To prevent it to be assumed, I’m not asking for predictions for those. I spent many hours making my own predictions. I just thought that might be an interesting topic to discuss and you do those things here too I noticed.
The German football magazine Kicker chose it’s top Eleven for the just finished season, maybe some here are interested in that:
Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg) – Jerome Boateng (Bayern), Naldo (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Bayern) – Charles Aranguiz (Leverkusen) - Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim), James Rodriguez (Bayern), Lars Bender (Leverkusen) – Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Serge Gnabry (Hoffenheim) – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern)
That of course doesn’t mean those were automatically good buys. For example I had Casteels during the winter Rating Changes since he finally showed improvements in his play, but Soccermanager didn’t honor his improvements despite he is among the weakest rated goalkeepers in Germany, they let him stay. I personally think naming him the best keeper of the season is too much. His advantage was, that many players in the field in Wolfsburg played really disappointingly and so he tended to be the best player from Wolfsburg in matches. Goalkeepers often look better, the worse their colleagues play as they are often ineffected by bad team shapes. But I still think he should be rated way above the 86 he currently has. It seemed he finally had his breakthrough season. But I kind of doubt given no rating change in winter, that he will be a buy worth recommending. Since they didn’t improve his rating back then I would assume them to be sceptical enough on this player to only give him 87. It’s very interesting how different opinions on certain players can be.
I also certainly wouldn’t name Nico Schulz as part of the Eleven of the season. He showed some nice improvements in the second part of the season in particular. But he also got some sunshine from how Hoffenheim played as a team. Yes he improved, but improving players tend to be hyped. I think there is other players on this position who have played better and/ore riper. For example no mather if David Alaba or Juan Bernat are playing for Bayern, you can clearly see they have a superior skill set although they weren’t lucky enough too be as much involved in goal scoring or assisting as Schulz or Max. So I think for this position they’ve rather been going with a hype here.
Lars Bender is a player I would like to specifically address as well. Not because I disagree with Kickers choice, but because I disagree with Löw not taking him to Russia. From how he played this season Bender would have deserved it. But of course that’s not the way how it works. You don’t pick the best individual players, you gotta pick a team you think will be successful together, successful with the tactics you want to play. So I’m not gonna blame Löw for not taking him. Some strong players just have to stay at home, it’s always that way and I find it funny when coaches or fans get actually even furious about such squad decisions. If trainers would pick to either satisfy or spite public opinion, that’s what I think would actually be problematic. The important thing is a coach has a good plan, that he takes necessary steps to follow it through. But back to Lars Bender. I was surprised that apparently some people are fearing him to drop. He usually played really good when availabe for selection. He is a really reliable player who is in my opinion very important to the team. I would even call him the most important player in this years Leverkusen squad. The same as his brother Sven he has some tendencies to be injured and then miss some matches due to that. As long as the soccer manager admins do their job and note that his amount playing time was due to injuries, he shouldn’t be degraded. I personally even voted for a rise, since I think he is better than 90. His brother Sven Bender on the other hand I find worse than his current 90. He excelled at being a workhorse as a defensive midfielder. But those times are past. He nowadays usually plays a defender (maybe due to wearing off) and I don’t think he is as good at that job. Maybe there is the risk they might mix up those twins.