time Bundesliga scoring chart and becoming the fastest player in Bundesliga history to net 100 goals for a club. The records go on for Lewandowski…
Yarmolenko can count himself unlucky to come up against the might of the Polish scoring machine, but the summer signing from Dynamo Kiev did have an impressive start to life in the Bundesliga. Six goals and six assists in his first 24 competitive appearances for Dortmund is not a record to be ignored.
10. Arjen Robben over Mario Götze
Robben may be the wrong side of 30, but the Dutchman is still a more than able performer for Bayern. With 13 goals and 97 assists in 283 games with the Munich club, Robben has been doing the business at Bayern for nine seasons now. And the man who scored the winner against Dortmund to secure the 2013 Champions League for the Bavarians has continued to shine again this season, averaging a goal or assist every other Bundesliga outing.
Another player who has crossed the divide (and gone back again), Götze will forever be remembered as the man who won the 2014 World Cup for Germany. Since his return to Dortmund, injuries have hampered in progression at club level, but the 25-year-old has been in good form for his Dortmund team this season.
11. Marco Reus over James Rodriguez
Who would be a manager, eh? What a decision to have to make. Two of the best footballers in the world and you can only pick one.
Following a tough start at Bayern, James has flourished and chipped in with four goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga. The Colombian loanee from Real Madrid has been the driving force in Munich this season, but it is Reus who claims this hotly contested No.11 shirt thanks to his overall package.
Injuries have hampered the 28-year-old’s career, seeing him miss out on a number of international tournaments with Germany and last season’s DFB Cup triumph is the only piece of major silverware to his name. Yet the Dortmund native remains so influential at his boyhood club. Three goals in his five Bundesliga games this season have given BVB an extra five points, and Reus even captained the side on his return from a nine-month layoff. While James is able to dictate Bayern play, Reus is also a leader on the pitch. A creative influence and a highly respected figure. It is a seriously close call, but he just pips James to this jersey because of that.
Watch: The Marco Reus story
A number often reserved for the fans who act as the team’s 12th man, it has been left unoccupied at Dortmund since Ewerthon’s departure in 2005 and even longer in Munich – Robert Kovac in 2002.
13. Raphael Guerreiro over Rafinha
One of Bayern’s most faithful servants, Rafinha has been an able understudy at both right and left-back this season, featuring in 15 of the 20 Bundesliga matches under Heynckes.
However, European champion Guerreiro is handed the unlucky (for some) No.13 shirt in this combined squad due to his versatility. Able to play anywhere on the left, as well as in central midfield, the Portugal international already has nine goals and nine assets to his name in just 49 appearances for Dortmund. Injuries have limited his playing time since joining from Lorient in 2016, which could be a concern for a coach when selecting him over the rarely injured Rafinha.
14. Alexander Isak over Juan Bernat
Once again not a straightforward choice between a striker and a left-back, but it’s for Dortmund forward who gets the nod here. In a squad already full of possibilities at left-back, Bernat would likely see playing time limited despite his ability to play also at left wing.
The boy once dubbed the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Isak has some big boots to fill at club and international level with Sweden. Still only 18, he has played back-up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and now Michy Batshuayi in a Borussia team that tends to play with a sole striker. The Sweden international has shown glimpses of his potential though, including a goal and an assist on his first senior start for BVB in the DFB Cup at Magdeburg.
15. Jeremy Toljan
A summer signing from Hoffenheim, Toljan inherited the No.15 shirt vacated by Hummels the previous season. Being used as both a right and a left-back, the 23-year-old has impressed in spells but still looks to be back-up to club captain Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek.
A European U21 champion with Germany, Toljan’s chances of breaking into the senior Germany ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia look slim. However, could he soon be turning out for the USA instead?
16. Manuel Akanji over Meritan Shabani
Nineteen-year-old Shabani was a surprise inclusion in the Bayern squad for their unsuccessful visit to RB Leipzig on Matchday 27, but the attacking midfielder has impressed this season with the club’s U19s, scoring six goals and providing five assists in 13 U19 Bundesliga South/Southwest appearances. He also scored in the team’s 3-1 win over PSG in the UEFA Youth League.
