Football Manager 2018: Borussia Dortmund Guide, Player Ratings & Tactics

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Borussia Dortmund were the last side to topple Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title. Under Jurgen Klopp, BVB won the league two seasons running between 2011 and 2012. The following year, Dortmund got to the Champions League final, but they have slowly fallen since then. A German Cup success last season could have paved the way for further success, but struggles in the current campaign means its back to the drawing board.

A new manager has been brought in, but can you take the reins on Football Manager 2018, rejuvenate the squad and take Die Schwarzgelben back to the top of German football?


Borussia Dortmund General Manager Hans-Joachim Watzke will welcome you to the club and present you with the club’s philosophies. These are open for discussion, but the default is to play attacking football and develop players using the club’s youth system.



In a period of transition, the Dortmund board have been lenient with the expectations for the season. You will need to qualify for the Champions Cup in the German First Division and reach the final of the German Cup. In the Champions Cup, you will need to reach the first knockout round, with the German Super Cup marked as not important.

If you target winning the German Cup, you will receive an extra £1 million, and aiming for the Champions Cup quarters will get you an extra £2 million for your transfer budget.



Transfer: £37 million

Wage: £2.1 million per week (Current spend: £2 million)


Borussia Dortmund always seem to use some version of a 4-3-3, and you should stick with this. We have gone for a 4-2-3-1 to be attacking, but still retain some balance. 

Roman Burki is in between the sticks, with Lukasz Piszczek, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Marc Bartra and Park Joo-ho making up the back four.


Gonzalo Castro and Mario Gotze are the midfield backbone, with former Manchester United man Shinji Kagawa in the number 10 role. Andriy Yarmolenko is out on the right and Andre Schurrle deputises for the injured Marco Reus on the left-hand side.

Star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will bring the goals up front. 

On the bench, you should for Roman Weidenfeller, Omer Toprak, Jeremy Toljan, Nuri Sahin, Maximilian Philipp, Christian Pulisic and Alexander Isak.

Key Players

The Dortmund squad may not be what it once was, but some of their stars from former glories remain.

Marco Reus – CA 4 star (170), PA 4 star (171)

Sadly, Borussia Dortmund will be without star man Marco Reus until February. The left winger will be out until about February with damaged cruciate ligaments, so when he returns be sure to manage his game load. The left winger also missed Germany’s World Cup win in 2014, so he will be determined to get fit and travel to Russia in 2018.

The 28-year-old’s 170 current ability score can still rise up a touch to 171, with his best attributes being 18 movement, 18 acceleration and 16 finishing.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – CA 4 star (168), PA 4 star (168)

In Reus’s absence, the burden of grabbing goals will fall heavily on striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese is at the top of his game, scoring 40 in 46 games last season and notching 20 in 22 so far in the current campaign. Whether he will get enough support from his teammates is the question.

The speedster has attributes of 20 pace, 20 acceleration and 18 movement to contribute to his maxed-out 168 current ability rating.


Mario Gotze – CA 4 star (157), PA star (165)

It’s been a tough road for Mario Gotze since bagging the World Cup winning goal in 2014. The central midfielder failed to tie down a place in the Bayern Munich side, subsequently moving back to Dortmund in 2016. Serious struggles with fitness last season questioned whether he would continue his professional career, but it looks as if the 25-year-old is ready to crack on with his career once more.

Gotze has a 157 CA rating, which can rise to a PA 165. His best skills are 18 decisions, 18 technique and 18 vision.


Young Talent

The likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Antonio Rudiger, Nuri Sahin and Christian Pulisic are all products of the BVB academy, and there is some top talent coming through the Dortmund books at the moment.

Alexander Isak – CA 2.5 star (124), PA star 4-5 star (150-180)

Given the lack of conventional strike options at Dortmund, we promoted the talented Alexander Isak to the first team squad on our save. Already a Swedish international, the 17-year-old Isak joined BVB in January 2017 after netting 13 goals for AIK in his homeland. The striker has been limited to just five appearances in Germany so far, but expect him to have a big impact in seasons ahead.

The youngster’s 124 CA rating consists of 16 jumping reach, 15 anticipation and 15 acceleration. With the capacity to hit a potential as high as 180, Isak is one of the hottest prospects on Football Manager 2018. 


Jadon Sancho – CA 2 star (115), PA 4-5 star (150-180)

Few had heard of Jadon Sancho before he made the move to Borussia Dortmund last summer, taking the number 7 shirt from Barcelona-bound Ousmane Dembele. Winger Sancho starred for England U17s, scoring 14 goals in 18 games, and was only permitted by Dortmund to play in the group stage of their World Cup win in 2017. With two games for BVB under his belt, be sure to watch Sancho’s developments over the next few years.

Sancho has a 155 CA rating, which can rise to a maximum potential of 180. His best attributes include 16 agility, 15 dribbling and 15 acceleration. 


Dan-Axel Zagadou – CA 2 star (120), PA 3.5-4.5 star (140-170)

Another man to have experienced first team life at BVB is centre back Dan-Axel Zagadou. The injury crisis this season has lead to plenty of game-time for France U19 captain Zagadou, making 14 appearances in tough campaign so far.

The 18-year-old Zagadou has a 120 CA rating consisting of 18 jumping reach, 15 strength and 15 pace. With a potential between 140 and 170, be sure to give him the minutes he needs to hit those heights.

