For the next installment in our series of looking for bargain basement players from the first few weeks of the domestic football season, we will turn our attention to the Bundesliga. The German top-flight is shaping up with a similar (and somewhat familiar) early-season look to the fantasy points scorers, with a goalkeeper at the top of the pile and his defenders unsurprisingly occupying the spots just below him. That custodian in this case is Timo Horn, who distinguishes himself as the biggest points scorer in the Bundesliga, with his club 1. FC Köln having kept three clean sheets from each of their first three games.
Horn has earned himself 120 points from those three clean sheets, and would cost €5.00m to get him in your penalty area. He has done a really good job so far, and this has been emphasized by reports that he is set to be offered a new deal to stay at the club beyond his current deal, which expires in 2016. Second on the list, however, qualifies for the title of a bargain in the Euro Fantasy League game, with Ron-Robert Zieler of Hannover 96 costing just €2.00m, though he is a fair few points behind – his tally is two-thirds that of Horn’s, at 80. He has maintained two clean sheets from three games, and only conceded a single goal in the other. Keeping the ratios nicely, Yann Sommer of Borussia Mön’Gladbach is on half of Zieler’s points with 40, and he would only cost you €3.00m. Early signs indicate that Zieler would be the bargain basement replacement keeper to consider, though of course things can change over the course of the season – and extended run at or near the top of the league is what fantasy managers really want in a stopper, and Manuel Neuer of champions Bayern Munich matches Sommer’s 40 point tally, but he would set you back a fair whack more – a cool €13.50m in fact.
Moving up the pitch a bit towards the defensive line, 1. FC Köln defender Jonas Hector is tied with team-mates Kevin Wimmer and Dominic Maroh on 90 points each, while their fourth defender Miso Brecko is on 85 owing to a booking. The great things is that managers can pretty much take their pick from any of these four as they certainly haven’t fallen far away from bargain territory so far, with prices ranging from €4.00 (Hector) to €5.50m (Brecko), and these four names represent the top four defenders in the league so far. Tin Jedvaj has contributed well to Bayer Leverkusen’s fine start with 60 points, and he would only cost €3.50m, and there appears to be a real bargain in the making in the form of Baba Rahman of FC Augsburg 1907. He has 35 points but would only cost €1.50m, and possesses the best points-to-value ratio in the league for defenders, and third best taking all positions into account.
FSV Mainz 05 midfielder Shinji Okazaki leads the way for midfielders with 70 points from three games, contributing three goals to his side’s cause. He would cost €8.00m – not bad for a guy at the top of the points charts for his position, but second placed Karim Bellarabi of Bayer 04 Leverkusen is only marginally behind on 60 and would require an investment of €3.00m. In the same vein as Rahman in defence, there is a real gem to be found by signing André Hahn of Borussia Mön’Gladbach. 45 points from an initial value of €1.50m will always prove tempting, especially considering the likelihood that many managers will have a much more expensive midfielder in their side who is yet to kick it up a gear and produce some results – we are playing a season-long game here, granted, but the 1% of managers who stuck Hahn in their side will now surely be reaping dividends both in his own position and potentially elsewhere on the field given the budget saving.
Up front, new Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, signed from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, is the most owned forward in the Bundesliga with around 12% of managers having him in their side, but he sits sixth in the overall table thus far of strikers in the league. He would also cost a sweet €12.50m. He hasn’t done too bad so far in his new surroundings, but there are, naturally, five players sitting above him in the chart – though third and fourth placed strikers Ivica Olić (VfL Wolfsburg) and Elias Kachunga (SC Paderborn 07) are tied with him on 40 points, and would cost €8.00m and €5.00m respectively. A couple of other usual suspects are present as well, with €9.50m-rated forward Adrián Ramos (Borussia Dortmund) and Franco Di Santo (SV Werder Bremen, €6.50m) in third and second. The top points scorer up front so far though is none other than Julian Schieber, the Hertha Berlin striker who has scored three goals from his first three games this season, with a tally of 60 points. The best bit is he would set you back only €2.50m – making Schieber, arguably, the ultimate bargain player at this stage, almost certainly from the Bundesliga. Only 1% get the benefits of his goalscoring exploits at the moment, but if he is able to continue that impressive run of form and maintain his rich goal scoring vein then more managers will surely be in for him over the course of the next few months.
Next up in our series, we take a look at the Spanish La Liga, and with some of the world’s best players – and teams – present there will surely be some big names mentioned there, and perhaps one or two surprises in the way of potential alternatives. Until then, keep playing, keep tinkering and keep on top.