However, Shabani’s lack of first-team appearances do not mean Akanji claims this position by default. The winter signing from Basel has looked at home in the BVB defence, playing every minute in five of his six Bundesliga games, which has seen Borussia claim 16 of a possible 18 points. Lately he appears to have become Stöger’s first-choice centre-back with Ömer Toprak and Sokratis rotating around him.
17. Jerome Boateng
The world champion has won it all since joining Bayern from Manchester City in 2011 and remains key for both club and country. In 24 appearances for the record champions this season, he has not lost once.
Earlier this season he would have been up against Aubameyang for possession of the No.17 shirt, and very well may have lost out.
18. Sebastian Rode
A lifelong Dortmund fan, Rode’s career has stalled due to injuries since joining from Bayern in 2016. He played 52 times for the Bavarians during two seasons, but has since made just 22 appearances for BVB in the subsequent two seasons, and not featuring at all due to injury since August’s penalty shootout loss to FCB in the Supercup.
19. Sebastian Rudy over Mahmoud Dahoud
Another tough decision with two players seemingly still trying to find their feet at their new clubs, neither player has been able to bolt down a permanent position in their respective teams. Both also joined their new clubs on the back of international success with Germany: Rudy winning the Confederations Cup with the senior side and Dahoud the European U21 Championship with the nation’s U21s.
The Dortmund man is the more creative player and covers more distance than Rudy, but the Bayern players offers more assurance on the ball with his passing and gets into this team by the skin of his teeth thanks to his experience over the 22-year-old Dahoud.
20. Maximilian Philipp over Felix Götze
Philipp was an instant success for Borussia following his summer signing from Freiburg but had his progress hampered by a serious knee injury that kept him out for almost four months. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old’s figures remain impressive this season with a goal every 144 minutes in the Bundesliga.
A BVB youth product, Götze is the younger brother of World Cup winner Mario but is yet to make a first-team appearance for Bayern.
21. Andre Schürrle
The Germany international has undergone a renaissance under Stöger and has a goal and three assists in his last seven Bundesliga games, including setting up Götze against Hamburg for the first time since the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina.
Last season Schürrle would have come up against Bayern captain Philipp Lahm for this jersey and will have had a fight on his hands to stake his claim.
A terrific milestone passed by @andreschuerrle in the #Bundesliga! 👏 . . . . #BVB #BorussiaDortmund #Dortmund #immerwiederbvb #bvbarmy #Bundesliga #Football #Soccer #fussball #futbol #goals #lovefootball #thebeautifulgame #instasport #team #soccerislife #footy #skills #matchday #player #match #footballgame #ball
22. Christian Pulisic over Tom Starke
The loyal back-up that Starke is in goal, even coming out of retirement to help Bayern following the injury to Neuer earlier this season, the 37-year-old loses out to one of the most talented teenagers of his generation.
The USMNT’s Player of the Year for 2017, teenager Pulisic is the rising star of American soccer and was already ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by the time he turned 19. A Bundesliga champion at both U17 and U19 level, Pulisic has featured in every league match this season when fit, covering more distance than any other BVB player, and is only set to get better.
Watch: Dortmund's wonderkid, Christian Pulisic
23. Arturo Vidal over Shinji Kagawa
A battle between two of South America and Asia’s finest that sees the Chilean midfielder narrowly edge out his Japanese counterpart.
Kagawa’s five goals this season may already outstrip his haul from the previous campaign, but consistency has remained the 29-year-old’s biggest issue since returning to Dortmund from Manchester United and trails Vidal in assists, distance covered, touches of the ball, shots on goal, passes and passing accuracy.
Slightly Kagawa’s senior at 30, Vidal appears to be in the prime of his career as a midfield all-rounder for Bayern. This season the Chilean has not just been key in the centre of the park but has also chipped in with six important goals, making him Bayern’s second-highest scorer in the league after Lewandowski.
