James Rodriguez or Marco Reus? Only one can claim the No.11 jersey in this combined Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund squad. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
James Rodriguez or Marco Reus? Only one can claim the No.11 jersey in this combined Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund squad. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Bundesliga

James Rodriguez or Marco Reus? A combined Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund squad based on shirt numbers

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 NeueroverRoman 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 WagneroverDan-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.

3. None

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.

Hummels has become one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in the world at Bayern after joining from Dortmund. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Sebastian Widmann

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.

6.Thiago

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.

The experienced guile of Ribery (c.) keeps the raw talent of Sancho out of this combined team. - © imago / Huebner

7.Franck RiberyoverJadon 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.

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

8.Javi MartinezoverNuri 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.

10.Arjen RobbenoverMario 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.

- © imago / Jan Huebner

12. None

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 GuerreirooverRafinha

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.

- © imago / Kirchner-Media

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.

- © imago / MIS

19.Sebastian RudyoverMahmoud 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.

- © gettyimages

22.Christian PulisicoverTom 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

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

23.Arturo VidaloverShinji 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.

26.Lukasz PiszczekoverSven 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.

- © imago / Horstmüller

27.David AlabaoverGonzalo 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.

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

31. None

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.

33.Julian WeigloverTimothy 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.

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.

- © imago / Sven Simon

36. Ömer Toprak overChristian 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.

- © gettyimages / Simon Hofmann

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).

39. None

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.

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.

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

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.

- © gettyimages / Alex Grimm/Bongarts

Click here for more Klassiker content!

- © gettyimages / Adam Pretty/Bongarts
- © imago / Action Pictures
- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Schulze
- © imago / Kosecki