Team Report

Strengths Weaknesses


Team Leaders - Nuri Sahin, Mario Gotze (vice-captain), Marco Reus


Highly influential - Lukasz Piszczek, Shinji Kagawa, Roman Weidenfeller, Marcel Schmelzer (c), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Neven Subotic, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Andre Schurrle

Dynamics is a big new feature in this year’s Football Manager, depicting the atmosphere inside the club’s dressing room. Be sure to identify which players hold the greatest influence in the squad, as saying the wrong thing to the wrong player can cause catastrophic effects to player morale and affect performances on the pitch.

Transfer Targets

In the current transfer climate, a transfer budget of less than £40 million will not get you very far, and that should allow you sign just once player. If you sell a couple of your fringe players, this should allow you bring in another. However, with five injuries in the squad already, you may not wish to sacrifice many more men. 

Goalkeeper – Fernando Muslera (CA 160, PA 160)

Some will remember Fernando Muslera from some top performances at the World Cups of 2010 and 2014 for Uruguay. The 31-year-old has impressed ever since moving to Galatasaray in 2011, recording close to 250 appearances for the club and winning three league titles. 

You are looking at a price of £21 million for the ‘keeper with wages of £72,000 a week. That price will get you his maxed-out 160 PA with stats of 18 reflexes, 16 agility and 16 positioning. 


Players to sell

Selling some players will free up cash and numbers in your squad, but with all those injuries you may want to hold off until January.

Sebastian Rode

With seven options in central midfield, you can certainly afford to let one of the go. With Sebastian Rode injured at the moment, it’s an easy to sell the former Bayern Munich man, and you should look to receive a fee of around £7 million for him, freeing up £51,000 a week in wages. 


Roman Weidenfeller

If you are to bring in a new goalkeeper, you must decide which Roman, Burki or Weidenfeller, will make way for the new signing. With Roman Weidenfeller in the last season of his contract, you should look to cash in as best you can for the veteran. The 36-year-old will only collect you £400,000 but more importantly, you will have £51,000 to play with in wages. 



With Borussia Dortmund not spending as freely as rivals Bayern Munich, they financial situation is looking pretty healthy. The overall balance is on the up, as is turnover. Expenditure may also be increasing, but you are only set for six months of loss in the next two seasons. Most importantly for you, your transfer budget is set for a big increase next season, with £100 million set to be at your disposal.

Back in the hunt


After winning their first eight matches this season and Bayern Munich struggling, it looked as if this was going to be the season for Borussia Dortmund. The wheels came off very rapidly and Bayern regrouped, leaving BVB to scratch their heads. First off, they need all those injured men back fit, as the current side available is not quite capable of a Bundesliga season.

Treat your first season as a trial run, and you should still have the quality to achieve all your objectives. Next year, with some solid signings, you can challenge for the title, reclaim the German crown and perhaps begin to target European success. 

Paris Saint-Germain first team squad, player roles and ratings

Player Age Pos Role Duty Role Ability CA/ PA
Starting Lineup
Roman Burki26GKSweeper KeeperAttack2.5 star141/ 148
Lukasz Piszczek32DRWing-BackDefend3 star145/ 161
Sokratis Papastathopoulos29DCRCentral DefenderDefend3 star154/ 154
Marc Bartra26DCLBall Playing DefenderDefend3.5 star150/ 154
Park Joo-ho30DLFull-BackAttack2.5 star134/ 138
Gonzalo Castro30MCRDeep Lying/ Advanced PlaymakerDefend/ Support3.5 star149/ 150
Mario Gotze25MCLDeep Lying/ Advanced PlaymakerSupport3.5 star157/ 165
Andriy Yarmolenko27AMRInside ForwardAttack4 star156/ 160
Shinji Kagawa28AMCAdvanced PlaymakerSupport3.5 star150/ 160
Andre Schurrle26AMLInside ForwardSupport3 star151 158
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang28STCAdvanced Forward/ PoacherAttack4 star168/ 168
Roman Weidenfeller36GKGoalkeeperDefend2.5 star138/ 157
Omer Toprak27D (C)Ball Playing DefenderDefend3.5 star147/ 147
Jeremy Toljan22D (RL) WB (RL)Full-BackAttack3 star141/ 149
Nuri Sahin28DM M (C)Advanced PlaymakerSupport3 star144/ 152
Maximilian Philipp23M (RL) AM (RLC) ST (C)Inside ForwardAny3 star146/ 155
Christian Pulisic18M (RL) AM (RLC)Inside ForwardSupport3.5 star143/ 164
Alexander Isak17ST (C)Complete ForwardAttack2.5 star124/ <180
Neven Subotic28D (C)Defensive Centre BackAny2 star135/ 148
Mahmoud Dahoud21DM M (C) AM (C)Advanced PlaymakerSupport3 star139/ 164
Erik Durm25D (RL) WB (RL)Full-BackAttack2.5 star139/ 142
Marcel Schmelzer29D (L) WB (L)Full-BackSupport3 star146/ 146
Raphael Guerreiro23D (L) WB (L) M (LC) AM (L)Full-BackAttack3.5 star153/ 170
Sebastian Rode26DM M (C)Ball Winning Midfielder/ CarrileroSupport2.5 star140/ 144
Julian Weigl21DM M (C)Deep Lying PlaymakerDefend3 star148/ 160
Marco Reus28M (RL) AM (RLC) ST (C)Inside ForwardAny4 star170/ 171

Who have you signed on your FM save? Let us know in the comments section below.

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