There's a common misconception with German football that just two teams rule the roost at the top of the Bundesliga table, something which isn't entirely unfounded as ​Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund have lifted the Meisterschale in 29 of the last 40 seasons.

But with neither of the Bundesliga's big two sitting on top during the international break Germany's top flight is finally starting to get some recognition for being the competitive, high-quality league that it always has been.

Even so, little is known about the Bundesliga outside of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund - a certain Red Bull-backed side are also starting to make a name for themselves - so just how competitive really are the other teams?

Well, now is the perfect time to find out. So here's a starting XI and substitutes bench of the Bundesliga's best outside of Dortmund and Munich.

Goalkeeper: Péter Gulácsi (RB Leipzig)

Peter Gulacsi

Few players have enjoyed such a big turnaround in their career quite like Péter Gulácsi. Signed by Liverpool as a teenager, the Hungary international didn't make a senior single appearance for the Reds before leaving to join Red Bull Salzburg on a free transfer in 2013.

Two years later Gulácsi joined Salburg's sister club RB Leipzig, where he's now not only considered as one of the best shot-stoppers in Germany but also in Europe.

Right-Back: Stefan Lainer (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Stefan Lainer

It might be at the other end of the pitch where games are won or lost, but Borussia Mönchengladbach have looked transformed this season following the arrival of Stefan Lainer - as well as left-back Ramy Bensebaini.

After following manager Marco Rose from Salzburg during the summer, the Austrian has missed just 32 minutes of football across all competitions.

Lainer's picked up one goal and two assists already, but it's his impact at the other end of the pitch which could see Gladbach fight for Champions League qualification, or maybe even the title itself, this season.

Centre-Back: Ibrahima Konaté (RB Leipzig)

Ibrahima Konate

Ibrahima Konaté wasn't always the star centre-back at RB Leipzig, but the 20-year-old proved to be vital for new manager Julian Nagelsmann before picking up an injury in their Champions League group stage defeat against Olympique Lyonnais.

It's no surprise to see that RB Leipzig have picked up just eight points out of a possible 18 in their last six games without Konaté on the pitch, so there's little doubt that he'll walk straight back into the starting lineup as soon as he's recovered.

Centre-Back: Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

Dayot Upamecano

Although Konaté wasn't an instant hit at RB Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano was.

The 21-year-old has been a victim of his own success at times and hasn't always lived up to the hype, but the France Under-21 international is still one of the most exciting players in the Bundesliga - if not already one of the best.

To put Leipzig's centre-back partnership into context, even with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund's players available, only Niklas Süle is a clear option to start ahead of either Upamecano or Konaté.

Left-Back: Filip Kostić (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Danny da Costa,Dominik Kohr,Filip Kostic

It's unsurprising that Filip Kostić's best moments come as an attacking wing-back in Frankfurt am Main - he was a forward at previous clubs Hamburger SV, VfB Stuttgart and Groningen - but the Serbia international has come on leaps and bounds defensively too.

The 26-year-old has featured as a wing-back both under Niko Kovač and Adi Hütter, but Kostić has still popped up with 16 goals and 19 assists for Eintracht Frankfurt across all competitions in just 66 appearances.

Kostić has never been the star name but without his service on the right side, it's difficult to image the likes of Luka Jović or Sébastien Haller would have secured their big-money moves to Real Madrid and West Ham respectively during the summer.

Right-Midfield: Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)

Marcel Sabitzer

A player whose quality is matched also by their versatility, Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer has already been directly involved in 15 goals already this season, having played either as an attacking midfielder or more regularly on the right.

The Austria international hasn't always grabbed the headlines in Saxony, but throughout his time at the club Sabitzer has been one of the first names on the teamsheet under managers Ralf Rangnick, Ralph Hasenhüttl and now Julian Nagelsmann.

Centre-Midfield: Kai Havertz (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

Kai Havertz

Few countries produce wonderkids quite like Germany.

But rather than having one standout feature like Brazil's Joga bonito, England's street football or Spain's Tiki Taka, homegrown talents coming through the ranks in the Bundesliga have a mixture of all of them.

Germany's latest generational talent Kai Havertz might be an attacking midfielder by trade, but he's already attracting interest from the biggest clubs on the planet after scoring 20 goals and picking up seven assists last season.

The left-footer already boasts one of the best technical skillsets in the Bundesliga, but also standing at 6' 2'', Havertz's frame (literally) makes him stand out from the crown compared to other creative players across Europe.

Centre-Midfield: Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Florian Neuhaus

While Switzerland international Denis Zakaria might act as the engine room in Borussia Mönchengladbach's midfield, 22-year-old Florian Neuhaus can thrive in almost any role for the Foals.

The Germany Under-21 international has drawn comparisons to Thomas Müller when going forward - Neuhaus actually rejected an offer from Bayern Munich in his youth, instead joining city rivals 1860 - while he's also been able to fill the shoes of former Gladbach captain Granit Xhaka at the base of midfield.

Neuhaus hasn't been able to match his numbers from last season so far under new manager Marco Rose, but the youngster remains a regular part of Gladbach's first-team which has gone into the international break at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Left-Midfield: Milot Rashica (SV Werder Bremen)

Milot Rashica

Milot Rashica didn't have an instant impact at Werder Bremen when he arrived from Holland in January 2018, scoring just one goal in nine appearances, although the Kosovo international did help his side avoid relegation by a comfortable margin.

Since then, however, Rashica has become the talisman in Werder Bremen's attack and has been one of the key reasons that Florian Kohfeldt's side continue to punch above their weight with the Bundesliga's established hierarchy.

The 23-year-old scored 12 goals and picked up six assists as Die Werderaner finished just one point outside of Europa League qualification, as well as reaching the semi-final stage of the DFB-Pokal.

Striker: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)


A player who already needs no introduction, Timo Werner was one of the most talked-about players before the start of the season as he prepared to enter the final year of his contract with RB Leipzig.

The Stuttgart academy product has since put pen to paper on a new deal and he's celebrated that fresh contract by scoring nine goals - including two hat-tricks - to take his tally for the season to 15 goals and seven assists in just 17 appearances.

Werner is now tied to RB Leipzig until 2023, and forward could lead the club to a first-ever Bundesliga title - they were only formed in 2009 - under the guidance of Germany's managerial wonderkid, Julian Nagelsmann.

Striker: Wout Weghorst (VfL Wolfsburg)

Wout Weghorst

While Werner might catch the eye for his devastating pace, Wolfsburg's Wout Weghorst is the complete opposite.

The Netherlands international moved to Germany in his prime and he's already notched 22 goals in just 45 Bundesliga appearances, with Wolfsburg enjoying a return to their best form with Weghorst leading their attack.

The 27-year-old forced his way into the senior national team last season, and Weghorst will likely be part of Ronaldo Koeman's team at Euro 2020 next summer if his current form continues.

Substitutes bench: Jiří Pavlenka (SV Werder Bremen), Aarón Martín (1. FSV Mainz 05), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Arne Maier (Hertha BSCMarcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Amine Harit (Schalke 04), Kevin Volland (Bayer Leverkusen).

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