The "kicker" ranking list placed Nico Schulz in the "international class" category for the "full-back" position. The 25-year-old was the second-highest rated full-back in the Bundesliga, surpassed only by Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich. Schulz had been number one in his position in the previous edition.
Thomas Berthold, a world champion in 1990, sees it differently: "I would've put Nico Schulz at the top of the ranking list again. The Hoffenheim man has continued his strong form and has been a reliable figure for both TSG and the German national team. For me, the 25-year-old has everything a modern full-back needs: tough tackling, high tempo and desire to get forward," he wrote in his "kicker" column.
Schulz is joined by his Hoffenheim team-mate Pavel Kaderabek in the ranking list. The Czech international was included by "kicker" in the "players of note" category. Kaderabek sits in eighth place in the ranking list. "The Hoffenheim man has continued where he left off in the second half of last season: extremely dynamic but with improved crossing, which has been reflected in his four assists," wrote "kicker".
Kramaric makes "International class" too
The magazine believes that Andrej Kramaric deserves to join Schulz in the "international class" category. The Croatian features in third place in the "attacking midfield" position. Only two Germany internationals − Marco Reus and Kai Havertz − sit above him in the ranking list.
"Even playing a position further back does not subdue his attacking intent. Kramaric, who is mostly deployed as a number eight in the Hoffenheim front three, always gets forward with purpose, finding his way into the box and into shooting positions. He has been involved in a respectable 14 TSG goals in all competitions, recently scoring in nine consecutive matches," wrote "kicker".
One place behind Kramaric in the ranking list is Kerem Demirbay, who was placed in the "players of note" category by the specialist magazine. The 25-year-old midfielder was the highest-rated player in the Bundesliga in the first half of the season.
"Had Kerem Demirbay's start to the season not been significantly delayed, Hoffenheim would probably have more points on the board. Since the end of September, the half-German half-Turkish midfielder has demonstrated what a fine footballer he is: a strategist who initiates attacks, often plays the decisive final balls and elegantly makes space for himself when under high pressure from opponents," said "kicker".
Schulz, Kaderabek, Kramaric and Demirbay are joined in the "German Football Ranking List" by Florian Grillitsch. The Austrian made the "players in focus" category for the "defensive midfield" position.