With the winter break upon us it seems a good time to reflect upon an intriguing Hinrunde and take a look at how some of the Bundesliga summer signings have been getting on. Some have been an outright success, while others have flopped big time thus far. Here at the Fanatic we bring you best and the worst summer signings…
The Five Best
Franck who? The prolonged absence of French wide-man Franck Ribéry has been more than compensated by the acquisition of Brazilian Douglas Costa from Shakhtar Donetsk. He showed great promise in pre-season and has just got better and better as the season has progressed.
Costa scored on his Bundesliga debut against Hamburg on match day one and has gone on to contribute twelve assists so far this season. His pace, directness and delivery has been like manna from heaven for both Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller.
Goal scorers are there to score goals and Bayer Leverkusen’s Mexican signing from Manchester United has done that in spades. Chicharito needed no time at all to settle in the Bundesliga and has simply set about banging in the goals with regularity.
Eleven in just 14 games has seen him already become the highest scoring Mexican player in Bundesliga history and has helped keep the Werkself in touching distance of a Champions League berth. His hat trick in the 5-0 demolition of Borussia Mönchengladbach was a high point, as were his five goals in the Champions League.
His signing from 1860 Munich for a mere €2.5 million was hardly the most headline-grabbing move of the summer transfer window, but Weigl’s performances in the Hinrunde have shown just what a shrewd piece of business it was from Borussia Dortmund.
Many observers would have expected him to be given a purely back-up role, but new BVB trainer Thomas Tuchel had no qualms about throwing the youngster in at the deep end and the 20-year-old has proved him right.
Showing maturity beyond his years Weigl has become a fixture anchoring the Dortmund midfield and has been a revelation and one of the best players in the league so far.
Another to move to a bigger club and shine has been Jonathan Tah. His 7.5 million transfer from Hamburg in the summer looks like yet another excellent piece of business from Bayer Leverkusen. The 19-year-old has been an ever-present in the Werkself back four and has been earning rave reviews for his solid performances.
His promise was clear at Hamburg, but he is now taking his game to the next level. An U-21 international already, if he continues to develop at this rate, it won’t be long before Joachim Löw starts to ponder a full international call-up.
Freiburg’s loss has been Hertha Berlin’s gain following the transfer of Czech midfielder Vladimir Darida in the summer transfer window. The Breisgauer’s relegation meant that their better players were always going to be picked off and this season Darida has proved that the Bundesliga is definitely where he belongs.
He has been an integral part in the Old Lady’s surprising Hinrunde with some superb stats to show for himself. He has become the heart and lungs of the side and that is no idle cliché. The stats show that no other Bundesliga player has covered as much ground as the 25-year-old. He’s run a total of 217.76km in 17 matches averaging out at 12.8km per game adding three goals and two assists in the process.
The Five Worst
Unlike Chicharito at Leverkusen, there are goal scorers who have failed to live up to their title this season and former German international Kevin Kuranyi is one of those. On ending his spell in the Russian Premier League, veteran Kuranyi was looking for a Bundesliga club to give him a chance and Hoffenheim duly obliged hoping he could go some way to replacing the goals of the departed Roberto Firmino. He hasn’t. Not a single goal registered in eleven appearances and the Sinsheim club find themselves bottom of the table.
The glory days when Josip Drmic banged in 17 goals in 34 games for Nürnberg seem a long time ago. His move from Bayer Leverkusen to Borussia Mönchengladbach was supposed to provide a fresh start for the striker to rediscover his form, but thus far he has been a bit part player at the Borussia Park and the goals haven’t materialised when he’s been given a chance.
His one goal came against Hoffenheim, but you can’t get away from the accusation that the Swiss forward hasn’t convinced with the Foals and that he is suffering a crisis of confidence.
Franco Di Santo
Werder Bremen fans were left a little shocked and numb when their star Argentine striker took up the option of a €6 million clause in his contract to jump ship and switch to Schalke on the eve of the new season, but looking at his current goals output (one) the Grün-Weißen fans are probably thinking they got a good deal.
He was free-scoring last season, but his goal touch seems to have completely abandoned him at the Veltins Arena, although he did tally five goals in Europa League group stage play, a total only exceeded by FC Augsburg’s Raul Bobadilla and Aritz Aduriz of Athletic Bilbao (who each had six). Still, the respected player ratings from German publication Kicker have him as Schalke’s worst player by a long way and it’s hard to argue against that.
Missing a penalty on his Bundesliga debut wasn’t the ideal start for Turkish striker Mevlut Erdinc following his summer move from St.Etienne. Had that gone in, the pressure would have been off him slightly, but as it is Hannover fans must be beginning to wonder just what they got for the €3.5 million they paid for him.
The Niedersachsen club are spending Christmas in the bottom two without a trainer. It is going to take some performance in the Rückrunde to turn things around, but it already looks bleak for Erdinc, who appears to falling down the pecking order in the striking department.
VfB Stuttgart’s Polish goalkeeping summer signing has not provided the seamless transition following Sven Ulreich’s defection to Bayern Munich that was hoped for following his €1 million move from PSV Eindhoven.
His home debut on match day 1 saw him concede a penalty to hand Köln an opener in what had been a close game (they ultimately lost 3-1). His second home game saw him sent-off for conceding another penalty against Eintracht Frankfurt. It hasn’t helped that he has stood behind the league’s worst defence, but he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory either having conceded 29 goals.
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