Football Season Guide

Augsburg

In


Marvin Friedrich(def) (Union Berlin); Florian Niederlechner(att) (Freiburg); Ruben Vargas(mid) (Luzern); Noah Sarenren Bazee(att) (Hannover); Iago(def) (Internacional); Carlos Gruezo(mid) (FC Dallas); Mads Pedersen(def) (Nordsjaelland); Marek Suchy(def) (Basel); Reece Oxford(def) (West Ham United); Tomas Koubek(gk) (Stade Rennes); Tim Rieder(def) (Darmstadt - End of Loan); Caiuby(mid) (Grasshopper Zurich - End of Loan);

Out


Christoph Janker(sp)(def) (Released); Martin Hinteregger(r)(def) (Eintracht Frankfurt); Ja-Cheol Koo(r)(mid) (Released); Jonathan Schmid(r)(mid) (Freiburg); Kevin Danso(sp)(def) (Southampton - Loan); Romario Roesch(mid) (Roda JC Kerkrade); Dong-Won Ji(r)(att) (Released); Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker(sp)(def) (Released); Kostas Stafylidis(sp)(def) (Released); Gregor Kobel(r)(gk) (Hoffenheim - End of Loan); Marvin Friedrich(def) (Union Berlin); Takashi Usami(mid) (Gamba Osaka);

Augsburg endured a disastrous campaign last season both on and off the pitch as they just about managed to stay clear of the bottom three, finishing 15th place, four points above the relegation zone, while player revolt led to Manuel Baum being sacked. The club has responded with a major rebuilding job during the summer, especially at back considering Augsburg ended the season with the joint worst defense in the Bundesliga. They have signed a new keeper in Tomas Koubek while Martin Schmidt has also looked to improve his defensive options, converting Reece Oxford's loan into a permanent move while other arrivals include Marek Suchy and Mads Pedersen. Iago has been signed to provide competition to Philipp Max at leftback while Carlos Gruezo will provide some much needed steel in the center of the midfield. Jonathan Schmid, Ja-Cheol Koo and Dong-Won Ji have all left the club and have been replaced by Ruben Vargas, Florian Niederlechner and Noah Sarenren Bazee. Augsburg have also cleared the deadwood with the likes of Martin Hinteregger, Konstantinos Stafylidis, Christoph Janker and Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker all leaving the club while Kevin Danso has been sent out on loan to Southampton. Augsburg do have a decent attack but much will depend on whether they will be able to keep Alfred Finnbogason fit. Niederlechner has been brought in to provide cover for the Iceland striker while Gruezo will ensure any absence of Daniel Baier will not be keenly felt. Improving their porous defense will be key to Augsburg's campaign this season as they look to stay well clear of the bottom three

Target


Safety from relegation will once again be the aim for both Schmidt and the fans after a nervy campaign last season

Bayer Leverkusen

In


Kerem Demirbay(mid) (Hoffenheim); Moussa Diaby(mid) (Paris St Germain); Daley Sinkgraven(def) (Ajax); Nadiem Amiri(mid) (Hoffenheim)

Out


Julian Brandt(r)(mid) (Borussia Dortmund); Dominik Kohr(sp)(mid) (Eintracht Frankfurt); Thorsten Kirschbaum(gk) (Released); Sam Schreck(mid) (Released); Isaac Thelin(sp)(att) (Anderlecht - End of Loan); Jan Boller(def) (LASK); Tomasz Kucz(gk) (Released)

Bayer Leverkusen needed a change at the helm midway through the campaign but an excellent half of the season ensured they just about finished inside the top four and returned to the Champions League after a gap of two years. Bayer have had a fairly busy summer with the club once again looking at young players to improve their squad. Kerem Demirbay represents their oldest arrival at 25 years of age and will boost Peter Bosz's options in the center of the midfield. Moussa Diaby and Nadiem Amiri will also improve the creativity in the attack while Daley Sinkgraven will provide competition to Wendell at leftback, something which they lacked last season. There have been departures though with Julian Brandt the biggest name, having been sold to Borussia Dortmund. Isaac Thelin chipped with a few appearances last season but his loan deal was not renewed while Thorsten Kirschbaum and Tomasz Kucz have also left the club though Bayer are well stocked in the goalkeeping department. Bosz has brought together an attack comprising of exciting young players and Bayer are expected to score goals this season especially with Kai Havertz and Leon Bailey showing signs of being effective players under the Dutch coach. Bayer's weakest link though remains at the back where they have failed to make improvements so far. Both Lars and Sven Bender are natural midfielders converted into playing at right and center back respectively while Tin Jedvaj and Aleksandar Dragovic are yet to convince they can be effective backups for the first choice defenders. With Wendell also not exactly renowned for his defensive capabilities, the back four will need extensive support from the midfield if Bayer are to keep teams out this season.

Target


Champions League qualification will once again be the minimum expectation for Bayer who will also be looking for a good run in the cup competitions.

