• Three goals and four assists for Ribery against Freiburg.
  • Reus with excellent record against Bremen.
  • Malli, Brandt and Wagner also highly recommended.

I hope you're all as excited as I am about the second half of the 2016/17 season - and the return of the Official Fantasy Bundesliga!

Click here to get your Fantasy XI in shape for the second half of the Bundesliga season!

With unlimited transfers up until 20 January, I'm struggling to decide which players to bring in before Friday's Rückrunde opener between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern München. However, given their recent performances against their respective Matchday 17 opponents, the following quintet are under serious consideration...

Franck Ribery (12.1M, vs. SC Freiburg)

Ribery's Bayern travel to the Schwarzwald-Stadion in the Matchday 17 opener. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

He was arguably Bayern's best player in the Telekom Cup, and Ribery will be relishing the prospect of taking on Freiburg at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. The Frenchman, who signed a one-year contract extension in November, is unbeaten in his last seven games against the Black Forest club, scoring three goals and setting up a further four. Even if he has to settle for a place among the substitutes on Friday, I would still back Ribery to make his mark off the bench.

Yunus Malli (15M, vs. Hamburger SV)

Malli is one of four new faces at VfL Wolfsburg this month after joining the club on a four-and-a-half-year deal from 1. FSV Mainz 05. The attacking midfielder is highly likely to make his full debut for the Wolves against Hamburger SV - historically one of Malli's favourite opponents. With two goals and five assists in seven appearances against the Red Shorts, the Turkey international will fancy his chances of starting off his Volkswagen Arena career with a bang.

Marco Reus (14.25M, vs. SV Werder Bremen)

Marco Reus has a phenomenal record against Borussia Dortmund's Matchday 17 opponents - SV Werder Bremen. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

This is not the first time I've considered bringing Reus into my team. The Germany international has an impressive goals record against most clubs, but he has particularly enjoyed playing against Werder in recent seasons. The 27-year-old has scored eight goals and set up a further seven in just 12 appearances against the northern giants. Having recently returned to training following injury, Reus is expected to start Saturday's clash at the Weser Stadium.

Julian Brandt (14.75M, vs. Hertha Berlin)

Leverkusen prodigy Brandt was in red-hot form towards the end of the Hinrunde. The 20-year-old has scored twice and set up a further five in his last seven league outings, but how has he fared in recent games against Hertha Berlin - Leverkusen's opponents on Matchday 17? Hertha fans, you'd better look away now: Brandt has netted in each of his last three appearances against the Old Lady, who aren't as strong on the road as they are at the Olympiastadion...

Sandro Wagner (14.7M, vs. FC Augsburg)

Sandro Wagner scored in both games against Augsburg last season. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's top scorer with nine league goals, Wagner has never been on the losing side against Augsburg (one win, four draws). Moreover, the former SV Darmstadt 98 frontman scored in both meetings with Die Fuggerstädter last season. Even if he doesn't find the target on Matchday 17, Wagner's ball-winning abilities (only two players have picked up more points than the 29-year-old in that department) make him a useful asset for any Fantasy side (including my own!).

Watch: After a near-month-long hiatus, the Bundesliga campaigns resumes on Friday!