Of all the specialist player roles on Football Manager 2017, the Raumdeuter is perhaps the most intricate of the lot having only really surfaced over the past few years.
The rise of the Raumdeuter is almost inextricably linked to Thomas Muller’s emergence as a prolific goalscoring winger for both Bayern Munich and Germany since the 2009-10 season.
While the role isn’t exclusively limited to Muller’s unique talents, it would be fair to say that he was the first to perfect it with plenty of other players since following suit.
Essentially, a Raumdeuter is an unorthodox winger whose primary role is to chip in with goals but that definition does a major disservice to the role – here is how it is explained on Football Manager 2017.
Otherwise known as the ‘Space Investigator’
“His main role is to find pockets of space in which to operate. Essentially a wide poacher, the Raumdeuter takes up seemingly harmless positions out wide, waiting for the opportune moment to burst through the defensive line for that telling shot or cross.
“He is difficult for defenders to pick up as he will often drift from his assigned position looking for any opportunity to exploit. This can result in quiet periods during which the Raumdeuter may neglect his defensive duties, therefore adequate cover and a strong team shape are key in order to fully utilise his attacking prowess in the final third.”
What key attributes do they need?
Above all else, a Raumdeuter is an extremely intelligent footballer who relies upon mental attributes as much, if not more, than physical attributes that are generally associated with an out-and-out winger.
Being in the right place at the right time as a result of making clever forward runs is integral to a Raumdeuter enjoying success off the ball – therefore decision making, anticipation and acceleration are key attributes. Getting in the right positions is the relatively easy part, though, as a Raumdeuter must also possess finishing capabilities to bury chances that come their way.
Secondary attributes to look out for are his first touch – as often that will be all they get before getting a shot away – determination to keep making runs, work rate and natural fitness and composure for when in front of goal.
On Football Manager 2017, a Raumdeuter can only be set to an attack mentality so don’t expect to see them do too much running the other way. In order to get the best out of your Raumdeuter, employing a clever support striker in the No.9 role and a more defensive-minded full back behind them may be desirable.
Who are the seven best examples?
1. Thomas Muller
Surprisingly, Muller’s best position on Football Manager 2017 isn’t the Raumdeuter role but is instead the Shadow Striker, which requires similar attributes albeit from a more central role.
Nevertheless, the Bayern man remains an excellent Raumdeuter option on the wing as his attributes – specifically finishing, off the ball and anticipation – are all extremely highly-rated in the game.
Perhaps the other most obvious Raumdeuter in top-level football aside from Muller, Pedro thrived while playing as goalscoring winger in Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona team.
The beauty with Pedro is that he is two-footed and is a natural playing on either wing, meaning if he’s struggling to make an impact on one side of the pitch you can quite comfortably shift him over to the other side.
3. Kevin Volland
An extremely versatile attacker, Kevin Volland may seem prime to play as an inside forward on the right, but interestingly he actually prefers to operate as a Raumdeuter on Football Manager 2017.
Like his compatriot Muller, Volland is a reliable goal-getter and works extremely hard off the ball. His anticipation attribute isn’t as high as you might like but bear in mind he is still only 23 and, therefore, has plenty of room to improve.
4. Jose Callejon
Jose Callejon is a really interesting player on Football Manager 2017 as his varied skill-set means he can be employed effectively in a number of different roles and positions.
Playing him as a Raumdeuter alongside other clever footballers – such as Marek Hamsik and Arek Milik – may be the best way to utilise him, though, thanks to his ruthless finishing and excellent movement.
5. Ahmed Musa
Slightly different to the other names on this list, Leicester City’s Ahmed Musa’s biggest asset is his frightening pace rather than anticipation or reading of the game.
However, in some ways, this makes him even more of a threat as once he’s picked the space to burst in to, it is highly unlikely any opposing defender is going to be able to catch up with him.
6. Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Similarly to Muller, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is rated as ‘accomplished’ rather than ‘natural’ in the Raumdeuter role, but don’t let that deter you from positioning him there as he can certainly cause plenty of damage.
The Armenian essentially played as a Raumdeuter during his final season at Borussia Dortmund, ending the campaign with 23 goals in all competitions and while he is perhaps more creative than an archetypal Raumdeuter, he can thrive there if played regularly.
7. Dirk Kuyt
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? While most of the best Raumdeuters on Football Manager 2017 are younger players, experienced pros who’ve been there and done it can be excellent options to play there.
Dirk Kuyt, for instance, has always been an intelligent footballer and was converted from a central striker to a marauding right winger under Rafa Benitez a decade or so ago. He’s getting on but he can still wreak havoc in the Eredivisie.