The 2010s has been a remarkable decade for the 2. Bundesliga. The division has had it all: Eintracht Frankfurt’s free-flowing attack in 2012, Darmstadt’s relegation playoff victory against Bielefeld in 2014, their back-to-back promotion the following year, the sad demise of 1860 Munich, Köln’s indefatigable eleven in 2019, Union Berlin’s emotional promotion in 2019 – to name but a few.
But which players have stood-out the most over this ten-year spell? Is it even possible to select a Team of the Decade for the 2. Bundesliga.
That is the question that we have asked ourselves. But who are we? Alex Howell is the Editor of English Media at FC Ingolstadt 04, sadly no longer of the 2. Bundesliga. He is joined by Matthew Karagich, host of the 2. Bundesliga English Podcast, and Eva-Lotte Bohl, regular guest on the podcast and Arminia Bielefeld aficionado. Martin Bergmaier will also contribute to the team and is the host of Ingolstadt podcast Schanzer Zeitspiel. Mark Lovell is last but by no means least, working as Bundesliga correspondent for WhoScored and formerly of ESPN.
There are a few caveats, however. Firstly, each player must have made at-least 50 appearances across the decade in the league. This is due to the unique nature of compiling a Team of the Decade for a second division. Naturally, the very best players are often only in the 2. Bundesliga for one season, before rising to a higher level. Thus, the 50-appearance cut-off ensures only the most consistent players will make the final eleven. Secondly, the final eleven will be created of those players selected the most by the contributors.
Team: Martin Männel; Ken Reichel, Lasse Sobiech, Christopher Trimmel; Jan Hochscheidt, Pascal Groß, Anthony Losilla, Sonny Kittel, Marc Schnatterer; Simon Terodde, Fabian Klos.
Team: Martin Männel; Christopher Trimmel, Lasse Sobiech, Julian Börner, Ken Reichel; Marc Schnatterer, Adam Bodzek, Sonny Kittel, Anthony Losilla; Simon Terodde, Nils Petersen.
Team: Daniel Heuer Fernandes; Ken Reichel, Florian Dick, Sören Gonther; Marc Schnatterer, Hanno Behrens, Christopher Buchtmann, Anthony Losilla, Sonny Kittel; Simon Terodde, Fabian Klos.
Team: Martin Männel; Arne Feick, Ken Reichel, Christopher Trimmel; Marc Schnatterer, Anthony Losilla, Tobias Kempe, Pascal Groß, Markus Karl; Simon Terodde, Fabian Klos.
Team: Martin Männel; Daniel Buballa, Adam Bodzek, Anthony Losilla; Tobias Kempe, Marco Stiepermann, Jan Hochscheidt, Kevin Volland; Simon Terodde, Nils Petersen, Fabian Klos.
Goalkeeper: Martin Männel
Männel has made the most appearances (262) of any player across the decade in the division, all of which have come with Erzgebirge Aue. However, the 31-year-old has not just made many apperances, he has also been one of the most consistent performers across the 2. Bundesliga. Männel has 67 clean sheets across the decade, but was particularly mean in the 2010/2011 season, where he conceded on average just 1.09 goals per game. Although arguably more talented goalkeepers have appeared in the division across the past ten years, including the likes of Ron Robert Zieler and Timo Horn, Männel’s consistency between the sticks for one of the 2. Bundesliga more scorned clubs makes him a certainty for the eleven.
Defender: Christopher Trimmel
One assist every five games is no mean feat for a right full back. That is why Christopher Trimmel makes the eleven. The Austrian was a mainstay in the Union Berlin side that consistently pushed for promotion between 2014 and 2019. When they finally achieved that ambition, it was in no small part due to Trimmel’s exertion, who appeared in all but three games in the 2018/2019 season.
Defender: Lasse Sobiech
It is hard to select central defenders. They are measured by their ability to prevent goals, but how much of that is determined by the strength of the overall team unit? Nonetheless, in the latter half of the decade, Sobiech established himself as one of the 2. Bundesliga’s premier defenders whilst with St. Pauli. Indeed, the central defender was particularly integral during the 2016/2017 season, where St. Pauli had the third best defensive record across the league (conceding 35 goals over 34 games). Such was the 28-year-old’s pedigree that 1. FC Köln signed him in 2018, as they assembled the 2. Bundesliga’s equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters in order to attain promotion back to the Bundesliga.