24. Corentin Tolisso
In his first season at Bayern, the 23-year-old has impressed following his summer move from Lyon and has since become a regular in Didier Deschamps’ France team.
Seven goals and five assists in 32 competitive outings for the Bavarian giants this term is a more than respectable return for the young Frenchman.
25. Thomas Müller over Sokratis
Since joining from Werder Bremen in 2013, Greek Colossus Sokratis Papastathopoulos has become a mainstay of the Dortmund defence and even captained the side on several occasions. Yet he is unfortunate to come up against the force of nature that is Thomas Müller.
The man who has created his own position in football, Bayern and Germany’s Raumdeuter remains a phenomenon and one of the Munich club’s most valuable assets. Bayern’s captain in the continued absence of Neuer, Müller is looking back to his unpredictable best once again this season. His six Bundesliga goals so far is already one more than the whole of last term, while his eight assists puts his third in the league behind Augsburg’s Philipp Max (12) and teammate Kimmich (9).
26. Lukasz Piszczek over Sven Ulreich
Ulreich may lead the Bundesliga standings for clean sheets this season (10, alongside Roman Bürki and Schalke’s Ralf Fährmann) and be a more than able back-up for the injured Neuer, but he comes up against one of Borussia’s unsung heroes in the form of right-back Piszczek.
When the Poland international plays, Dortmund do not lose. The 32-year-old is currently unbeaten in his last 32 Bundesliga outings, and his 10-game injury absence earlier this season coincided with the end of BVB’s undefeated start of the season. Borussia’s record this term reads: Won 11, drawn six and lost nine with Piszczek; Won two, drawn three and lost five without Piszczek. It is a remarkable record and credit to the veteran full-back.
27. David Alaba over Gonzalo Castro
Castro may be one of the most experienced players currently in the Bundesliga with 357 appearances – only Claudio Pizarro (440) and Stefan Kießling (400) have more – but the former Bayer Leverkusen man’s medal haul pales, like so many, in comparison to that of full-back Alaba.
The 25-year-old is already in his ninth Bundesliga campaign, winning the league on six occasions. Add to that a further four DFB Cups and the Champions League in 2013, and the Austrian has won it all at club level and looks set to add yet more to his collection this season.
The 23-year-old Hamburg-born Ghanaian joined Bayern in summer 2017 following spells at a number of clubs around northern Germany. This season he has netted 13 goals in 19 games for the FCB reserves in the Regionalliga Bayern and was rewarded with a place in the first-team squad from Matchdays 8 to 16. His only league appearance for the senior team came in the 2-1 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
29. Kingsley Coman over Marcel Schmelzer
Injuries have hampered Borussia captain Schmelzer this season but he is still 10th in the club’s all-time appearance standings.
However, the full-back is up against one of football’s most dangerous 21-year-olds. In five years as a professional, Coman has won five league titles and prior to his ankle injury had made the left wing position his own at Bayern, even ahead of Ribery. A combined three goals and three assists this Bundesliga campaign is already twice as many as he managed last year.
30. Niklas Dorsch
A Bayern youth product, 20-year-old Dorsch has come through the ranks at the club and has been with the first team since 2016. The defensive midfielder is yet to make an appearance for the senior side, though.
Not a common squad number, but one of legendary status at Bayern. For well over a decade it was occupied by Bastian Schweinsteiger, while Mario Götze wore the shirt for one season at BVB back in 2009/10.
32. Joshua Kimmich
Kimmich started as somewhat of an all-rounder at Bayern under Guardiola and Ancelotti, but since the retirement of Lahm has made the right-back position his own for club and country. With nine assists this season, Kimmich is second only to Max in the Bundesliga.
Described by Germany coach Joachim Löw as “one of the greatest talents I have seen in the past decade”, the 23-year-old has a massive career ahead of him.
