New arrivals hoping to make impact in Bundesliga
Dutch striker Luuk de Jong leads an array of new arrivals who
are hoping to shine in the 50th season of the Bundesliga and offset
the departure of several stars.
De Jong is the most expensive of the new players, having cost
Borussia Moenchengladbach ?12 million ($14.8 million) to sign him
from FC Twente.
Others to watch include Wolfsburg forward Bas Dost, the leading
scorer in the Dutch league last season with 32 goals in 34 matches,
plus Chile striker Junior Fernandes at Bayer Leverkusen and Belgium
winger Kevin de Bruyne at Werder Bremen.
Former FC Basel teammates Xherdan Shaqiri at Bayern Munich and
Granit Xhaka at Moenchengladbach are also expected to do well.
Spanish forward Raul Gonzalez, former Germany captain Michael
Ballack, Japan star Shinji Kagawa and Paraguay striker Lucas
Barrios all departed the Bundesliga in the offseason.
Meanwhile, Bayern still expect to complete the signing of Spain
midfielder Javi Martinez for a league record ?40 million ($40.9
million) from Athletic Bilbao.
”It’s a very complex issue that we have to solve,” Bayern
chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Sky television on Tuesday.
”The Basques are not only a very proud, but also a complicated
If Martinez’ transfer goes through it will take Bayern’s
preseason spending to a reported ?68.4 million ($84.4 million) as
it bids to reclaim domestic honors from double winner Borussia
Shaqiri has already shown his potential for the side, the
20-year-old winger making an impressive start by scoring one goal
and setting up two more in his first half of competitive football
for Bayern on Monday.
Moenchengladbach partly financed its ?28 million ($34.5 million)
spending spree through the sale of Germany winger Marco Reus and
Brazilian defender Dante to Dortmund and Bayern, respectively.
Former Atletico Madrid defender Alvaro Dominguez hopes to fill
the gap left by Dante, while the 21-year-old de Jong and
19-year-old Xhaka, a Switzerland international, should compensate
for Reus’ departure.
De Jong scored 25 goals in the Dutch league last season, second
only to Dost, raising the prospect of the two slugging it out with
another Dutchman, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke, to be top scorer.
Huntelaar won the award last season.
The 23-year-old Dost’s signing for a reported ?7 million ($8.6
million) from Heerenveen is a coup for Wolfsburg, with several
Premiership sides also interested in the player who recently earned
a call up to the national team.
Other strikers hoping to make their mark include Spanish forward
Joselu Mato, now at Hoffenheim after scoring 26 goals for Real
Madrid’s second-string team, and Canada’s Olivier Occean, who hit
17 goals for Greuther Fuerth in the second division. Occean has
moved to fellow promoted side Eintracht Frankfurt.
Daniel Carvajal, a former teammate of Joselu’s at Real Madrid
Castilla, has bolstered Leverkusen’s defense.
De Bruyne arrives on loan from Chelsea at Werder Bremen, which
has also signed Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie from
Czech champion Liberec and brought Dutch winger Eljero Elia back to
the Bundesliga following a disappointing year at Juventus.
Kagawa’s success at Dortmund has fueled demand for his
compatriots across the Bundesliga, leading to the signings of
Takashi Inui by Frankfurt, Hiroshi Kiyotake by Nuremberg and Hiroki
Sakai by Hannover.