Defender: Ken Reichel
Reichel made 210 appearances in the 2. Bundesliga over the course of the decade, however it was not his defending that has earned him a place in the squad. Indeed, the modern fullback is expected to be equally as good in attack as defence and Reichel perfectly encapsulates that quality. With 44 goal contributions from defence, the Eintracht Braunschweig and Union Berlin man scored some of the best goals in the league over the past ten years. For one such example, see his spectacular overhead kick against Hannover in November 2016.
Midfielder: Marc Schnatterer
Few players have had as much impact upon the 2. Bundesliga across only a short period, as Schnatterer. The one club man entered the league with Heidenheim in 2014 and has not looked back since, combining for 108 goal contributions over 182 games. Indeed, he is the ninth highest goal scorer (with 48) over the decade, an admirable feat considering his midfield berth. What is more, Schnatterer also holds the 9th and 10th place for the highest number of assists in a single 2. Bundesliga season (14). Heidenheim have been one of the real stories of the 2010s in the 2. Bundesliga and that is down, in no small part, to Marc Schnatterer.
Midfielder: Anthony Losilla
Every team needs a defensive midfielder and as far as the 2010s across the 2. Bundesliga, ‘Toto’ Losilla is as fine as they come. The Spaniard has anchored both the Dynamo Dresden and VfL Bochum midfields over the decade, earning a reputation for his fierce tackling and consistent play. However, Losilla has also shown that he does have a creative side. The midfielder has chipped in with 12 goals and 19 assists across the decade.
Midfielder: Adam Bodzek
One club man Bodzek has been with Fortuna Düsseldorf for the entirety of the decade. Such has been his importance to Fortuna, the 34-year-old has featured prominently in two promotion winning sides. Over 164 appearances in the 2. Bundesliga over the decade, the Polish midfielder has not been the most prolific, with only 7 goals and 13 assists. Nonetheless, it has been Bodzek’s presence in the tackle that has seen him become a cult figure in the league.
Midfielder: Sonny Kittel
Kittel has come into his own after he swapped the Bundesliga for the Zweite Liga in 2017. Across 93 2. Bundesliga appearances, the attacking midfielder has contributed 32 goals and 24 assists for both Ingolstadt and Hamburg. That is a rate of one goal contribution every one and a half games. What would have happened if Kittel had played in the division for longer remains one of the great what ifs of the decade.
Midfielder: Jan Hochscheidt
When you think of reliable, Jan Hochscheidt is what comes to mind in the Zweite Liga. It seems that some of the 2. Bundesliga’s most experienced managers, such as Torsten Lieberknecht and Dirk Schuster, agree, having made the midfielder an integral part at both Erzgebirge Aue and Eintracht Braunschweig across the decade. Hochscheidt has been both goal scorer and goal maker, having racked up 42 goals and 39 assists across 235 second division matches. His stand-out moment the 2012/2013 season with Aue, where he combined for 19 goal contributions – a tally that would earn him a move to the Bundesliga. Such is the Trier native’s versatility, left back is the only position he has not played.
Forward: Simon Terodde
Need I say anymore? 218 appearances. 118 goals. Torjägerkanone in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Even 34 assists. Simon Terodde is to the 2. Bundesliga, what Lionel Messi is to La Liga. With 121 goals, only Sven Demandt has more in the division’s 45-year history. Yet, Terodde’s impact extends beyond goals. The 31-year-old helped propel both VfB Stuttgart to the title in 2017, as well as his current Köln side in 2019. Terodde also lined up for Union Berlin and Bochum across the decade.
Forward: Fabian Klos
Klos has 71 goals and 35 assists across 177 appearances in the 2. Bundesliga. When we consider that the 32-year-old has done that with Arminia Bielefeld, a side which for the majority of the decade have flirted between the second and third divisions, that feat gains added prestige. As they say, however, a fine wine ages with time. In the same manner, Klos has gotten better and better over the decade. Indeed, his finest form has come in the last six-months of the 2010s, where the big centre-forward has a combined 18 goal contributions after just 17 matches – that is a strike rate of over 1.05 goals or assists per ninety minutes! For that reason, Bielefeld’s man pips the likes of Nils Petersen.