So the summer transfer window slammed shut last Wednesday and a number of quality players were added to Bundesliga squad’s around Germany. Some controversial moves and some surprising ones as well.
The Bundesliga is fast developing into one of the very best league’s in Europe and players are flocking there from all corners of the globe. Last year’s champions Bayern Munich already set the pace on the opening weekend with a 6-0 victory over Werder Bremen. With a host of new additions at Borussia Dortmund, can they finally knock their great rivals off the top of German football?
1. Mats Hummels-Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich-€38 million
One of the most controversial moves of the summer was the transfer of Mats Hummels from Dortmund to Bayern. The German international returned to the Allianz Arena after seven successful years at Dortmund where he helped them win two Bundesliga titles and the Pokal in 2012.
The move had been looming for a couple of years and Hummels declared his intention to leave towards the back end of last season which angered many of the Dortmund faithful. Bayern have struggled in recent seasons to find a regular partner for Jerome Boateng in the heart of defense with Javi Martinez and David Alaba often playing out of position. Hummels arrival should sure up their back line especially when they get to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
2. Ousmane Dembele-Rennes to Borussia Dortmund-€14 million
At the age of 19 years old, Dembele is a star for the future. Although looking at his first couple of games for Dortmund he could well be a star for the here and now. Many of Europe’s top clubs including Liverpool and Tottenham were very keen to sign Dembele but Dortmund beat them all to the signing of last season’s Ligue 1 Young Players of the Year.
Dembele scored 12 goals in 26 appearances last season for Rennes and attracted plenty of admirers. His performances last season and his first league game this year against Mainz for Dortmund led to him being called up to the France squad and he made his debut last week against Italy. At €15million Dembele looks a steal.
3. Kevin Volland-Hoffenheim to Bayer Leverkusen-€20 million
Bayer Leverkusen could well be the dark horses for the Bundesliga title this year. Manager Roger Schmidt is assembling a very good squad and the addition of attacking midfielder Volland is another positive step. Volland follows Roberto Firmino out of Hoffenheim which means the club have lost their two best players from two years ago when they finished an impressive eighth place in the league.
Leverkusen are getting a very good young player in Volland who will suit their counter-attacking style of football. He scored eight goals in a struggling Hoffenheim side last season and more will be expected of him this year. Champions League football will give Volland even more experience and he will hope to force his way into Joachim Low’s Germany squad on a permanent basis.
4. Mario Gomez-Fiorentina to Wolfsburg-Undisclosed
After a three-year absence from German football, Gomez returns to the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg. The former Stuttgart and Bayern Munich forward brings plenty of experience to The Wolves who will be hoping to break into the top for after a disastrous season last year.
The 68-cap German international was in scintillating form on-loan at Besiktas last season where he scored 26 goals in 33 league games helping them win the Turkish Super-Lig. Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking will hope that Gomez will slot in and take over the goal scoring duties of Bas Dost who has joined Sporting Clube de Portugal.
5. Sandro Wagner-Darmstadt to Hoffenheim-€2.8 million
England fans may well remember Wagner as the striker who destroyed their team in the final of the 2009 European Under-21 Championships. Wagner scored two that day in a 4-0 win but his career has not prospered as many once thought it might.
Many of the side which beat England have gone on to great success, especially with the national team. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira and Mats Hummels all played in that final and progressed to win the World Cup in 2014 whilst Wagner that same year was struggling to get in the team at Hertha Berlin. 14 Bundesliga goals last term paved the way to Hoffenheim and Wagner could agains start to show the potential his showed early in his career.
6. Mario Gotze-Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund-€26 million
As one Dortmund favorite leaves for Bayern, another returns in the shape of Gotze. The former Dortmund idol broke fans hearts in 2013 when he joined their arch-rivals but struggled to hold down a place at the Allianz Arena due to poor form and a bad injury record.
A return to Dortmund will hopefully revive the 24-year old’s career and get him back to showing what an immense talent he can be. With the Dortmund fans, Gotze is going to have to work hard to earn their respect again. He angered many with his move to Bayern and only performing well on the pitch will get him back into their good books.
7. Renato Sanches-Benfica to Bayern Munich-€35 million
Little was known about Renato Sanches when Bayern paid €35 million for the then 18-year old in May but after Euro 2016 everyone knew all about the talented midfielder. During the competition, he became the youngest player to appear and then score for Portugal in an international tournament. He also started in the final, which Portugal won and was named the Young Player of the Tournament.
Bayern have no shortage of world class midfielders but Sanches brings the team something a little different. He is a smart, physical and powerful player who is not afraid to drive at the opposition defense. Carlo Ancelotti will have to work out the best position for him, but there is no doubt that Bayern have signed one of world football’s brightest young stars.
8. Breel Embolo-FC Basel to Schalke-€20 million
Another player who shone at Euro 2016 was Breel Embolo for Switzerland. Despite Switzerland going out in the Last 16 to Poland, Embolo put in some fine performances and could be a star for Schalke this season.
The 19-year old scored on his debut for Schalke in the Pokal against FC 08 Villingen and new Schalke manager Markus Weinzierl will hope that many more goals will come from him. Embolo will offer competition up-front for Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Franco Di Santo and his experience in European competition will be crucial as Schalke compete in the Europa League.
9. Daniel Didavi-Stuttgart to Wolfsburg-Free
Despite being relegated with Stuttgart last season, Didavi had an excellent campaign which led him to join Wolfsburg in the summer. He scored 13 goals in the Bundesliga last term but could not save his side from the drop. In April Wolfsburg announced that Didavi would join them and he comes with big expectations.
The Wolves had not really replaced Kevin de Bruyne who joined Manchester City in 2015 but in Didavi they have a player of similar style. The 26-year old is a box-to-box midfielder who can chip in with the goals as well as being disciplined in defending. Should he and Julian Draxler form a good partnership going forward to support Mario Gomez then Woflsburg will be a force once again.
10. Kyriakos Papadopoulos-Bayer Leverkusen to RB Leipzig-Loan
Number ten on out list is not a permanent transfer but a loan move. Papadopoulos joins Bundesliga new-boys RB Leipzig for the season from Bayern Leverkusen and is a shrewd signing for the club.
With the arrival of Aleksander Dradovic at Leverkusen to partner Omer Toprak in the heart of defence Papadopoulos may have felt his game time would be limited if he had remained at the club. Couple that with an injury-hit season last year, manager Roger Schmidt may feel a spell on loan to gain match practice would benefit both Leverkusen and the Greece international.