FIFA 19 has been released, with Bayern Munich trio Robert Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer and Mats Hummels among those regarded as some of the best in the world in their roles by the game. But what about the coming generation?
Christian Früchtl(Bayern Munich)
bundesliga.com has donned its scouting cap and goggles to bring you a World XI of the future - those players aged 21 or younger who go on to become world-beaters in FIFA 19's career mode.
FIFA 19 potential: 65→86
Potentially better than: Alisson
A world-class 'keeper at Bayern not called Manuel Neuer? Admittedly, Sven Ulreich deputised with aplomb last season, but the Bundesliga champions have an ace up their sleeve for the distant day when Neuer does decide to hang up his gloves.
Germany U18 star Früchtl boasts an athletic 6'4" frame, ball-playing ability that belies his bulk, and kept six clean sheets to help the Bavarians' second string to a runners-up spot in the Regionalliga Bayern last term.
Nordi Mukiele(RB Leipzig)
FIFA 19 potential: 77→86
Potentially better than: Virgil van Dijk
A France U21 right-back, Mukiele is just as comfortable playing across the back four. Montpellier kept clean sheets in 13 of Mukiele's 33 Ligue 1 starts last season - only champions Paris Saint-Germain enjoyed more - and Leipzig were quick to make their move in the summer.
Dayot Upamecano(RB Leipzig)
FIFA 19 potential: 76→88
Potentially better than: Samuel Umtiti
On hearing that Upamecano had missed out on a France U21 call-up last year, Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick was none too pleased. "That means they have four better centre-backs. We’ve despatched our scouts to look at these better centre-backs immediately!” he said, tongue firmly in cheek.
One the Bundesliga's fastest players despite his hulking frame, Upamecano has already overtaken club captain Willi Orban as the first defender on Die Roten Bullen's team sheet.
Pablo Maffeo(VfB Stuttgart)
FIFA 19 potential: 78→86
Potentially better than: Cesar Azpilicueta
Maffeo swapped Manchester City for Stuttgart in the summer with Pep Guardiola recommending the Mercedes-Benz Arena as an ideal destination. The Spain U21 right-back has a turn of pace that would do the car manufacturer proud - 15-inch calves will account for that - and his ability to get to the ball first saw him commit fewer fouls than Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal and Barcelona's Jordi Alba when on loan at Girona last season.
Denis Zakaria(Borussia Mönchengladbach)
FIFA 19 potential: 77→86
Potentially better than: Arturo Vidal
Zakaria's Bundesliga career was four games old before he misplaced a pass, in Gladbach's 2-2 draw at Leipzig at the beginning of last season. Already a 13-time Switzerland international, Zakaria has variously been compared to Patrick Vieira and Paul Pogba. Three-hundred challenges won last season to complement his incredible distribution suggest another long-limbed midfield legend is in the making.
Kai Havertz(Bayer Leverkusen)
FIFA 19 potential: 79→88
Potentially better than: Ivan Rakitic
Havertz was given his full Germany debut in September, coming in Die Mannschaft's 2-1 win over Peru. A complete package of a midfielder, the nominally left-footed Havertz can assist with both feet - something he's done 13 times already in his short Bundesliga career to date. Standing at 6'2", the Leverkusen academy graduate is also an aerial threat, and already looks like he could dominate the sport for years to come.
Leon Bailey(Bayer Leverkusen)
FIFA 19 potential: 82→89
Potentially better than: Gareth Bale
Bailey exploded onto the scene with Leverkusen last season and had a direct hand in 15 goals from his wide midfield berth. He may not be quite as fast as compatriot Usain Bolt without the ball, but with it, Bailey is a whirlwind. Last capped for Jamaica at U23 level, his international future might be uncertain, but his potential in FIFA 19 leaves no room for question.
Watch: All of Bailey's Bundesliga goals and assists
Christian Pulisic(Borussia Dortmund)
FIFA 19 potential: 79→88
Potentially better than: Alexis Sanchez
Pulisic only turned 20 in September, but that hasn't stopped the American prodigy racing to more than 100 competitive games for Dortmund already. Regarded as the brightest prospect in the history of US soccer, and already the USMNT's best player, Pulisic could have his own page in the Guinness World Records book and doesn't look like he's going to let up any time soon.
Watch: Pulisic - Dortmund's wonderkid
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
FIFA 19 potential: 72→87
Potentially better than: Sadio Mane
Player of the Tournament at the 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship with five goals and five assists and winner of the FIFA U-17 World Cup the same year, Sancho is one of English football’s most promising talents and one of Dortmund’s most exciting players with his electrifying pace, dibbling skills and youthful exuberance. The youngest Englishman to score in the Bundesliga and to appear in the Champions League with a foreign club, the winger was recently compared to Brazil’s Neymar.
FIFA 19 potential: 76→86
Potentially better than: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
With 30 Switzerland caps to his name, it’s easy to forget Embolo is still only 21. He joined Schalke in 2016 with great expectations after scoring 10 goals in back-to-back title-winning seasons for Basel, but his debut Bundesliga was cut short after just seven games because of a broken ankle. Since then he has netted four goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances. There’s still a long way to go to reach Zlatan’s career total of 500 but keep him fit and his potential could exceed that of Sweden’s record goalscorer.
FIFA 19 potential: 69→88
Potentially better than: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The first player born in the 2000s to score in the Bundesliga, teenager Arp has already long been seen as the future of German football. The winner of the prestigious Fritz Walter gold medal for his age group – a prize given to German football’s brightest up-and-coming talents - in 2017, Arp netted two goals in his first three top-flight matches and 18 in 19 matches for Germany’s U17s while still at school. With that now over, he can unleash his full potential.