Football Manager 2019: Borussia Dortmund Team Guide, Player Ratings & Tactics

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Borussia Dortmund squeezed into the top four last season on goal difference, finishing 29 points behind perennial champions Bayern Munich. With Bayern claiming the Bundesliga title six years in a row, few thought they would face a title challenge this season, but with areas of their squad starting to creak, Dortmund have been the side to take advantage.

With 27 games played, BVB have lost just twice in the league, meaning they lead their Der Klassiker rivals by two points with seven rounds to go. Dortmund claimed back-to-back league titles under Jurgen Klopp in 2011-12, and they may have to wait a long time for another opportunity.

It’s now your chance to strike gold with Die Rossen on Football Manager 2019. RealSport gives you everything you need to bring a title back to the Yellow Wall. 


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Borussia Dortmund are renowned for an intense playing style, so it won’t be a surprise that you will need to play attacking football with the German side. They have a great history developing young players too, so you will also be expected to sign young players for the first team, and develop players using the club’s youth system


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With a gap in quality and finances between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, you will only need to qualify for the European Champions Cup through your league placing. For the German Cup, you will need to reach the semi-final, whilst aiming for the final will add an extra £1 million to your transfer budget. As for Europe, you will need to get to the knockout stages, but if you target the quarter-finals you will receive a further £1.7 million. 

Tactical style

It makes perfect sense to implement the Gegenpress tactical style with Dortmund, but you could also go for wing play, control possession or tiki-taka. In games when you expect to see less of the ball, go for fluid counter-attack. 


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Under Lucien Favre, BVB have mixed between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 this season, and we have tweaked the latter into a ‘4-2-3-1 DM Wide Asymmetric M (CL)’. With versatile players in wide areas you have the option of moving them deeper into a 4-4-1-1 in matches where you expect to see less of the ball. 

Roman Burki is the number one goalkeeper, as the on-loan Achraf Hakimi slots into the back four alongside Omer Toprak, Manuel Akanji and Raphael Guerreiro

Axel Witsel is the defensive midfielder, with fellow new signing Thomas Delaney slightly further ahead. New England international Jadon Sancho comes in on the right wing, with World Cup winner Mario Gotze in the number 10 role and star man Marco Reus out on the left. Paco Alcacer is up front on his own.

On the bench go for Marwin Hitz, Abdou Diallo, Lukasz Piszczek, Julian Weigl, Mahmoud Dahoud, Christian Pulisic and Maximilian Philipp. 

Key players

Dortmund may not be in the top bracket of European clubs, but they still have a couple of players who are good enough to be part of Europe’s elite. 

Marco Reus – CA 4.5 star (167), PA 4-5 star (168)

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Marco Reus suffered from a number of years struggling with injury, even missing Germany’s World Cup win in 2014. It’s no surprise that since he has returned to form and fitness Dortmund are competing for the Bundesliga title once again with the left winger or attacking midfielder scoring 19 goals and adding 10 assists in all competitions this season. 


On FM, the German star has stats of 18 off the ball, 18 acceleration and 17 finishing to take his CA to 167. This is just one of his potential of 168 with the 29-year-old valued at £61 million and on wages of £190,000 a week. 

Axel Witsel – CA 4 star (159), PA 4 star (170)

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Axel Witsel has been a welcome addition to the Dortmund midfield, adding steel and composure. It has been great to see the defensive or central midfielder finally play in one of Europe’s top leagues, having previous played in his native Belgium, Portugal, Russia and China. Aged 29, he has left himself just enough time to make an impression.

Witsel’s 159 CA could still lean back towards his 170 potential, with his best stats being his 19 teamwork, 18 composure and 18 anticipation. He has a value of £35 million with wages of £140,000 a week. 

Paco Alcacer – CA 3.5 star (153), PA 4 star (157)

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Paco Alcacer’s arrival at Signal Iduna Park has been so impressive that his loan move from Barcelona has been made permanent. The Spaniard has filled the void left by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scoring 16 goals in the Bundesliga this season – averaging a goal every 60 minutes. 

Alcacer’s 153 CA rating can improve to a potential of 157, but aged 24 you would expect this to be higher. His best stats are 18 off the ball, 17 finishing and 16 composure, taking his value to £27.5 million and wages to £69,000 a week. 

Young talent

Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Marcel Schmelzer and Christian Pulisic have all come through the academy at Borussia Dortmund, so who is likely to be the next young star to join the first team.

Sergio Gomez – CA 2.5 star (120), PA 3.5-4.5 star (150-180)

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Sergio Gomez has made three appearances for the Dortmund first team, only one of which has occurred this season. Given the form of the side there is little room for the Spanish U19 international, so you may wish to send him out on loan for the campaign. His 120 CA can improve to a superb potential between 150 and 180, with his value at £2.1 million and with strong wages of £17,250 a week for a 17-year-old. 

Manuel Pherai – CA 2 star (103), PA 4-5 star (130-160)

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Another attacking midfielder, Manuel Pherai is a Dutch U18 international. He has been a regular for Dortmund’s U19 side this term, but is still two campaigns away from being in the first team picture. A 103 CA can improve to a potential between 130 and 160, with the 17-year-old valued at £300,000 with wages of £850 a week. 

