The nowhere men: A Bundesliga XI of missing stars

With six matches played this season the new Bundesliga campaign is starting to take shape with the quality rising to the top with established stars doing their things and rising talent coming to the fore. There are however a number of top players still yet to feature for their clubs for various reasons. Here we bring you a Bundesliga XI of the forgotten stars.

Michael Rensing

In Fortuna Düsseldorf’s first season following promotion last year, former Bayern keeper Rensing was an ever-present for Friedhelm Funkel’s side and could have been forgiven for thinking his status would be the same in Fortuna’s second year in the topflight after securing safety last year.

Not so. The arrival of US keeper Zack Steffen on a season-long loan from Manchester City has seen the 35-year-old demoted to second-choice with the new goalkeeper starting the new season in stunning form. With the young custodian grabbing people’s attention with his stunning saves and penalty box command, it is looking like Rensing is going to have to get used to playing second fiddle.

Marcel Schmelzer

The former Borussia Dortmund captain must have seen the writing on the wall last season when he only made nine appearances (six in the first six games). Injury played a part last year, but so too did the arrival of more youthful fullbacks such as Achraf Hakimi. The signing of Nico Schulz has put ‘Schmelle‘ further down the pecking order and he is yet to feature this season.

The 31-year-old featured in the matchday squad for the opening five games but was left out completely against Werder Bremen with Lucien Favre preferring youngsters Mateu Morey and Leonardo Balerdi. Schmelzer was also omitted from the Champions League squad that faced Barcelona at the Signal Iduna Park.

Ludwig Augustinsson

Werder Bremen have been blighted by injuries at the start of this season with Swedish defender Ludwig Augustinsson one of their major losses. The fullback was a key part of the Grün-Weißen side last season as they pushed for European qualification, but a knee injury has seen him miss the whole of the start of the new campaign.

Augustinsson has undergone successful surgery and it is hoped he could be back in contention before the Winterpause in December. “He is one of those players you really miss when they are not there” Werder trainer Florian Kohfeldt told the Weser Kurier recently. He is a very important player for our game. He is tactically strong, good in defence and in one-on-ones he brings a good physical presence, as well as being strong going forward.”

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Milos Veljkovic

Another Werder absentee this season has been centre back Milos Veljkovic. After undergoing an operation in July for a broken toe, the defender has been fighting to regain fitness and return to Bundesliga action.

He was on the bench for Bremen last weekend when they secured a 2-2 draw away at Borussia Dortmund, so it seems like only a matter of time before he takes his place back in the centre of the Werder back four.

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw

Augsburg have been without their key central defender for the entire start of the new season after the Dutchman suffered an adductor injury in July. Now the 28-year-old has returned to training and is itching to get back into the Fuggerstädter first team.

“Finally, I can get back on the pitch,” Gouweleeuw said on Tuesday. “Now the most important thing is to get back to the level I was at before the injury. I want to put in the effort, show my quality, and therefore help the team.”

Tyler Adams

RB Leipzig have made a great start to the season, but they have had to do so without the services of US midfielder Adams, who has missed the past three months due groin and foot injuries.

He was forced to sit out five of Leipzig’s final six games of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season with a niggling groin injury. He returned to face Bayern in the DFB Pokal final before a recurrence of the problem forced him to withdraw from the USMNT’s CONCACAF Gold Cup squad this summer.

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Stefan Ilsanker

The Austrian midfielder has only played twice this season, but both of those games came for his county in their Euro 2020 qualifiers rather than for his club RB Leipzig.  Ilsanker was selected by national team boss Franco Foda against both Poland and Latvia, but thus far Julian Nagelsmann has found no use for him at the Red Bull Arena.

In the opening six games of the season the 30-year-old has only made the matchday squad three times and has been left out of the Champions League squad completely. It seems likely that a move away from Saxony is on the cards.

Lars Stindl

The Mönchengladbach captain sustained a broken leg last April in the Foals’ match against Hannover after a first minute clash with Matthias Ostrzolek and has been out of action ever since.

The 31-year-old is close to a return however having made a return to full training in September.

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Leon Goretzka

The Germany international played all 90 minutes in the DFL Supercup loss to Borussia Dortmund and scored after coming on as a second-half substitute in the 3-1 DFB Pokal victory over Energie Cottbus, but he had not featured at all in the league this season after being hampered by a niggling injury.

Goretzka was on the bench during Bayern’s 6-1 win over Mainz on matchday 3, but he suffered a recurrence of his injury whilst on international duty. He underwent surgery to remove a haematoma on his left thigh. A possible return date remains unknown.

Daniel Ginczek

An ankle injury in January hit the Wolfsburg striker and then a back injury, which required surgery added more woe on the 28-year-old. Having recovered from the first injury, he had hoped to be part of new trainer Oliver Glasner’s plans, but straight from the first day of pre-season, he was forced out.

He hopes to be able to return at some point before the Winterpause.

Andre Kramaric

The Croatian was a major influence for Hoffenheim last season with 22 goals in 37 appearances. He has however been absent thus far due to a knee injury.

“I feel good and confident. But I don’t know exactly how things look until I can train properly again,” Kramaric said in an interview with Kicker.

“Of course, I miss being on the pitch, especially because I’m not used to injuries. But that’s just how football is. It keeps hitting you. It’s not like it’s a really bad injury. I’ll come back strong soon,” the 28-year-old underlined.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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