Following almost a three-month hiatus which felt like an eternity, the Bundesliga finally returned to our screens at the weekend for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
Treble winners Bayern Munich resumed from where they left off with a ruthless 8-0 triumph over a sorry Schalke side on opening night, before likely title-contenders Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig started their respective campaigns with impressive victories.
It’s poised to be another year of suicidal high lines and spellbinding transitional play in Germany – see Dortmund’s second goal against Gladbach – but today we’re merely focussing on virtual reality.
FIFA 21 is set to drop in the first week of October with player ratings for its most popular game mode, Ultimate Team, released over the past week.
Thus, here’s who EA have determined as the 20 finest stars in the German top-flight, the names you’ll be aspiring to acquire should you opt to build a Bundesliga squad.
We start with one of the finest two-way midfielders Europe has to offer in Axel Witsel, which is depicted in the Belgian’s extremely well-rounded Ultimate Team card.
Witsel will be crucial if Dortmund are to end Bayern’s monopoly over the Bundesliga this season.
A model of inconsistency, Roman Burki is entering a career-defining year at Signal Iduna Park.
Capable of stout goalkeeping displays, moments of sheer brilliance between the sticks but also of committing the most head-scratching of errors, Burki’s in dire need of discovering the term ‘consistency’ in his vocabulary if he’s ever going to establish himself as one of the continent’s finest shot-stoppers.
The first of a bunch of Bayern stars who make this list.
The Germany international missed much of last season through a long-term knee issue which means his rating remains at 84.
There’s no doubting Kingsley Coman’s winner in the Champions League final somewhat painted over a disappointing, injury-hit campaign in Bavaria.
Although he made a fairly respectable 15 goal contributions in 38 total appearances, the Frenchman’s minutes are only set to dwindle in 2020/21 following Leroy Sane’s arrival.
An on-song Julian Brandt is nothing short of an absolute joy to watch.
The 24-year-old’s capacity to combine with teammates off one delicate touch is dreamy, while his intelligent space interpretation and irresistible technique make him one of Germany’s most exciting and aesthetically pleasing talents.
All that ‘work in the gym’ for a mere 82 physical rating in FIFA 21. Was it even worth it, Leon?
Nevertheless, Goretzka’s evolution as part of Hansi Flick’s double pivot was staggering; from a skinny outcast to second ball machine, transitional powerhouse and Die Roten’s engine room.
The tactically savvy midfielder’s importance to Flick has only increased following the departure of Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool.
The Portugal international was one of two Apollo 11s rocketing down the Signal Iduna Park flanks last term, with his stellar 11-goal contribution Bundesliga campaign worthy of a +3 upgrade for FIFA 21.
Guerreiro and Alphonso Davies (81-rated) will certainly be the two go-to options at left-back for Bundesliga boffs.
David Alaba’s officially a centre back in FIFA 21!
After establishing himself as one of Europe’s premier left backs, the Austrian’s switch to central defence following Hansi Flick’s arrival last November proved key in Bayern’s eventual 2019/20 supremacy – facilitating Alphonso Davies’ rise to superstardom.
Alaba’s combination of 77 pace and 81 passing will undoubtedly make him a highly sought-after option.
The Norwegian freak continued to prove he’s inhuman with a brace in Dortmund’s 3-0 victory over Gladbach on matchday one.
Following a campaign in which Haaland netted just the 44 times in a mere 40 appearances across five competitions for two clubs, it’s fair to say his monstrous upgrade of 11 ratings is more than justified.
Expect a similar rating surge for FIFA 22 should the 20-year-old continue at his current outlandish trajectory.
Forget his minor error in the Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain, Peter Gulacsi is the best goalkeeper you’ve never even heard of.
RB Leipzig’s shot-stopper has been sublime since his move from Salzburg in 2015, seemingly only getting better with age.
EA fairly rank the Hungarian as the Bundesliga’s third-best goalkeeper.
Injury once again cut short what was once again a fine campaign for Marco Reus in 2019/20.
His downgrade from an 88 in FIFA 20 seems mightily unjustified and should he stay fit – a big ask – in 2020/21, the Dortmund skipper could spearhead their title-challenge despite the rise of Giovanni Reyna – who plays a similar role in Favre’s 3-4-2-1.
After missing the vast majority of the 2019/20 campaign through a torn ACL, it’s no surprise that Leroy Sane takes a minor downgrade for FIFA 21 and his debut season at Bayern.
However, the early signs suggest the German’s destined to make up for lost time in Munich this season with a goal and two assists on his debut against former club Schalke.
Sane’s 93 pace makes him an enticing and destructive option for Ultimate Team players.
37 goal contributions in 46 games for a treble-winning side. +1 upgrade. Nice work, EA.
Serge Gnabry was simply irresistible last term as his healthy combination of efficiency, ruthlessness and blistering speed (although EA believe Kai Havertz is faster than the Bayern star) saw him emerge as a devastating force in Hansi Flick’s imperious Bavarian machine.
The German’s remarkable ambipedal nature hasn’t been rewarded with a five-star weak foot rating either. The disrespect…
Marco Rose’s coaching this, a plethora of superb young talents that. Gladbach’s return to the Champions League wouldn’t have been possible without the stellar form of the man between the sticks: Swiss international Yann Sommer.
Sommer’s certainly the Bundesliga’s finest shot-stopper not called Manuel Neuer and his FIFA rating is reflective of his impressive consistency over the past 12 months.
‘Radio Muller’ stays at 86 for FIFA 21 despite enjoying an incredible renaissance following Niko Kovac’s exit last November.
Cherished by successor Flick, Europe’s supreme raumdeuter returned to his majestic best amid Bayern’s own remarkable resurgence.
The 31-year-old ended last season with 40 goal contributions in 50 games.
Mats Hummels felt right at home as the central centre back of a back three in Lucien Favre’s 3-4-2-1 last term, with his steady performances enough for EA to see the German as the Bundesliga’s highest rated defender.
His 58 pace will surely put plenty off, however, despite his impressive 89 defending.
For now, Jadon Sancho remains a Borussia Dortmund player and the fourth highest-rated player in the division.
The Englishman’s breakthrough 2018/19 season saw him earn a healthy +6 upgrade and an 84-rated card on FIFA 20, with his continued excellence last term helping him to a 87-rated card this time around.
Sancho’s 91 dribbling is a stand-out attribute.
A tidy +2 upgrade for the Philipp Lahm regen.
Joshua Kimmich was simply outstanding amid Bayern’s second treble in seven years last season, excelling in two different positions.
EA have tagged him as the Bundesliga’s highest-rated defensive midfielder this time around after years of being the division’s leading right back.
It’s been a timely turnaround for Manuel Neuer.
The German’s returned to the sort of impenetrableness that helped him emerge as Europe’s finest shot-stopper and a goalkeeping revolutionary.
The 34-year-old remains the Bundesliga’s premier keeper, with his stout 2019/20 form landing him a neat upgrade in FIFA 21.
Of course he is.
Die Roten’s talisman scored 34 goals in 31 Bundesliga games last season, while also finishing top scorer in Bayern’s Champions League-winning campaign, netting an impressive 15 times.
The Pole’s 91 shooting reflects his demonic finishing ability.