With the World Cup done and dusted and with slightly more than three weeks before the new Bundesliga season kicks off, each of the 18 top tier clubs have been hard at work looking to boost their squads.
To catch you up, here is an outline of what clubs and their fans can expect from each club’s biggest summer capture so far:
Bayern Munich – Robert Lewandowski:
After picking up the top scorer cannon last season with Dortmund, Lewandowski is the latest superstar to arrive in Munich. The Pole could well be the true striker that Guardiola needs, boasting of brilliant link up play, dynamism, and a poacher’s instinct. As Lewandowski follows in the footsteps of Mario Gomez and Mandzukic, expectations will be high for the Pole’s first season in Munich. However, considering his pre-season form, Lewa only seems to get better. A solid season in Munich could well see him scoop up a couple more titles plus the top scorer award again – not at all an unrealistic target for the striker.
Borussia Dortmund – Ciro Immobile:
The Serie-A top scorer has the seemingly impossible task of filling the Lewandowski-shaped hole in Dortmund this season. His delicious linkup with Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan in the preseason shows what he is capable of, despite being more of a true #9 as compared to his supremely-rounded Polish predecessor. Once he is acclimatized to the German game, which could admittedly take a while, the former Torino man could well be among the forerunners for the top scorer award this season.
Schalke 04 – Sidney Sam:
With Jefferson Farfan out injured until December, Sam could well nail down his spot on the right of a dynamic Schalke midfield. After a great season for Leverkusen, the speedy winger could help the Gelsenkirchen outfit to be among the title contenders. Additionally, with the youngsters Goretzka, Clemens, and Avdijaj breathing down his neck, his experience will be needed as Schalke make a strong push for the title this year.
Vfl Wolfsburg – Sebastian Jung:
With a move to England seemingly in his sights, the former Frankfurt man surprised everyone by choosing Wolfsburg instead. Yet this move is a very sensible decision, considering the injuries to VfL’s Patrick Ochs and Christian Trasch, Jung will be a sure starter for the Wolves this season. Possessing world-class awareness and incredible attacking acumen for a fullback, you can expect Jung to mature into one of the best performers in the Bundesliga this year, given that Joachim Low will be eyeing him a possible replacement on die Mannschaft to the (now retired) Philipp Lahm.
Bayer Leverkusen – Hakan Çalhanoğlu:
Leaving Hamburg for Leverkusen, the youngster made a wise choice by choosing to develop his career domestically as opposed to jumping to a bigger European giant.
Tactical questions still remain about where he will fit into Leverkusne’s customary 4-3-3, as Castro, Rolfes and Bender already occupy the midfield. He could start from the bench, as a #10, however, or even as a winger. Either way, Leverkusen would be wise to hold onto him. The Turkish lad could well be on his way to stardom, but first must establish himself as a mature player at Leverkusen.
Borussia Mönchengladbach – Andre Hahn:
Andre Hahn, Thorgan Hazard, Patrick Herrmann, Ibrahima Traore, Branimir Hrgota, and even the versatile Granit Xhaka are vying for only two spots on the wing for Gladbach this year. Considering this competition, Andre Hahn needs to up his game to the next level to be a starter for Gladbach.
Hahn’s path into Gladbach’s lineup won’t be easy given the stiff competition for a starting spot. Moreover, the question remains: was he just a one season wonder at FC Augsburg, or can he play himself onto a competitive Europe-bound squad, and maybe even onto the national team?
Hoffenheim – Oliver Baumann:
Among the goalkeeping talents that Germany possess, Baumann has his sights set on the national team. In all honesty, however, he didn’t have a great season with Freiburg last year, so he will be eager to make amends. Now, with as he replaces Koen Casteels, a new-look Baumann can be expected.
Baumann’s solidity will be a major factor in the push for a European slot for Hoffenheim this season, who already can boast a great all-round squad.
Hannover 96 – Hiroshi Kiyotake:
After a disappointing World Cup, Hiroshi Kiyotake is looking to make amends by moving from relegated 1.FC Nürnburg to Hannover 96. His task is by no means an easy one in replacing the Hungarian star Szablcs Huszti. Apart from his beautiful long-range goals, the Japanese international’s creativity and dynamism on the ground will certainly add a new dimension to the Hannover attack. Expect him to be a constant starter for the Saxony club.
Hamburger SV – Pierre-Michel Lasogga:
Although Lasogga doesn’t technically qualify as a new summer signing, Hamburg will be more than willing to consider him one. One of few bright sparks in a shocking Hamburg season, Lasogga hopes to build on his goal scoring record with the northern club. Among a now rare breed of German strikers, Lasogga is a strong runner both on and off the ball and doesn’t lack the confidence to go for goal at the slightest opening. Many eyes, including Joachim Löw’s will be on him this season, but will he succumb to pressure or prove to be the next great German striker?
