With all-star teams like these two, there's no such thing as a North-South divide in the Bundesliga. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
With all-star teams like these two, there's no such thing as a North-South divide in the Bundesliga. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Bundesliga

The best of the Bundesliga's North vs. the best of the South

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku recently floated the idea of North playing South in the English Premier League, which got bundesliga.com thinking…

North XI

With a limit of two players per Bundesliga team, we pit 11 names that ply their trade in Germany's North against 11 lighting up the great South. Brace yourselves…

- © imago

Goalkeeper

Jiri Pavlenka (Werder Bremen)

Age: 25
Bundesliga appearances: 27
Clean sheets: 7

Jiri Pavlenka is no stranger to being kept on his toes. The Czech international has faced more shots in his debut Bundesliga season that any other stopper in the German top-flight in 2017/18, repelling over 60 per cent of them.

Matthias Ginter (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Age: 24
Bundesliga appearances: 164
Goals: 10
Assists: 10 

If Naldo's the master, Matthias Ginter is the apprentice. The 24-year- has rediscovered his best form for Gladbach this term, and has developed the uncanny knack of popping up from set-pieces with goals.

Jonas Hector (Cologne)

Age: 27
Bundesliga appearances: 111
Goals: 3
Assists:

Cologne's Jonas Hector brings that added bit of star quality to the North's no-airs-and-graces back line. The Germany international is essentially a left-footed version of Piszczek, but with the bonus of being able to operate in central midfield and on the left wing.

- © imago

Leon Goretzka (Schalke)

Age: 23
Bundesliga appearances: 109
Goals: 14
Assists: 13

Schalke's Leon Goretzka is another gazelle-like No.8. If he and Naby can figure out who sits back and who bursts forward, they'll be unplayable.

Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen)

Age: 20
Bundesliga appearances: 31
Goals: 9
Assists:

If Carlsberg did football academies, they'd probably churn out one Leon Bailey clone after the other. The Leverkusen flier has the pace and trickery of Arjen Robben – except he's nearly 15 years younger!

Watch: Leon Bailey - a defender's worst nightmare

Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen)

Age: 21
Bundesliga appearances: 125
Goals: 24
Assists: 25

Bailey's telepathic understanding with Bayer team-mate Julian Brandt – the fleet-footed Confederations Cup winner who made his Bundesliga debut at 17 - could spell curtains for the boys from the South. To paraphrase Indy rockers the Kings of Leon, "this kid is on fire!"

Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)

Age: 28
Bundesliga appearances: 227
Goals: 95
Assists: 63

Bailey and Co. are class – world-class in fact – but is there a better attacking midfielder in world football today than a fully fit Marco Reus? Few players ghost past opposition defenders with such panache; even less combine effortless runs with end product.

Watch: Marco Reus chats exclusively to bundesliga.com

Striker

Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)

Age: 22
Bundesliga appearances: 151
Goals: 45
Assists: 21

From Rolls Reus to Turbo Timo. Werner's pace and directness in the final third are a match made in heaven for the North's eye-popping midfield quintet. They might have to play rock, paper, scissors to decide who takes penalties, though….

South XI

Goalkeeper

Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim)

Age: 27
Bundesliga appearances: 259
Clean sheets: 69 

Ok, he's not Manuel Neuer, but hear us out. Oliver Baumann has the experience of fighting relegation and playing in Europe; he's also a fine shot-stopper with top-notch distribution.

Midfielders

Serge Gnabry (Hoffenheim)

Age: 22
Bundesliga appearances: 44
Goals: 16
Assists:

Technically a Bayern player, but currently on loan at Hoffenheim, Serge Gnabry offers that injection of pace to the southern ensemble. He could even fill in at full-back or in attack, should the need arise.

- © gettyimages

James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich)

Age: 26
Bundesliga appearances: 17
Goals: 4
Assists: 7

You've seen the brawn, now onto the beauty. James Rodriguez can unpick the stingiest opposition defences with that cultured left foot of his, at times producing goals out of nothing. We think he practises sorcery…

Watch: How James Rodriguez runs the Bayern show

- © gettyimages / Alexander Scheuber

Strikers

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Age: 29
Bundesliga appearances: 252
Goals: 174
Assists: 50 

Completing the South's old-school front two combo, please be upstanding for Robert Lewandowski. Bayern's No.9 guarantees you at least 30 goals a season, and scarcely misses a game.

Watch: All Lewandowski's goals for Bayern

Mario Gomez (Stuttgart)

Age: 32
Bundesliga appearances: 291
Goals: 161
Assists: 42

At 32, Mario Gomez is still banging in the goals. The Stuttgart forward's not the nimblest or quickest out of the traps, but boy does he know how to finish.

- © imago / foto2press

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