Luca Unbehaun – CA 1.5 star (96), PA 3.4-4.5 star (130-160)

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It’s always useful to have a young goalkeeper on the books, with Luca Unbehaun the regular number one for Dortmund’s U19 side. He has worked his way up to the Germany U18 squad, and with his 96 CA able to improve to a potential between 130 and 160, he could become your first choice goalkeeper in the next five years. 

Team report

Strengths Weaknesses


Team Leaders - Marco Reus (C), Mario Gotze, Lukasz Pizszcek (VC)

Highly influential - Marcel Schmelzer, Axel Witsel

The Transfer Market

Starting transfer budget: £36 million

Remaining wage budget: £230,000 a week

Players to sell

With a decent budget, there is no desperate need to sell at Borussia Dortmund, but there are quite a lot of bodies in the squad. This is mainly in defence, so you can sell Leonardo Balerdi who has failed to register a single appearance since his arrival in January. The Argentine U20 international should fetch you £3 million and free up £26,000 a week in wages. 

That will be it for sales, but you should also consider loaning out young winger Jacob Bruun Larsen and Dan-Axel Zagadou so they can get the gametime they need to improve. 

Transfer targets

New transfer budget: £36 million


New wage budget: £230,000 a week

Quality centre back

There are some decent centre half options at BVB, but is still the most fragile part of the starting lineup. Bringing in an experienced defender can help you galvanise the back four and rack up the clean sheets.

Medhi Benatia would be the perfect signing as at the age of 31 he can be in your starting lineup for two seasons before making way for the younger Abdou Diallo or Dan-Axel Zagadou. He has already played in Germany with Bayern Munich and at a price of £13 million you almost can’t afford to mis out on him. His wages with Qatari club Al-Duhail are pricey at £90,000 a week, but that should still come under your budget. The former Juventus and Roma man’s best stats are 18 balance, 17 anticipation and 17 bravery. 

Alternative options

Player Age Club Country CA/ PA Value Wage
Raul Albiol32NapoliSpain150/ 161£9m£67k
Simon Kjaer29SevillaDenmark150/ 155£14m£144k
Eder Militao20FCPBrazil150/ 170£21m£15k
Stefan Savic27A. MadridMontenegro153/ 158£24m£77k
Daniele Rugani24AC MilanItaly152/ 165£28m£64k


No Dortmund first team players have contracts expiring at the end of the season, but keep an eye on Lukasz Piszczek and Raphael Guerreiro who’s deals are up next year. In the reserve team, all of Massimo Ornatelli, Denzeil Boadu, Abdelmajid Bouali, Eric Oelschlagel, Dominik Wanner, Luca Kilian, Dario Scuderi and Huseyin Bulut are of contract at the end of the current campaign. 


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Borussia Dortmund keep their finances in check, and although they are not one of the richest clubs in the world, they are very well run. The overall balance of the club is on the rise, with the profits also improving this season. You should have around £95 million to spend in the transfer market next season, allowing you to take the squad to the next level. 

Time to strike

You may not get a better chance to lift the Bundesliga title than in this first season with Borussia Dortmund. Not too much is expected in the other competitions so you can put your sole focus on the league after the turn of the year. Bayern Munich do not have the squad they had a number of years ago, so you must take advantage. Claim a Bundesliga title this season, and you can help BVB step up into one of Europe’s top clubs. 

Full Borussia Dortmund player ratings

Player Age Pos Role Duty Role Ability CA/ PA
Starting lineup
Roman Burki27GKSKSupport Attack3 stars145/ 145
Achraf Hakimi19DR WBRWB CWB FBSupport Auto Attack3 stars144/ 159
Omer Toprak29DCCD NCB BPDCover3 stars142/ 147
Manuel Akanji23DCBPDDefend Cover3 stars144/ 162
Raphael Guerreiro24DL WBLFB CWB WBAttack Support Auto3.5 stars148/ 163
Axel Witsel29DM MCDLP CMDefend Support4 stars159/ 170
Thomas Delaney26MCBBM BWMSupport Defend3.5 stars146/ 146
Jadon Sancho18ML AML MR AMRSupport WP IF APSupport Attack3.5 stars150/ 175
Mario Gotze26AM STAP AMSupport Attack3.5 stars151/ 173
Marco Reus29ML AML AMCIW Winger IF WP SSSupport Attack4.5 stars167/ 168
Paco Alcacer24STPoacher PF AFAttack3.5 stars153/ 157
Marwin Hitz30GKSKAny3 stars136/ 138
Abdou Diallo22DCBPDDefend3 stars139/ 159
Lukasz Piszczek33DR WBRFB WBAny3 stars142/ 156
Julian Weigl22MC DMCM DLPDefend Support Auto3 stars143/ 160
Mahmoud Dahoud22MCAP DLPAny3 stars138/ 161
Christian Pulisic19MR AMRWingerSupport Attack3.5 stars147/ 164
Maximilian Philipp24ST AMCPFAttack3 stars141/ 155
Marius Wolf23AMR MR WBRWingerSupport3 stars140/ 146
Marcel Schmelzer30DL WBLFB WBAny3 stars137/ 144
Jacob Bruun Larsen19ML AML MR AMRIW WP Winger IF DWSupport Attack2.5 stars135/ 155
Dan-Axel Zagadou19DCBPDDefend Cover2.5 stars130/ 157
Leonardo Balerdi19DCBPD CDCover Defend2.5 stars125/ 148