The opening of the summer transfer window is less than two weeks away but Bundesliga clubs are already busy planning for the coming season. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have and will take up most of the headlines but several other clubs have already made some shrewd acquisitions to bolster their squads. Here are some that have gone quietly under the radar but may prove to be some of the best moves made.
Felix Klaus to SC Freiburg (€1.3m)
It wasn’t a great season from Greuther Fürth by any means but that’s not to say that some of their players didn’t impress during their disappointing campaign. Felix Klaus, whose father (Fred Klaus) was an accomplished Bundesliga player himself, was amongst Fürth’s standout players last season. He will probably be most remembered for scoring the club’s first ever Bundesliga goal on matchday 2 in their win over Mainz but he was also one of their better performers across the entire season.
After struggling with injuries initially in the first half of the season, the 20-year-old right midfielder put in some of the team’s most consistent performances towards the end of the season. With Freiburg losing essentially their entire attacking core, reinforcements were badly needed, and in Klaus, Christian Streich will have a young player to mold who will only improve over time and be able to deputize for Jonathan Schmid on the right. Klaus, who has been a Germany international at various levels, has a strong work ethic and a good right foot that should suit Freiburg’s play well.
Hajime Hosogai to Hertha Berlin (€1m)
Versatility is the name of the game and few players are more tactically flexible than Hosogai. He may have started only nine times for Bayer Leverkusen last season but was deployed in five different positions and gave a good account of himself every time. He is now competing at the Confederations Cup in Brazil with the Japanese national team but when he gets back he’ll be training with the promoted Hertha Berlin for the upcoming season.
Hertha, whose lack of depth was a major reason for their struggles and eventual relegation last time around, have been very active in bolstering their squad. Hosogai will probably slot in alongside Niemeyer in central midfield and back up the fullback positions when needed. Tenacious, quick on the ball and in thought, Hosogai will bring some much needed urgency in Hertha’s attempt to become a Bundesliga regular again.
Cedric Makiadi to Werder Bremen (€3m)
This transfer came out of the blue and it may have been the biggest blow amidst Freiburg’s exodus of players. Makiadi was the heart of Freiburg’s high spirited dynamic side last season and very much a leadership figure in an otherwise inexperienced and young team. The 29-year-old central midfielder played 129 games for Freiburg since 2009 and has arguably been their best player in that timeframe.
After a disappointing couple of years, Bremen are now rebuilding under new coach Robin Dutt and are adding some much needed brains and brawns in midfield. Makiadi has the engine to drive a team forward through the middle but also the patience and vision to dictate the tempo of the game. Bremen have lacked a strong presence in central midfield since the departure of Thorsten Frings and in Makiadi they may well have found a worthy successor.
Max Grün to Wolfsburg (€400,00)
With so many talented goalkeepers emerging in German football every year, it is becoming harder and harder to stand out for inexperienced players. On top that, being part of a historically underperforming side only makes that harder. Yet Grün proved last year that you can impress in spite of facing more shots and pressure than any other team in the league. In his 17 appearances last season, Grün proved that he can perform at the highest level despite having played in the lower leagues for much of his career.
Diego Benaglio has been one of the league’s longest serving No. 1’s and with Grün joining them this summer, Dieter Hecking will create an atmosphere of competition and add neccessary squad depth at the same time.
Daniel Ginczek to Nürnberg (€1.5m)
With Nürnberg’s striker woes, this could well prove to be one of the best moves for any team in the league. Ginczek, a Borussia Dortmund player out on loan at St. Pauli last season, scored 18 times in 31 matches last season in the 2. Bundesliga. The 22-year-old striker was linked to several clubs throughout the season and few teams in the league were in need of a striker more than Nürnberg.
Only three teams scored fewer goals than Nürnberg last year. Even worse, their top goalscorer in the league last year was defender Per Nilsson which says it all. Nürnberg will have to improve in all areas of their game to get the most out of their attack but having a player like Ginczek on board, who is really hitting his stride and coming into his own, will only help their cause.
Julian Koch to Mainz (€600,000)
Another Borussia Dortmund youth product, Julian Koch impressed in his loan spell in the 2. Bundesliga with MSV Duisburg. The club’s worrying financial situation and erratic performances made it impossible to hold on to the player and Thomas Tuchel recognized Koch’s talents and immediately pounced. Koch bounced back from a serious injury early in the season to become first choice in Duisburg’s midfield for the remainder of the season. He is equally capable of playing in the center of defense as well as at right back.
For Mainz, this is a much needed addition to the league’s oldest team on average. With Noveski, Svensson, Pospech on the wrong side of 30 and Kirchhoff departing to Bayern Munich, Koch will fill several roles and few coaches rotate more often than Tuchel.
Header courtesy of dpa
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