With one week to go until the Bundesliga season gets underway, I asked myself who would make my Official Fantasy Bundesliga team if today was the opening Matchday of the 2016/17 campaign? With a budget of 150 million, 15 squad spots and never-ending possibilities, I thought I'd let you in on what I'm thinking.
About Flo: From shoe sizes to the number of goals scored in training, Official Fantasy Bundesliga Scout Florian knows everything there is to know about every single member of the Bundesliga's all-star cast. He claims to have discovered Fritz Walter and Franz Beckenbauer, and now he wants to share his talent-spotting prowess with you.
However, unlike my colleague Matt 'The Expert' I didn't mutiply my players' kit numbers by Pi before dividing that number by the Official Fantasy Bundesliga market value to pick my players. I also didn't call my squad members for a tactics quiz about Gegenpressing, parking the bus or false nines the way James 'The Coach' is planning to do. I prefer to rely on my instincts as 'The Scout'. It worked for Franz Beckenbauer and I'm hoping it will work for me with this team:
I watch football because I want to see goals. Therefore I have built my squad around the same premise. Tactically disciplined 0-0 draws, unlike my partners in crime, don't thrill me. My trio of forwards have been brought in to break opposition nets.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (15M, Borussia Dortmund) will definitely score more than 20 goals again this season. Thomas Müller (15M, FC Bayern München) only just snuck into my team ahead of Robert Lewandowski (15M) because he strikes me as being more in-form than the prolific Pole right now. Müller will also wear my captain's armband on Matchday 1. My front three is then completed by Kevin Volland (14M), who following his move to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, could hit new heights this season.
Mark Uth (9M) and Branimir Hrgota (6M) were two players I recommended in my last two articles (here and here) and are still on my shortlist should I want to mix up my team and invest more heavily in other areas of my squad.
Just like he does for Bayern, Arturo Vidal (14M) will be charged with marshaling my fantasy midfield. The Chilean international is a nailed on choice for me, as is Gonzalo Castro (11M), who I'm expecting to make a real impact in his second season with Dortmund. In Christoph Kramer (13M), following his return to Borussia Mönchengladbach, I'm hoping to have a midfielder that is strong in the challenge and able to chip in with one or two goals.
Leonardo Bittencourt has been drafted in following a quick look at the Matchday 1 fixtures. Considering his recent form I'm backing the 1. FC Köln winger to score at least once in their game against SV Darmstadt 98, especially when you consider that the Billy Goats beat the Lilies 4-1 on home soil last season. Elsewhere, BVB youngster Felix Passlack was the first player in my squad on account of his performance in the Supercup and his 5M price tag.
No-nonsense at the back, and dangerous at the other end of the pitch: those are the attributes I want in my Official Fantasy Bundesliga defenders. FC Schalke 04's Naldo (14m) and Bayern's Mats Hummels (15m) have both shown that they fit the bill over the past few seasons.
Both are therefore the cornerstones of my rearguard. Gladbach's Nico Elvedi (7m) might not have scored yet in the Bundesliga, but he has enormous potential and his first goal is surely only a matter of time.
My defence is rounded off by FC Augsburg's Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (7m) and SC Freiburg's Pascal Stenzel (2m). The former is sure to improve on his first few months in the Bundesliga, while Stenzel is cheap and should rack up points as a regular starter, making them perfect additions to my squad.
Peter Gulacsi is one of the reasons I'm able to afford such a glittering attack. The RB Leipzig custodian is a steal at just 5m and should bring in a steady flow of points. With the promoted outfit aiming to establish themselves among the league's best sides he shouldn't concede too many goals, but should still have enough to do to merit his place in my side.
If that plan doesn't work out, I can still react by selling one of my expensive strikers and putting someone like Manuel Neuer in goal. My budget is all used up at present. A back-up keeper costing 2m is perfect because they won't be in the starting XI on Matchday 1 anyway.
However, as a manager my door is always open so my starting XI is not yet set in stone. If anyone else impresses me between now and the start of the Bundesliga season, I'll be sure to let you know – Scout's honour!
Watch: Get the lowdown on how to play Official Fantasy Bundesliga: