Nearly one-third of the Bundesliga season has been played. Teams like Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach have tried to shake up things on the transfer market in order to upset the natural balance of a top four which hasn’t been changing an awful lot over recent seasons. Meanwhile, newly promoted sides Köln and Paderborn have tried to find bargains to strengthen their first team along with their chances of staying in the league.
Which players have made the biggest impact since arriving at a new club thus far? Here are the ten best signings of the summer transfer window going by the first 11 match days of the Bundesliga.
1. Xabi Alonso (FC Bayern München) – With 1095 passes in 10 matches and a pass-completion rate of 90%, the Spaniard has shown that he has been worth every penny spent to bring him to Säbener Strasse. Alonso has been the key player in Bayern’s midfield, spreading the ball around and dictating the rhythm of the matches. He has been simply a delight to watch and represents money well spent by the Bavarians.
2. Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) – Fans of die Werkself can tell how average their set-piece delivery was last season. Since the controversial transfer of Calhanoglu from HSV to Bayer, this has changed for the better. These days, danger looms every time Bayer is awarded a free kick. Furthermore, the Turk has also provided Roger Schmidt’s team some creativity up front, as Calhanoglu has scored twice and assisted on two goals while setting up a staggering total of 69 shots.
3. Moritz Stoppelkamp (SC Paderborn 07) – Once seemingly forgotten, Stoppelkamp is a player who seemingly was set to spend the rest of his career in the second tier of German football. The midfielder competed in 44 matches between 2010 and 2012 for Hannover 96, never actually leaving fans with the impression that he had what it took to be a star performer in the Bundesliga. Paderborn took their chances and dished out 700,000 € for Stoppelkamp, who has been a revelation this season, even without overvaluing the goal he scored from 83 meters!
4. André Hahn (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – The ridiculously low price tag of 2.5 million Euros for a player of such quality alone would make Hahn a natural choice for this list. However, the former Augsburg man has also been performing on the pitch for the Foals. These days, Gladbach have added both Hahn and Traore to their arsenal of attacking weapons, making them even more unpredictable than last season. Hahn has been the stand-out signing in attack, though, scoring three goals and assisting his teammates on one (in addition to setting up 40 shots).
5. Yann Sommer (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – “We lost one of the best keepers in the world, maybe even the keeper with the best footwork,” Håvard Nordtveit told Talking Fussball about the departure of Marc Andre ter Stegen. However, after eleven match days there is little talk about how badly the Foals are missing the current Barca player, simply due to the fact that Sommer has been fantastic as a replacement. The Swiss keeper has conceded just six goals and has kept five clean sheets. His save-to-shot ratio is at an impressive 88%, and he has pulled of six vital saves, according to the stats provided by Opta.
6. Hiroshi Kiyotake (Hannover 96) – The 96’ers are currently in the top four of the league and their new signings have had a great impact on their upswing in form this season. Kiyotake has provided great set-piece delivery as well as a bit of a creative spark. The Japanese forward has, so far, set up 31 shots, shot another 13 times himself, and in the process has scored two goals and assisted another. He may not have had the best start to the season, but Kiyotake slowly has developed into a vital asset for the team from Lower Saxony.
7. Roman Bürki (SC Freiburg) – Losing the team captain and one of the best keepers in Germany must have been a heavy blow for Christian Streich and the Breisgau Brazilians. Their new man between the sticks, however, has done well since arriving to the Breisgau. Bürki has saved 42 shots and kept four clean sheets, making him one of the surprises of the season. Once again, Freiburg have managed to replace a player who made his name at the club with another player with upside and quality.
8. Kevin Vogt (1. FC Köln) – The 23-year-old may not be the most glamorous player on the pitch, but he gets the job done. So far this season, the holding midfielder has managed to get booked four times while fouling opponents on 13 occasions. Vogt has been brilliant at hindering the Billy Goats’ opponents from starting attacks and has been vital going forward as well, setting up an impressive 14 shots and getting the all-important goal in the team’s first home win of the season against Borussia Dortmund.
9. Fin Bartels (SV Werder Bremen) – The former St. Pauli and Hansa Rostock player comes with a bit of a reputation: Both teams he has played for in the Bundesliga were relegated. Should the Green-and-Whites face the drop at the end of the season, it won’t be for a lack of effort by Bartels. The midfielder has truly run his socks off, providing a bit of a spark of creativity to the Werder midfield and attack. Two goals and two assists in ten matches isn’t half bad, given how Werder have been playing this season.
10. Oliver Baumann (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) – The fact that Hoffeheim spent some money on their defense and a new keeper during the summer transfer window comes as no surprise given that Markus Gisdol’s team ended up shipping 70 goals last season, only keeping three clean sheets in 34 matches. Along with the play of Ermin Bicakcic, Baumann has brought some much needed stability behind the back four. Hoffenheim have already kept four clean sheets this season, mostly due to the improvements made to the team during the last transfer window.
Did we leave out a player who you think should have been on the list? Tell us in the comment section below.
*The author is one of the contributors to the football podcast Talking Fussball.