FSV Mainz 05 – Stefanos Kapino:
The wild card of this list, Kapino was the third choice goalkeeper for Greece in Brazil. With the departure of Heinz Muller and Christian Wetklo, Kapino could be the competition that Karius needs at Mainz. The big youngster has been heralded as a goalkeeping great by the Greek media and an intermediate step at Mainz could prove to be a wise decision. With Mainz participating in Europe as well, the perfect stage to gain experience has been set for both Karius and Kapino.
Hertha BSC – Valentin Stocker:
Hertha Berlin have struck one of the best deals in the Bundesliga, by capturing the Swiss midfielder for only 5 million Euros. Regarded as one of Switzerland’s best players, Stocker is an experienced player having notched up over 150 appearances for FC Basel. Despite a poor World Cup, Stocker could use Berlin to build the confidence he needs to bring his game to the next level. The Swiss player could well be the difference for Hertha between yet another mid table finish, or a push for the Europa league.
Werder Bremen – Izet Hajrović:
After losing important players like Özil, Diego, Marin, Wiese, and recently, Aaron Hunt over the last few seasons, Izet Hajrović could be the bright star that Werder Bremen can rebuild around. Glimpses of his brilliant dribbling and pace were on show at the World Cup where an unfortunate early exit ended his stint. A natural wide player, he is capable of great trickery and can attack through the middle as well.
Eintracht Frankfurt – Makoto Hasebe:
With Pirmin Schwegler choosing a move to Hoffenheim, Frankfurt signed the experienced Japanese captain to replace their departed skipper. Capable of playing anywhere on the field, Hasebe’s endurance and great reading of the game will be most utilized when he is deployed as a defensive midfielder. The onetime Bundesliga winner looked off the pace in Brazil for Japan this year, but a good rest could reignite him. Again, considering his age and injury woes, don’t expect the magical, but instead expect a solid leader.
SC Freiburg – Admir Mehmedi:
Like HSV’s Lasogga, Mehmedi is not – strictly speaking – a new summer signing as the Swiss international enjoyed a year-long loan spell from Dynamo Kiev. The agile center forward notched up 12 goals while playing as a #9 for Freiburg last season. But the great goal scoring burden might pile up on him, especially with no other good striker on the squad.
FC Augsburg – Tim Matavž:
Considering last season’s great run, FC Augsburg look to competing for a place in the Europa league by making great additions to their attack. Already boasting Mölders, Altintop and Bobadilla, the club has signed Tim Matavž from PSV. Having always been a consistent goal scorer for PSV and Groningen, the #9 is expected to carry this on trait in Germany. The striker may find it tough to break into the first team initially, but as the season progresses, the Slovenian could help his team fight for a place in Europe.
VFB Stuttgart – Daniel Ginczek:
Like Hamburg, Stuttgart will be eager to put last season’s disappointments behind them before the new season starts. Despite having proven players like Ibisevic, the Stuttgart attack has oftentimes looked toothless in recent matches. To avoid this problem, VfB have signed former Dortmund man Daniel Ginczek. The strong German has enjoyed successful loan spells at St. Pauli and Bochum, before moving to Nürnberg last year, where after some initial success, his season was cut short because of an injury. In Stuttgart, he will mostly be used from the bench, from where he can use his pace and strength to break down tiring defences. An intended backup to Ibišević he may be, but a few good games from Ginczek will surely make the Bosnian sweat.
FC Koln – Yuya Osako:
During the World Cup, Yuya Osako turned a few heads for not only being a part of the Japanese squad, but also leading the line for Japan against Cote d’Ivoire. Given Japan’s disappointing campaign, however, the 2011 J-league player of the year, could not silence his critics. Now, having moved to Köln from 1860 Munich, he will be ready to up his game. The agile Japanese can be used as a center forward as well as an out-and-out striker. One obvious weakness is his lack of physicality, but his change of pace and trickery can be just as effective. FC Köln might not rely on him for being the difference maker, but who knows?
SC Paderborn – Marvin Ducksch:
The Bundesliga’s new boys have landed a prized youngster in their squad in the form of Dortmund-loanee Marvin Ducksch. The 20-year-old attacking player managed a couple of appearances for his parent side last season, but has not made a consistent breakthrough to the senior team as yet. A good season at Paderborn could see him improve his confidence and maturity as a player. He has been a consistent goal scorer for the Dortmund reserves though, and his versatility could be an asset for the newcomers this season. Regardless of whether he has helped the new club to avoid the drop next season, the experience he gains will be career defining.
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