The Bundesliga is home to some of the best football players on the planet, but how would they stack up as one star-studded unit against the likes of reigning FIFA World Cup champions Germany, five-time winners Brazil and Spain?

Fuelling the fantasy, presents its very own combined 2018 World Cup XI...


Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich & Germany)

Age: 32
Bundesliga appearances: 346
International caps: 76

It's hard to imagine any Best XI without Neuer between the posts. The Bayern No.1 is quite frankly the finest custodian ever to pull on the gloves, his sweeper-keeper heroics - most notably at the 2014 World Cup - redefining the very notion of football's last line of defence. After nine months out injured, the fact he's even going to Russia - let alone as Germany's No.1 and captain - says it all.


Joshua Kimmich (Bayern & Germany)

Age: 23
Bundesliga appearances: 79
International caps: 29 

If you're on the hunt for a hot candidate for Best Young Player of the World Cup, look no further than Kimmich. The Bayern and Germany right-back is probably the best in the land in his position, and is fast building a legacy to rival that of predecessor Philipp Lahm. The similarities are plain to see - the positional awareness, undying commitment and penchant for an overlapping run - but Kimmich is treading his own path to the top. He'll get there, that's for sure.

Joshua Kimmich (l.) has more than filled the boots of Philipp Lahm (r.) for club and country. © gettyimages / ALex Grimm

Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart & France)

Age: 22
Bundesliga appearances: 34
International caps:

Now here's one you might not have heard a great deal about. Pavard couldn't get a look-in at Lille two years ago, but now he's a fully fledged France international. How'd that happen? Well… the Stuttgart rock was one of only four players not to miss a single minute of the action in the Bundesliga last season, and he did so winning 63 percent of his attempted challenges and with an 83 percent pass accuracy. He can also play across the back line and in midfield. Ooh la la!

A number of Europe's top clubs are keeping tabs on Benjamin Pavard (l.), according to reports. © imago

Mats Hummels (Bayern & Germany)

Age: 29
Bundesliga appearances: 279
International caps: 64 

That's Pavard the Powerful - what about Super Mats? The Bayern-reared stalwart is equally adept fending off opposition attacks as he is at starting them, and he's a pest from set pieces as France found out to their detriment four years ago. There have been many changes to that title-winning Germany team in the interim years, but Hummels remains as effective, integral and reliable as ever.

Bayern and Germany stalwart Mats Hummels has been likened to the legendary Franz Beckenbauer. © gettyimages / Alexander Hassenstein

Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen & Sweden)

Age: 24
Bundesliga appearances: 29
International caps: 14

From the quintessential modern centre-back to the model left-back, Augustinsson didn't just turn heads at Bremen in his debut Bundesliga campaign. The two-time Danish Superliga winner played his part in Sweden's headline-grabbing World Cup play-off win against Italy, and travels to the finals as his country's first-choice left-back. With pace in possession and a wand of a left foot, think of him as the Blaugult's answer to David Alaba.

Ludwig Augustinsson (r.) barely put a foot wrong in his debut season of Bundesliga football. © gettyimages


Corentin Tolisso (Bayern & France)

Age: 23
Bundesliga appearances: 26
International caps:

On the subject of debut season splashes, Tolisso could hardly have asked for more after joining Bayern from Lyon for a club record fee last summer. Without being a regular starter, the Frenchman came in fourth behind Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and James Rodriguez for combined goals and assists - a return too good to ignore for Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps. And you thought Paul Pogba was the only string-puller in the France midfield…

Watch: Corentin Tolisso's March Goal of the Month and Goal of the Season contender

Thiago (Bayern & Spain)

Age: 27
Bundesliga appearances: 96
International caps: 27

Banging his own drum as part of the Spain rhythm section, Thiago's no-look passes and silky footwork are worth the entrance fee alone. Like Tolisso, Bayern's midfield matador was in and out of the side in 2017/18, but a strong end to the Bundesliga campaign and a run of six straight games for La Roja should give emergency coach Fernando Hierro one less thing to think about following the unexpected dismissal of Julen Lopetegui just two days before the 2010 winners' Group B opener against Portugal. There's no player quite like him in the squad, after all.

Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro (r.) will have his work cut out against Thiago (l.) when Portugal tackle Spain. © imago

Thomas Müller (Bayern & Germany)

Age: 28
Bundesliga appearances: 286
International caps: 91

Moving onto conceivably the most unique talent football has ever produced, you wouldn't bet against Müller getting the six goals he needs to draw level with the World Cup's all-time leading marksman Miroslav Klose. The self-styled Raumdeuter comes alive on the global stage, scoring five on debut in 2010 and another five in Brazil four years ago. He's the best player in the world without the ball and, despite what his leggy gait might suggest, he's one of the best with it, too.

Thomas Müller chimed in with a league-high 14 Bundesliga assists in 2017/18. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

James Rodriguez (Bayern & Colombia)

Age: 26
Bundesliga appearances: 23
International caps: 63

From one Bayern standout to another, James pipped Müller to the the Golden Boot in Brazil, his six-goal procession - including THAT audacious chest and volley against Uruguay - earning the majestic playmaker a move to Real Madrid. His career stalled somewhat at the Bernabeu, but the 26-year-old has rediscovered his old strengths, and unearthed a few new ones, in the red of Bayern. Expect Colombia's Great White Hope to shine once again.

James celebrated a debut Bundesliga season to remember with his first league title in a Bayern shirt. © imago

Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund & Germany)

Age: 29
Bundesliga appearances: 233
International caps: 31 

Speaking of leading lights, there are few brighter than Reus. The Dortmund tyro has endured a tortuous route to Russia, one that started with a serious ankle injury on the eve of the 2014 World Cup. He missed the finals in Brazil, UEFA Euro 2016 and a sizable chunk of the 2017/18 season, but hit the ground running upon his return to first-team action in February and has been doing what he does best - terrorising opposition defences - ever since. Believe us when we say they don't come much better than a fit and firing Reus…

Marco Reus scored seven goals in 11 Bundesliga appearances during the second half of the campaign. © gettyimages / Maja Hitij


Robert Lewandowski (Bayern & Poland)

Age: 29
Bundesliga appearances: 257
International caps: 95

Or do they? When Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player to have scored more goals for club and country over the course of the last season, you know you must be doing something right. Lewandowski rattled off 49 strikes in 2017/18, finishing top scorer in the UEFA section of World Cup qualifying and in the Bundesliga along the way. At 29, his first World Cup finals could well be his last, but you can guarantee he'll more than make his mark on the competition. It's what he does.

Watch: All 29 of Lewandowski's Bundesliga goals in 2017/18

Data correct as of 14 June

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