33. Julian Weigl over Timothy Tillman
Weigl may only have the one goal in his 80 Bundesliga appearances to date, but the 22-year-old midfielder is still a work in progress at Borussia and already a trusted man in the heart of the Dortmund midfield. The pivot in the team, his passing accuracy of 90 per cent is one of the best in these two squads as well as the Bundesliga as a whole.
Yet to make a first-team appearance for Bayern, Tillman still has a Supercup medal to his name following this season’s curtain-raiser where he was an unused substitute as the Bundesliga champions triumphed on penalties in Dortmund. The teenage midfielder is eligible to represent the USA thanks to his American father.
34. Sergio Gomez
A winter arrival from Barcelona, the left winger is yet to make an appearance for the senior Dortmund team. The Spaniard became known for his key contributions in big games for the Barca youth teams while at their La Masia academy.
Marco Friedl was the holder of the No.34 shirt at Bayern until joining Bremen on an 18-month loan in January. The Austrian left-back has made just two first-team appearances for the Bavarians, making his senior debut at Anderlecht in the Champions League this season.
35. Dominik Reimann
Dortmund’s third-choice goalkeeper Reimann is a product of the club’s youth academy and was promoted to the first team in the summer. He is still yet to feature with the senior side, but was on the bench for the thrilling 4-4 draw with Schalke.
The 20-year-old is in by default because Bayern’s No.35 Renato Sanches is out on loan at Swansea City in the English Premier League for the 2017/18 season.
36. Ömer Toprak over Christian Früchtl
A summer arrival from Leverkusen, Toprak has been a regular under new boss Stöger. Not just solid at the back, the Turkey international is also one of Dortmund’s most reliable men on the ball with a club-high passing accuracy of 93.5 per cent.
Goalkeeper Früchtl is seen as one for the future. Still only 19, the Bayern youth product is thought of highly in Munich and seen as a possible replacement for Neuer one day.
37. Erik Durm
Dortmund’s forgotten man, Durm has missed well over half of all matches in the last four seasons due to various injuries. Capable of playing anywhere on the right or the left, he is a versatile member of the Borussia squad when fit.
Oh, and he is a World Cup winner from 2014.
38. Roman Bürki
Likely to provide back-up to Neuer in this combined squad, the Swiss goalkeeper has played all but 90 minutes of this season and is level with Ulreich and Fährmann for the most clean sheets this term (10).
Another rather obscure number yet another of legendary status in Munich. Worn for six years by Toni Kroos, it has since been passed between a number of youth products yet to make the grade at Bayern.
40. Fabian Benko
A Munich native who is eligible to represent Croatia at international level, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder is yet to play in the Bundesliga and has featured just once in any competitive fixture for Bayern as a substitute in the first round of last season’s DFB Cup at Carl Zeiss Jena.
42. None (in the Bundesliga)
A rather curious number because it is worn by Michy Batshuayi in European competition. That is because the Belgian’s No.44 shirt was previously occupied in Europe by academy player Till Schumacher. The 20-year-old has since been loaned out to Czech side Vysocina Jihlava, but clubs are not allowed to register a jersey number to more than one player in a season, hence Batshuayi’s No.42 in the Europa League.
44. Michy Batshuayi
Now to Batshuayi’s actual number, he claims the coveted No.44 shirt unopposed. Surprising as it may be, this number is not as rare as many would expect. Kevin Kampl and Ivan Perisic have both worn it for Dortmund, while Anatoliy Tymoshchuk sported it at Bayern.
Batshuayi himself has been a hit since joining BVB on loan from Chelsea in January. Six goals and one assist in seven Bundesliga games has seen Dortmund quickly forget about Batman Aubameyang and welcome their new hero Batsman to the Signal Iduna Park.
The Caped Crusader is in #Dortmund once again! 🦇 #BATSman @mbatshuayi @442oons ⠀@bvb09 .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ ⠀ #BVB #BorussiaDortmund #Dortmund #immerwiederbvb #bvbarmy #Bundesliga #Football #Soccer #fussball #futbol #goals #lovefootball #thebeautifulgame #instasport #team #soccerislife #footy #skills #matchday #player #match #footballgame #ball