November 21, 2017

Top XI – Players looking for a job

Back in the 80s Morrissey sang “I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I’m miserable now”, however, the players featured on this list want to get back to being part of a team as quickly as possible.

Here are the best XI of players who played in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 last season and who are now out of contract, desperately trying to find a new club now.

Goal – Alexander Manninger

13 clubs in a career that has stretched over 21 years, but still the Austrian goalkeeper hasn’t had enough. Manninger has always been a reliable second keeper for most of his career and the fans of FC Augsburg have seen how much talent the 39-year-old still possesses despite his advanced age(by footballing standards).

Right back – Alexander Huber

Once part of the DFB’s Team 2006(a team consisting of talents that were matched ahead of the World Cup in Germany), Alexander Huber has over the years developed from fourth tier player to reliable Bundesliga 2 right back. He might not be quick enough or possess the technical ability to compete at the highest level, but any second or third tier side looking for a right back should be happy to have such a player on the roster.

Left back – Constant Djakpa

Going forward the Ivorian can be spectacular, but at times he seemingly forgets that being a left back includes defensive duties. Nevertheless, the 8 time international has made a name for himself being a decent second choice left back at such clubs as Bayer Leverkusen, Hannover 96 and Eintracht Frankfurt. Given the fact that he’s 29-years-old now, it seems unlikely that any high flying Bundesliga teams are looking into him, but at Bundesliga 2 level he should still be a very good get.

Central defender – Georg Niedermeier

Maligned or loved. Good or the worst thing that has happened to the Stuttgart defence. There were many different points of views about the lanky defenders performances over the years, however, now that he’s 30-years-old and VfB are looking for a clean break in the second division he was let go. Ant club looking for a defender with a wealth of Bundesliga experience is ultimately forced to look into signing Niedermeier.

Central defender – Jan Simunek

Nine years ago Simunek was bought for 3.5 million Euros by Wolfsburg as one of the more promising defenders in Europe, he has now turned into a decent Bundesliga 2 campaigner. Simunek is strong in the air, reads the game fairly well and can be trusted in defence. The 29-year-old would be a decent get for most Bundesliga 2 sides and maybe even for sides fighting at the lower end of the table in the Bundesliga.

Right wing – Robert Koch

Once a promising third tier player, Koch’s career has come to a halt after he joined Der Club. During his second season in Nurnberg Koch fell out of favour with coach Weiler and has only competed in 28 matches over the last two seasons. Despite that the 30-year-old can be an asset to most teams in the second and third tier.

Left wing – Ivo Ilicevic

When Bruno Labbadia needed to turn things around badly at HSV during his first season at the club, Ilicevic was one of the players he was looking to. The Croat had been kept on the bench and in the stands for some time, but after his new coach had spotted his potential he re-paid him with good performances. With his four goals and three assists in 31 matches last season, the left winger has shown that he still can be a vital part of a team that is competing in the Bundesliga.

Central midfield – Enis Alushi

This experienced Bundesliga 2 midfielder decided against extending his contract at St. Pauli. Alushi plays mostly in holding midfield and exerts and air of calm paired with a good eye for pass distribution. The fact that he reads the game fairly well comes also in handy in that particular position.

Central midfield – Gojko Kacar

His time at HSV was a rollercoaster ride at times. At times the club wanted to get rid of him, which culminated in a loan to Japanese side Cerezo Osaka. However, when the Red Shorts were as good as relegated it was Bruno Labbadia who found the spirited Serb in the depth of his squad. Kacar’s goals on match day 31 and 32 in the 2014/15 season secured the relegation play off for the club, which ultimately kept them in the league.

Striker – Hugo Almeida

After his time at Werder Bremen the striker turned into a nomad hopping from club to club and country to country. This winter he returned to the Bundesliga where his lack of fitness kept him back for most of the Rückrunde. At the age of 32 Almeida has reached the last years of his career, but as things stand he could be useful as a backup option at Bundesliga level.

Striker – Martin Harnik

Over the last few months the 29-year-old has been linked with several clubs, including Schalke and HSV. Despite the big Bundesliga names said to be interested Harnik was most tempted to accept an offer from China, however, the deal fell through at the last minute. Now he’s looking to improve his dire form from last season and he needs a club that gives him the chance to shine once again.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.