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


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. 

Philosophies

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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

Expectations

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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. 

Formation

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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
Midfield depth
Overall depth
Teamwork
Goalkeeper depth
Youth prospects
Defence depth
Tackling
Dribbling
Finishing
Star defenders (Raphael Guerreiro, Abdou Diallo, Achraf Hakimi)
Passing
Vision
Decisions
Positioning
First touch
Coaching & Scouting staff
Agility

Dynamics

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 Albiol
32
Napoli
Spain
150/ 161
£9m
£67k
Simon Kjaer
29
Sevilla
Denmark
150/ 155
£14m
£144k
Eder Militao
20
FCP
Brazil
150/ 170
£21m
£15k
Stefan Savic
27
A. Madrid
Montenegro
153/ 158
£24m
£77k
Daniele Rugani
24
AC Milan
Italy
152/ 165
£28m
£64k

Contracts

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. 

Finances

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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 Burki
27
GK
SK
Support Attack
3 stars
145/ 145
Achraf Hakimi
19
DR WBR
WB CWB FB
Support Auto Attack
3 stars
144/ 159
Omer Toprak
29
DC
CD NCB BPD
Cover
3 stars
142/ 147
Manuel Akanji
23
DC
BPD
Defend Cover
3 stars
144/ 162
Raphael Guerreiro
24
DL WBL
FB CWB WB
Attack Support Auto
3.5 stars
148/ 163
Axel Witsel
29
DM MC
DLP CM
Defend Support
4 stars
159/ 170
Thomas Delaney
26
MC
BBM BWM
Support Defend
3.5 stars
146/ 146
Jadon Sancho
18
ML AML MR AMR
Support WP IF AP
Support Attack
3.5 stars
150/ 175
Mario Gotze
26
AM ST
AP AM
Support Attack
3.5 stars
151/ 173
Marco Reus
29
ML AML AMC
IW Winger IF WP SS
Support Attack
4.5 stars
167/ 168
Paco Alcacer
24
ST
Poacher PF AF
Attack
3.5 stars
153/ 157
Substitutes
Marwin Hitz
30
GK
SK
Any
3 stars
136/ 138
Abdou Diallo
22
DC
BPD
Defend
3 stars
139/ 159
Lukasz Piszczek
33
DR WBR
FB WB
Any
3 stars
142/ 156
Julian Weigl
22
MC DM
CM DLP
Defend Support Auto
3 stars
143/ 160
Mahmoud Dahoud
22
MC
AP DLP
Any
3 stars
138/ 161
Christian Pulisic
19
MR AMR
Winger
Support Attack
3.5 stars
147/ 164
Maximilian Philipp
24
ST AMC
PF
Attack
3 stars
141/ 155
Reserves
Marius Wolf
23
AMR MR WBR
Winger
Support
3 stars
140/ 146
Marcel Schmelzer
30
DL WBL
FB WB
Any
3 stars
137/ 144
Jacob Bruun Larsen
19
ML AML MR AMR
IW WP Winger IF DW
Support Attack
2.5 stars
135/ 155
Dan-Axel Zagadou
19
DC
BPD
Defend Cover
2.5 stars
130/ 157
Leonardo Balerdi
19
DC
BPD CD
Cover Defend
2.5 stars
125/ 148
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