Applying FPL analysis to the Index (Part 2): Bundesliga

 Applying FPL analysis to the Index (Part 2): Bundesliga

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to all of the comments on the first part of this performance buzz forward look series. If you haven’t seen part one, you can read it here.

This blog post will be looking at the Bundesliga to see, using proven fantasy football analysis, which players are likely to hit the ground running next season. As with part one, I am only considering players who are likely to start every game during the first six matches next season (with one exception). That’ll take us up to the start of October 2018.

Does the player have a favourable set of fixtures?

To answer this question, I have again (crudely) graded teams out of ten based on their odds to win the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich are the favourites to win and so have been given the highest rating (10). At the time of writing, my bookmaker of choice has Hannover, Dusseldorf and Nurnberg as the longest punts to win the league and so they are given the lowest possible rating in my fixture difficulty scale (1). I am excited to hear IndexGain is working on a fixture difficulty ticker. That will be a great resource.

Having crunched the numbers, the Bundesliga teams with the seemingly easier start are:

Team Fixtures Average FDR Adjusted FDR
Werder 1-4-1-2-2-4 2.33 0.78
Nurnberg 2-2-3-1-9-1 3.00 3.00
RB Leipzig 9-1-4-6-1-2 3.83 0.55
Dortmund 7-1-4-6-1-6 4.17 0.46
Bayern 6-4-6-8-2-2 4.67 0.47
Schalke 4-2-5-10-2-2 4.17 0.52

The Adjusted FDR column factors in the quality of both teams. For that reason, Nurnberg has a significantly higher rating, indicating more difficult fixtures as they are a weaker team. The middle two columns are solely based on the ease of the opposition.

Only PSG have an easier start than Werder Bremen in all of the PB leagues I’ve looked at so far. Serie A and La Liga will be looked at in the third and final part of this series.

Does the player have good underlying stats?

This bit is always the most fun. Looking at the underlying stats of the players in each team and deciding if they are a worthwhile investment. In my last post, I wanted to give a mix of high, medium and low-value options. I’ve tried to do the same here.

One thing I would like to add is that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were of particular interest. Both teams have two single match days in which their match is the only one currently scheduled. In both of those single match days, Bayern and Dortmund are the clear favourites. This is key. Bayern and Dortmund the best chance of dividends.

Once the La Liga and Serie A fixtures have been announced (and adjusted for TV schedules), I will publish a “dividend forward look” article, highlighting the teams with matches on days where they will have significantly less contest for performance buzz.

One final comment on the teams is that Nurnberg are recently promoted and a lot of their players have yet to IPO. I was unable to find any players currently on the Index who I felt confident enough to recommend. However, I have flagged two players who you should watch out for when they eventually do get announced for IPO.

All PB data in the following tables are from the excellent product by Noirx4. If you haven’t already, get in touch with about trial data. His email is:

Obvious picks

Max Kruse (Forward, £0.64)

Image result for max kruse

Team Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Werder 58 227 1.8 42.6
Kruse has the second highest base of all Werder players. He has the highest average in the team for key passes and shots. He has also won star player and forward dividends previously (albeit quite some time ago). Everything Werder Bremen do goes through Kruse. 


Hanno Behrens (Midfielder, IPO)

Image result for Hanno Behrens

Team Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Nurnberg N/A N/A 1.8 43
I think people should look out for Behrens’ IPO when it comes. Last season he scored 14 goals from midfield with 3 assists. It was his best season in terms of returns and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his Bundesliga II form in the top flight. His underlying stats for the last three seasons have been very close to those listed above which suggests that last year wasn’t just a purple patch. I’d expect a bit of a drop in stats due to much more difficult opposition. Behrens took, and scored, Nurnberg’s last competitive penalty.


Marcel Sabitzer (Midfielder, £1.04)

Image result for marcel sabitzer

Team Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Leipzig 8 131 2.8 37.1
The reason I have elected to tip Sabitzer is because I think he put up poor performance buzz scores last season despite stronger underlying numbers (2.8 shots per game is a fantastic rate for a midfielder, by way of comparison Depay and Mbappe are 2.9 shots per game). I don’t think his lack of returns can continue indefinitely and things will click for him. In January this year he was tipped for Man City. Sabitzer is entering the penultimate year of his contract so as the season progresses there will be transfer rumours for next summer otherwise Leipzig could be faced with the prospect of losing him for free in 2020.


Marco Reus (Forward, £2.32)

Image result for marco reus

Team Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Dortmund 66 210 2.8 31.6
As mentioned above, Dortmund is currently down to play in two matches where theirs is the only match (on 31 August v Hannover and on 14 September v Frankfurt). People may think it is too early to be targeting those matches, but coupled with Dortmund’s relatively kind start to the season, it’s worth considering. Dortmund is likely to sign or loan in another striker, but until they do the internal competition for Reus for dividends appears slim. Reus has a 2.3 shots in the box per game on average. Even when reinforcements come in, I like his chances. I’ve benchmarked Reus against Aubameyang who, since he moved, has inferior stats and yet is almost £2 more expensive. Aubameyang should be more expensive due to EPL media bias and injury risk, but that gap is too big if Reus can stay fit.


