The Bundesliga kicked off last weekend and The armchair guide to football transfers takes a look at the major movements of the German transfer season.
Reining German and European Champions Bayern Munich are favourites to win the 2013-14 Bundesliga title under new manager Pep Guardiola. And the Spaniard has strengthened well during the off season. Pundits suggested that the former Barcelona manager to not change too much at Munich after the club’s recent treble win.
And recent imports Weiser (19), Gotze (21), Kirtchoff (22) and Thiago (22) have clearly been brought in with the future in mind. Expect Pep to leave Bayern relatively much the same for the first season before the likes of Robben (29), Ribery (30), and Schweinsteiger (29) find themselves being replaced by younger players.
After winning the Bundesliga in back to back seasons Dortmund awoke the beast in Munich and found themselves second-best to Bayern in last season’s Bundesliga and Champions League tournaments. Manager Jurgen Klopp may have lost Gotze to Munich, but should consider himself lucky that in form striker Lewankdowski is staying in Dortmund.
BVB should not find themselves weakened too much by their departures, and their off-season additions should add some squad depth that will be useful when battling Bayern in next seasons Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.
The fight for European football
Leverkusen lost a number of key players after their impressive third place finish last season. With upcoming European football Leverkusen have attempted to flesh out their squad with some experience and youth.
20 year-old Son Heung-Min has been transferred from Hamburger, and 24 year-old Australian Robbie Kruse brought in from Fortuna Dusseldorf to replace forward Andre Schurrle.
Schalke made it into the Champions League play-offs with a fourth place finish last season. The Gelsenkirchen club has lost Ibrahim Afellay who returns to Barcelona after his loan spell, but have gained experienced defender Santana from Dortmund. The Royale Blues of Germany have acquired the services of the talented young German Christian Clemens on loan from Koln who are currently playing in the 2 Bundesliga.
Finishing the 2012-13 season in fifth and sixth respectively Freiburg and Frankfurt will both play Europa Qualifiers next season. Both teams have lost a number of experienced players.
Freiburg have acquired the services of some talented youngster, while Eintracht Frankfurt has opted for some experienced players from other Bundesliga sides to help out their European campaign. It will be interesting to see which of the teams will achieve better results next season, Freiburg with their youth or Frankfurt with their talent.
In danger of the drop
New manager Robin Dutt will look to return Werder Bremen once again to the lofty heights of the Bundesliga ladder. However their defence may be shaky after losing Papastathopoulos to Dortmund. Kevin de Bruyne has departed for Chelsea, but Nils Petersen has been added up front from Bayern.
Augsburg were lucky to avoid relegation last season with a late find of good form. Holzhauser and Halil Altintop have been added to the midfield as Augsburg attempt to put further distance between themselves and the drop zone.
Markus Gisdol was appointed manager at Hoffenheim towards the end of last season and helped his club survive relegation during the playoffs. A number of key players have been lost during the transfer window and their lack of replacements may force Hoffenheim closer to relegation this season. However Modeste and Elyounoussi have shown potential and may provide the difference Gisdol and his club need.
The newly promoted
Hertha Berlin return once again the Bundesliga after a first place finish in the second division of German Football. Unlike last time they returned, in 2012, they will hope to not drop immediately back down. A number of players have been brought in to most likely add some depth to the squad. But the lack of experience purchased during the off-season may see Hertha relegated once again.
Eintracht Braunschweig finished with an impressive second place in the 2 Bundesliga and find themselves in the top division for the first time since the 80s. They have attempted to bring in some experienced players during the transfer season to avoid dropping straight back down.