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

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…

North XI


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.

Pavlenka has kept seven clean sheets in the Bundesliga this season, despite facing more shots than any other 'keeper in 2017/18. © imago


Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund)

Age: 32
Bundesliga appearances: 265
Goals: 17
Assists: 41 

Lukasz Piszczek doesn't get anywhere near enough credit for our liking. He defends, gets forward and is unbeaten in his last 32 Bundesliga matches. It's almost like watching Philipp Lahm!

Naldo (Schalke)

Age: 35
Bundesliga appearances: 344
Goals: 44
Assists: 17

The granddaddy of the bunch, Naldo offers priceless experience, unwavering commitment, goals and a real zest for the beautiful game. He's got a great smile, too.

Watch: Naldo heading to the World Cup?

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

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.

Hector has been involved in four of Cologne's five Bundesliga victories this season. © imago


Naby Keita (RB Leipzig)

Age: 23
Bundesliga appearances: 52
Goals: 13
Assists: 12 

Leaning on the double pivot idea that underpinned Bayern Munich's 2013 treble win, Leipzig's Naby Keita is the box-to-box master with the feet and the finishing ability to make the South wince.

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

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


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


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.

One of the most consistent 'keepers in the division, Baumann was a key component of the Hoffenheim side that qualified for the UEFA Champions League play-offs in 2016/17. © gettyimages


Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Age: 27
Bundesliga appearances: 188
Goals: 7
Assists: 19

Picture the scene: Baumann collects a loose ball, bowls it out to Timmy Chandler, and the break is on! With the stamina of a world-beating heptathlete, the American full-back is a match for anyone.

Abdou Diallo (Mainz)

Age: 21
Bundesliga appearances: 23
Goals: 2
Assists: 1

Abdou Diallo's relatively new to the Bundesliga scene, but as the footballing mantra goes: if you're good enough, you're old enough. It helps that the 21-year-old loves to get his hands dirty.

Diallo (r.) celebrates scoring for Mainz against Leverkusen on Matchday 3. © gettyimages / Alexander Scheuber

Caglar Söyüncü (Freiburg)

Age: 21
Bundesliga appearances: 45
Goals: 1
Assists: 1

Partnering Big Abdou D at centre-half, the clean-tackling Caglar Söyüncu brings pace over short distances to the table, as well as ball-playing qualities that have drawn comparisons with Bayern’s Mats Hummels.

Philipp Max (Augsburg)

Age: 24
Bundesliga appearances: 80
Goals: 2
Assists: 16

Even if he couldn't defend, Augsburg left-back Philipp Max would still walk into the side on service alone. In case you missed it: he's the first Bundesliga defender to register 12 assists in a single campaign.


Serge Gnabry (Hoffenheim)

Age: 22
Bundesliga appearances: 44
Goals: 16

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.

Gnabry netted his fifth league goal of the season in Hoffenheim's recent 3-0 win over Wolfsburg. © imago / foto2press

Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart)

Age: 21
Bundesliga appearances: 24

Some like it hard, some like it rough: Santiago Ascacibar likes it both ways. In fact, the harder the better. Who better to shield the back four and anchor the midfield?

Kevin-Prince Boateng (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Age: 31
Bundesliga appearances: 124
Goals: 16
Assists: 18 

There's a touch of the bone-crunching about Kevin-Prince Boateng, but we see the Ghanaian operating in the attacking triad behind the lone striker. If Ascacibar riles you up, Frankfurt's regal talisman is the man to fire you up – and grab a few goals.

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


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.

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