When I saw the Halstenberg in the TOTW, I thought he looked like a great German CB option for the Bundesliga, an upgraded Boateng of sorts. When I saw he was half the price of Klostermann, his speedy teammate, I knew I had to try him. So I bought him for 12.5k, slapped an Anchor chemistry style on him and took him into Division Rivals. And what can I say other than he's incredible. He feels like a perfectly well-rounded CB with no glaring weaknesses, capable of handling any and all players. I'll break down his stats one by one:
Honestly, 69 pace is fine. If he was 70 pace he'd likely be a lot more expensive, even though you barely feel the difference in-game. With an Anchor chemistry style, I rarely ever felt that he needed to be quicker. Against 80-90 pace strikers, as long as I didn't rush out and was patient, his pace was totally fine to stop anyone trying to simply burst past him. The only issue I had was through-balls out to the wing if my full-backs pushed up, but he'd still get back in time to hold up the winger. Obviously he's not blisteringly fast, but his pace is totally fine. I much prefer him to Sule, as you can feel the difference in acceleration.
Not much to say, but it's nice having a CB who can control awkward passes under pressure. If my opponent is pressing, I can ping the ball to Halstenberg and be confident that he'll control it without a problem. But to be honest, his dribbling is rarely used. It's nice to have, though.
He's honestly not terrible at shooting, but I'd be worried if I had him in a position to shoot rather than head the ball. Would probably be alright if you absolutely needed him to shoot, but I wouldn't rely on him as a striker.
In a word? Excellent. In a game where timing your tackle perfectly means more than ever, Halstenberg constantly delivers with solid challenges, winning the ball from all kinds of players. From quick, tricky players like Mertens to powerhouses like Lukaku, Halstenberg can stand up to them all. He's great at delivering clutch tackles at important moments, winning the ball cleanly too. I rarely give away fouls with Halstenberg and when I do, it's normally my fault. He's a very clean tackler and someone to depend on in that regard. His interceptions are good, but there's a few annoying instances where he just can't quite get the ball. His positioning however is excellent and completely offsets his H/M workrates, which I never even noticed until I checked for this review. All in all, he's excellent defensively and capable of dealing with all kinds of threats.
Passing doesn't seem all too essential on a CB, but like the dribbling, it's nice to have. I can't recall a time Halstenberg misplaced a pass or over/underpowered a ball out of the defence. When put under pressure, his ability to calmly get the ball out of trouble is really useful. I wouldn't go as far as to say he's a playmaker, but he's good enough to keep you out of trouble in the defence and could probably even do a job at CDM if absolutely needed.
I wouldn't say he's a physical powerhouse, but Halstenberg definitely lives up to his stats. With Anchor, he gets to 90 strength which I can absolutely feel in-game. He can bully weaker players off the ball and hold up the stronger ones, putting them under pressure or halting their charge. He won't be brushing aside the strongest in the game, but will certainly do a good job at buying you some time. His jumping feels great, I never noticed it being an issue when defending long-balls. 85 Stamina is plenty for a CB, and means you can press a bit more if needed. His aggression (83 with Anchor) feels perfect too. He's not too aggressive to where he charges in and gives away fouls, but isn't too passive to where he'll stand off and invite pressure. He could be a little better against the powerhouses of the game, but against everyone else, he's great.
In summary, Halstenberg is an amazing early-game CB. He has the defensive ability to stop the majority of the meta players you'll come up against and the physical to deal with or halt players too. He's not exactly slow either, especially with chemistry styles aiding him. He's well-rounded too, his dribbling and passing being strings to his bow which are nice to have, if not essential. All of this makes Halstenberg a player I'd 100% recommend, especially at his extremely low price. I imagine he'll eventually get outclassed once promo after promo starts releasing, but for this early game, he's as good a CB as you can get.
69 base pace is totally fine, if unspectacular
Excellent all-round defending, doesn't constantly give away fouls
Great physically, can bully the weaker agile players without difficulty
All-roundedness makes him great when playing under pressure
Interceptions could be better
Can sometimes struggle with extremely strong players
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