Bundesliga Fanatic XI – players still looking for a new home

What happens if a team is struck by an injury crisis right now? The transfer window is closed, leaving clubs of the top three divisions little room to react to unforeseen losses to injury like the one Eintracht Frankfurt suffered when Kevin Trapp was injured in a match against Mainz.

There is, however, one little loophole allowing clubs to sign new players: free agency. Any player without a current employer can sign for a new club at any given time. Last season, Jürgen Klopp reacted to Neven Subotic’s injury by signing free agent Manuel Friedrich. Thomas Schaaf’s response to Trapp’s injury was to sign unemployed former Schalke and Stuttgart goalie Timo Hildebrand.

Currnetly, there are nearly three dozen players with Bundesliga and/or 2, Bundesliga experience who also lack a current contract, according to transfermarkt.de. To give you a better idea of what’s out there – provided your club suddenly is faced by numerous unexpected injuries – here’s the Bundesliga Fanatic free agen starting XI.

goalkeeper – Tim Wiese

Should your club have problems in the goalkeeping department, the answer seemingly isn’t to be found in Germany. Right now Tim Wiese is the only former Bundesliga non-retired keeper not otherwise under contract. The former Werder, Hoffenheim, and Kaiserslautern player has 269 Bundesliga matches to his credit, but right now it seems more likely that we’ll see Wiese throwing down in a wrestling ring rather than entering a Bundesliga stadium as some club’s number one. The fact his former coach Schaaf opted to sign Hildebrand rather than his former pupil speaks volumes of how unlikely the 32-year-old’s return to the Bundesliga would seem to be.

right back – Tobias Levels

With 102 matches in the Bundsliga and 89 matches in 2. Bundesliga, Levels has proven that he can be a decent right back if his coach and fans put their trust in him. Right now, the former Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach player keeps fit by attending the training sessions of Borussia Mönchengladbach II. According to the rumor mill, there seems to be interest from SV Darmstadt of 2. Bundesliga.

left back – Malik Fathi

The former Mainz and Hertha player is a proven quantity in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Furthermore, Fathi has also played in the UEFA Cup and abroad in Russia and Turkey. The 30-year-old is probably the best left back among players looking for new employment at that position. Though, Fathi is also a versatile player who can do a job in central defense and holding midfield, should the need arise.

center back – Tobias Nickenig

The former Aue player has been without a contract since the start of the season. Nickenig is a proven and decent alternative as a central defender, and Erzgebirge were considering bringing the experienced 30-year-old back after their dire start to the season. If any Bundesliga 2 clubs are in need of a back-up solution for a spot in their back four, Nickenig is certainly a good option.

center back – Markus Palionis

The former SC Paderborn player has been linked to clubs in Germany and the Netherlands, but a move has yet to materialise for the 27-year-old. Palionis wasn’t a favorite of Breitenreiter and has certainly not had the chance to play in any meaningful matches for some time. A move to the third tier might be as good as it gets for the man born in Kaunas.

right midfield – Christian Tiffert

The midfielder has always been considered a talent, but at age 32 it is fair to say that Tiffert’s career hasn’t gone according to plan, considering how promising he was when he first broke onto the scene at VfB Stuttgart. There is little doubt, however, that the experienced midfielder can be a valuable asset to any team in 2. Bundesliga or 3. Liga, and right now he’s still looking for a new club.

left midfield – Mimoun Azaouagh

The former Mainz and VfL Bochum player has plenty of experience at Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga levels, but his last two seasons at Kaiserslautern saw him spend most of his time on the bench or injured. The 31-year-old can fill all three positions behind the striker and could potentially liven up a game in the 2. Bundesliga or 3. Liga as long as he rediscovers his attacking drive from a few seasons ago.

central midfield – Andreas Ottl

Once a Bayern youth product, Ottl managed to get to the first team, but never really made the final step to international stardom as part of Bayern’s starting line-up. Ottl has since played at Hertha and Augsburg, but the last couple of seasons have been tough for the 29-year-old who only featured in 13 Bundesliga matches over the last two years, largely due to a string of injuries. Ottl was in talks with two clubs outside of Germany, but has so far not found a new employer.

central midfield – Levan Kenia

The Georgian has tried his luck at both Schalke 04 and Fortuna Düsseldorf, but he has not yet been able to make a lasting impression in Germany’s top two tiers. There’s little doubt that Kenia possesses the sort of qualities sides from the lower half of the table in the 2. Bundesliga 2 and sides in the 3. Liga would appreciate.

striker – Cidimar

With 27 goals from 124 matches in 2. Bundesliga, the Brazilian striker’s scoring rate could be improved, but he still one of the better options should a team in the second or third tier need a striker straight away.

striker – Ivan Klasnic

The 34-year-old had a horrific time at Mainz last season. Right now, he’s wondering whether he wants to call it a day or play one or two more years. Werder Bremen’s fans are certainly looking back fondly on the days when Klasnic and Miro Klose scored goals by the bucket load, as the widely feared “K and K attack.” The Croatian won’t likely find a new team in the Bundesliga right now. A new beginning in 2. Bundesliga or 3. Liga is the best Klasnic can hope for right now.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-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.

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