Five Bundesliga Players who Are Facing a Critical Season in 2016/17

Now that the Bundesliga season is finally upon us, we can look back on all that happened in this summer’s international tournaments and transfer window to see what teams and players look ready for the grind that is the Bundesliga season. From new look teams to players donning new shirts, the upcoming season is important for a lot of the teams that spent money this summer. But besides the teams, there are plenty of players who need to step up this term for a variety of reasons. Either their club future or international future might be on the line, and since this is the case, a lot of players, especially the five listed, have a critical season upcoming.

Kevin Volland, Bayer Leverkusen: The German striker struggled during parts of last season at Hoffenheim, and he soon lost his international place as a result. Things did turn around once Julian Nagelsmann took over as manager, but nonetheless Volland would’ve hoped for more goals than the meager eight he scored. After his breakout season a few years ago which saw Volland net 11 times, his career has stalled and now he faces a make or break season. The move to Leverkusen makes a lot of sense for Volland, being surrounded by quality teammates Bellarabi, Brandt and Chicharito and a quality coach in Roger Schmidt should help him. Volland has a chance to show everyone why Joachim Loew called him up and why he was one of the stars during the U-21 European Championship. But if the German fails to get back to that 11 goal form at Bayer, his international career might be in the rearview mirror.

Mario Götze, Borussia Dortmund: Götze’s rise at Dortmund and subsequent fall at Bayern Munich has been well publicized. The once dubbed “German Messi” is now looking to revive his career after becoming a fringe player at Bayern. Since this is the case, Götze needs to show signs of light with Dortmund this season with all of the depth in the squad. If he can return to his old form, he’ll become one of the biggest stars in the sport once again, and he could become a hero with BvB fans just like he used to be. A return to his old form would help Dortmund compete for trophies and Götze’s international career. But if he can’t makes an impression at Dortmund this season he might become a fringe player just like he was at Bayern. With all of Dortmund’s depth and ambition, the 24 year-old needs to prove himself from the get go. If he can’t, his future wouldn’t look very promising and his next move would likely be at a club that is a step down from Dortmund or Bayern. But Dortmund is a good fit for Gotze with their attacking style, and the World Cup hero certainly has the ingredients to get his career back on track.

Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich: We all know how good the Dutchman is a his very best with his outstanding pace and rocket left foot. But Robben’s inability to stay consistently fit last season hurt his form, and also gave us a glimpse of Bayern without him. The club’s younger wingers, Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa, performed at extremely high levels every matchday, which left some people wondering how much Bayern really needed the Dutchman’s contribution. If Robben, 32, can’t stay fit once again, the 20-year-old Coman (currently sidelined with injury) might finally take his spot in the team if he plays like he did last season. The form of Coman last season showed that he is capable of playing at the level of a player like Robben, which makes this a very possible scenario if Robben’s injuries persist. Also if that ends up being the case, Robben’s career with Bayern might not last all that much longer. On the other hand, if Robben can stay fit enough and provide Bundesliga fans with some of the moments he has in the past, he’ll not only keep his spot in the team but remain a key player for the Bavarians going forward.

Patrick Herrmann,  Borussia Mönchengladbach: After an outstanding 2014-15 season which saw Herrmann bag 11 goals and an international cap, the German didn’t have as much luck last term. He picked up a long-term injury and wasn’t in his best form before that either. Herrmann only ended up making 12 appearances and failed to establish himself asolski’s international retirement he might be able to regain a place with the national team. With Gladbach hoping to finish in the top four once again this season, Herrmann regaining form would be a great addition to a side that has a lot of quality attackers. And some g a first team player under Andre Schubert. If Herrmann struggles to get into the team again, he might seek new pastures and end his career with the Foals at only 25. If the German can find his old form and become a key player under Schubert, then with Lukas Podood Champions League showings would help his future as well.

Gladbach's Patrick Herrmann
Gladbach’s Patrick Herrmann

Alen Halilović, Hamburger SV: The red-shorts acquisition of the former Barca man is one of the many reasons why there is a lot of optimism in Hamburg this season. The Croatian is one of the world’s most talented young players who—like many do—failed to get into the Barca team. But now he has a chance once again to prove himself, and based on his form with Sporting Gijon last season he’ll be a welcome addition to Hamburg’s squad. But if Halilović fails to get into the Hamburg team or fails to prove his worth while donning the blue shirt, he likely won’t return to Barca and after being left off of the Croatia Euro quad his international career might stall as well. If Halilović, 20, can establish himself as a key player at Hamburg, he can boost his very promising international career with Croatia sooner rather than later. He can also get a move back to Barca due to the 10 million buyback he has. With his talent and track record, he could be a slam dunk signing for HSV who might become a breakout star if everything goes right this term.

For all of these five players, the upcoming season is one that has a lot on the line for them for many reasons. Revitalizing international careers, becoming first team players again or becoming world stars once again are what faces these players this season. All of the names above have the quality necessary to have great seasons, which makes them all players most fans should want to see this season. Having so many players have so much depending on this season just makes it even that more exciting for Bundesliga fans to watch.

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Alex Lynch

Alex a passionate fan of the Bundesliga and German Football who resides in the United States, who also loves writing and talking about the Bundesliga.

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