From Bundesliga to Premier League: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The English Premier League is once more flexing its financial muscle and buying up some of the Bundesliga’s best talent. Roberto Firmino led the way after his €41 million move to Liverpool, and Bastian Schweinsteiger has followed suit.

The German top flight has also lost Kevin Wimmer, Joselu, Shinji Okazaki and Sebastian Prödl in recent weeks, while speculation is rife over other potential targets.

This transfer season, however, is not a new development, since over the years there has been a steady stream of players making the move from the Bundesliga to the Premier League.

Naturally, some of these were a big hit, some were average at best, while others proved to be real stinkers.

So let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of moves from the Bundesliga to the Premier League.

The Good

Dietmar Hamann

Hamann spent 13 years in England (longer than in Germany) with Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester City amongst others amassing over 250 appearances and winning two FA Cups, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup as well as the Champions League in 2005. He also scored the Premier League ‘Goal of the Season’ in 2004.

Speaking in English now, his accent is more than tinged with a Geordie/ Scouse accent. Born in Germany, but made in England.

Michael Ballack

A four-time champion in the Bundesliga with Bayern and Kaiserslautern and the driving force behind the German national team, Ballack further enhanced his reputation while at Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho earmarked the German for a key role in his midfield and while at Stamford Bridge Ballack won three FA Cups, the Premier League in 2010, and was unlucky to finish on the losing side in the 2008 Champions League final.

Jens Lehmann

The oft-controversial goalkeeper was part of the famous ‘Arsenal Invincibles’ that went through the entire 2003/04 season unbeaten. He notched up 149 appearances for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners and won a Premier League title, an FA Cup, but unfortunately lost out to Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final.

Such was the esteem he was held in at Arsenal that he came out of retirement for one final game in the 2010/11 season to cover an injury crisis at the Emirates Stadium playing once.

Vincent Kompany

Since his move from Hamburg in 2008 the Belgian central defender has fulfilled his potential and become one of the top defenders in European football. He captained the Citizens to their long-awaited title win in 2012 and is a regular in the Premier League Team of the Season.

With the millions available to City via their Arab owners, Kompany remains the first-choice at the back and the cornerstone of their defence.

The Bad

Jerome Boateng

Boateng may now be a key member of the Bayern Munich and German international defence and a World Cup winner, but his time in the Premier League with Manchester City didn’t give an indication of what he would go on to achieve.

Signed for £10.4 million from Hamburg in 2010, he failed to settle in England playing just 16 times for City before Bayern ended his misery and got his career back on track.

Shinji Kagawa

The Japanese midfielder was one of the most sought-after properties in Europe back in 2012 when Manchester United succeeded in prising him away from Borussia Dortmund. The darling of the Signal-Iduna Park however struggled to make his mark at Old Trafford and after two average seasons, he returned to his beloved BVB.

Lukas Podolski

Things just didn’t work out for Lukas Podolski at Arsenal, and like in Germany, he was largely unable to rediscover his international goal scoring form at club level. There will be a few Gunners fans out there, who have a soft spot for Poldi, but it is hard to argue a case that he was a success in England. There always seemed to be someone ahead of him in the pecking order and wingers were often converted to strikers rather than give Podolski the nod.

Lewis Holtby

Holtby’s transfer to Tottenham had all the potential to be quite a shrewd piece of business on the part of the London club, but the young midfielder’s career never really took off at White Hart Lane and he failed to make an impact in the Premier League.
A spell with Fulham also failed to get the very best out of Holtby’s talent and a return to Germany followed in 2014 and he is now trying to reignite his career at Hamburg.


The Ugly


Sean Dundee

The name of Sean Dundee is still famous in Liverpool, but for the wrong reasons. In an era when the Merseyside giants seemed to make a habit of making the wrong choices in the transfer market, the signing of South African Dundee from Karlsruhe has gone down as possibly one of their worst.

He was unfortunate that a certain Michael Owen came to the fore as he arrived, but he failed to impress making just three appearances and failing to register a single goal.

Khalid Boulahrouz

The Dutch defender was a beast while at Hamburg but never had the same impact while at Chelsea. With John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho ahead of him in the pecking order, some high-profile blunders didn’t help his cause. He played just 13 times in two years. Still, he’s done alright for himself with the Feyenoord defender now dating Miss Netherlands 2014 Yasmin Verheijen

Andrei Voronin

Liverpool once again were the recipients of yet another dud from the Bundesliga when they signed Ukrainian Andrei Voronin from Hertha Berlin expecting goals. The pony-tailed one a regular scorer in German football, but was not even a spark at Anfield in his one season bagging just six goals in all competitions before being loaned out to Hertha Berlin.

Marko Marin

Remember him? Dubbed the ‘German Messi’ during his time in the Bundesliga with Werder and Borussia Mönchengladbach, it was a case of the ‘German mess’ as he failed to handle his time in the Premier League with Chelsea.

Injuries played their part, but Marin to Chelsea was clearly a case of the hype being bigger than the reality and he since then he’s gone through a series of loans (Sevilla, Fiorentina, Anderlecht) to try and find his form once again.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.