James Rodriguez (Midfielder, £4.66)

Image result for james rodriguez

Team Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Bayern 105 223 1.7 62.3
I don’t think you can go wrong in whichever Bayern starting player you choose to invest in. They are domestically dominant and will go to the latter stages of the Champions League. Rodriguez will be in most players portfolios already and with good reason. Only Alaba and Kimmich have a higher base score than him in the Bayern team.


Daniel Caligiuri (Midfield, £1.46)

Image result for daniel caligiuri

Team Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Schalke 81 235 1.1 38.5
Schalke will be competing in this season’s Champions League. Caligiuri was instrumental in getting them there. Last season he scored 6 times and had 10 assists. His form from March onwards was excellent. Hopefully he starts this season like he finished the last.

Cheeky picks


Player Base PB Max PB Shots  Passes 
Ludwig Augustinsson (Defender, £0.75) 50 172 0.8 37.2
Augustinsson has the highest PB per minute rate of all Werder players. He played for Sweden during the World Cup and performed extremely well, bagging a goal against Mexico. There have been rumours of a move to the Premier League this summer with Southampton and Fulham interested. If he stays, I think Augustinsson is good value. Particularly given the fact he takes nearly a shot a game and has one key pass per game. He offers good opportunity for returns.
Kevin Mohwald
(Midfielder, IPO)
N/A N/A 2.4 47.9
Mohwald is a bonus pick as I came across his impressive stats when researching Nurnberg players. He has recently transferred to Werder and is another player with good underlying stats that is yet to IPO. He was instrumental for Nurnberg in their promotion push last year, which is why he was snapped up by Werder this summer. He was Nurnberg’s joint highest shot taker and yet plays in midfield. Except the centre backs, Mohwald’s had highest passing average in that team.
Eduard Lowen (Defender, IPO) N/A N/A 1.2 40.5
Lowen is a 21 year old utility player. I’ve put him down as a defender but he could very well IPO as a midfielder. For either position, his stats are good and because he is young there is scope for price appreciation if he performs well in his first season in the Bundesliga. He plays for Germany u21 and last season scored 5 goals with 2 assists. Half of those returns were earned when he was playing as a central defender.
Marcel Halstenberg
(Defender, £0.65)
N/A N/A 1.7 39.4
Halstenberg is a very speculative selection if we are targeting the start of the season. I would advise traders that if buying now you will need to be very patient but I think he is an excellent investment in the long run once has eased back into the team. He hasn’t played for quite some time due to a cruciate injury. Reports are that he returned to training earlier this month. As a result of injury, his price has dropped to the same level as Jordan Ayew and other players with no hope of dividends! When he re-enters the fray, he should be a starter again. The Leipzig owners criticised the scouts for failing to replace Halstenberg in January, clearly they perceive his competition to be quite weak. Halstenberg has an incredible shooting rate for a defender, breaking that down further; he takes 0.9 shots per game from inside the opposition box. Alonso has the best defender shots per game rate, but is only 0.3 shots better off.
Abdou Diallo
(Defender, £1.00)
52 120 0.5 41.5
A new signing from Mainz for £25.2m. He has been given the number four jersey so should be a starting centre back. I strongly considered Manuel Akanji as my cheeky pick, however Diallo comes in 13% cheaper (at the time of writing) with almost identical underlying stats. I don’t think you could go wrong with either or both. Diallo is more experienced in the Bundesliga despite being a year younger. He has also demonstrated an eye for the goal with a goal every ten matches last season (3 in 30 appearances). Akanji is yet to score for Dortmund.
Thomas Muller
(Forward, £1.68)
54 215 1.5 32
I think Muller is massively under-priced when you look at his career stats. Last season was one of his worst seasons in the Bundesliga in terms of shots taken. He has a career average of 2.1 shots per game. His price has suffered due to Germany’s early World Cup exit. Last season Muller bagged 6p per future in performance dividends in a poor year. If able to emulate that, then you are looking at a 3.6% ROI on dividends.
(Defender, £0.78)
57 238 1.4 49.9
Naldo is 35 years old and so many will avoid him as they will see him as a risk. A retirement risk or just a chance that his match time will be managed. That is the reason he is a cheeky pick. At the time of writing this post, Naldo is cheaper than Iniesta. That means is cheaper than a player who has next to no hope of getting any dividends next season. By way of further comparison, Naldo takes almost double the amount of shots that Otamendi does and is almost equal to Alonso’s shooting rate. Naldo takes 0.9 shots a match inside the opposition penalty area.

 If Naldo is too old for you, perhaps you might want to consider Thilo Kehrer. He is a 21 year old centre back who’s contract is up in 2019.

I hope you have enjoyed this forward look to the start of the Bundesliga season. Please stay tuned for the final of this series: La Liga and Serie A. May your portfolios be green!

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Brave Heart
Written by Brave Heart
Started on the Index Jan 2017 (seriously since April 2018). I'm an FPL obsessive who is looking to try and use proven fantasy football strategies to profit on the Index. A long suffering Liverpool and Scotland fan.
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