Bayern Munchen

In


Lucas Hernandez(def) (Atletico Madrid); Benjamin Pavard(def) (Stuttgart); Jann-Fiete Arp(att) (Hamburger SV)

Out


Franck Ribery(k)(att) (Released); Arjen Robben(k)(att) (Retired); James Rodriguez(sp)(mid) (Real Madrid - End of Loan); Rafinha(sp)(def) (Released); Mats Hummels(r)(def) (Borussia Dortmund); Marco Friedl(def) (Werder Bremen)

Bayern Munchen lifted a record seventh straight Bundesliga title last season but it glossed over a difficult campaign for the Bavarians who at one time were struggling to get into the top four but a late upsurge in form helped see off Borussia Dortmund's challenge to lift the trophy. The defending champions have endured a frustrating transfer window so far, having let go a number of players who were regulars in the match squad and there have been very few arrivals. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben have been the biggest names leaving the club while utility man Rafinha and Mats Hummels have also been let go as Bayern look to bring down the age of the squad. So far Bayern have only managed to improve their central defensive options, bringing in Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, with the latter arriving as the biggest purchase ever by the German club. Bayern have also decided not to convert James Rodriguez's loan into a permanent move and coupled with Ribery and Robben's departures, they are looking a bit light in the creative department. Star striker Robert Lewandowski has publicly criticized Bayern's transfer policy, especially after their pursuit of Leroy Sane ended with the Manchester City winger picking up a long term injury. With Rafinha gone, Bayern will also need to bring in cover for Joshua Kimmich at right back. Bayern looked far from their dominating best under Niko Kovac last season and they have been given an early warning shot by rivals Dortmund who easily secured the win in the Super Cup. Unless Bayern become more active and bring in more players before the end of the transfer window, their dominance in domestic football faces a real threat this season.

Target


Nothing less that the Bundesliga title will do for both the fans and the board who will also be demanding a better outing in the Champions League

Borussia Dortmund

In


Matts Hummels (def) Bayern Munchen; Nico Schulz (def) Hoffenheim; Mateu Morey (def) Barcelona; Thorgan Hazard (mid) Borrussia M’gladbach; Julian Brandt (mid) Bayer Leverkusen; Paco Alcacer (att) Barcelona – loan made permanent;

Out


Abdou Diallo (r) (def) PSG; Christian Pulisic (r) (mid) Chelsea – end of loan; Maximilian Philipp (sp) (att) Dinamo Moscow; Alexander Isak (att) Real Sociedad; Sebastian Rode (sp) (mid) Eintracht Frankfurt; Jeremy Toljan (sp) (def) Sassuolo – on loan; Andre Schurrle (att) Spartak Moscow – on loan; Shinji Kagawa (mid) Real Zaragoza;

Dortmund invested heavily in the summer, with coach Favre adding 2 new experienced defenders to try and remedy the issues at the back from last season. The Bumblebees played well for several months in 2018/19, but really past the winter break their form dipped and too many defensive errors were their Achilles’’ heel. The return of Hummels and the signing of left-back Schulz should in theory improve the stability at the back, with the permanent signing of prolific goalscorer Alcacer addressing the other end of the pitch. Added to that 2 new highly rated wingers (Hazard and Brandt) and Dortmund’s squad looks really well built to try and topple Bayern off the top. Once again key role in attack will be played by captain Reus and, based on last season’s evidence, the attacking partnership between him and Alcacer can be lethal. That said Dortmund lack depth and alternatives in the forward positions. With Reus’ injury-record this could be major weakness down the line. Still the team looks impressive and down both flanks Dortmund should carry major threat. On the right, teenagers Hakimi and Sancho are expected to be even better this season, while newcomers Schulz, Brandt and Hazard were bought to make the left flank at least as impressive. Dortmund don’t have height in attack and this will once again see Favre using his favoured one-touch football that includes lots of running off the ball and looking for pockets of space. This promises lots of goals!

Target


To finally beat Bayern for the title, but for this to happen consistency must be found throughout the entire season and several key players must remain fit.

Borussia Monchengladbach

In


Stefan Lainer (def) RB Salzburg; Marcus Thuram (mid) Guingamp; Breel Embolo (att) Schalke; Max Grun (gk) Darmstadt; Laszlo Benes (mid) Holstein Kiel – end of loan;

Out


Thorgan Hazard (k) (mid) Dortmund; Josip Drmic (sp) (att) Norwich City; Moritz Nicolas (gk) Union Berlin – on loan;

After bad end to last season saw M’gladbach missing out on Champions League qualification the changes looked inevitable and things have been busy at the club in the summer. Change of managers was the first thing on the agenda with Marco Rose, head coach for RB Salzburg for last 2 years, the new man at the helm. Rose arrives with good reputation and is known for asking his teams to play direct football. The other major departure was that of talisman Thorgan Hazard, who joined Dortmund, and after several years of relying on him in difficult situations now Green and Whites will have to find new hero. Captain Stindl is such a figure, but the undisputable leader of the team is recovering from serious injury with his return on the pitch not expected until November. This makes the role of Plea up front even more important, while 34-year-old veteran Raffael will have to turn back time and for a few months make Stindl’s absence go unnoticed. Not much transfer activity so far, with probably the only regular from the 3 new faces set to be right-back Lainer, who Rose managed in Salzburg. Before the bad run last spring M’gladbach was known as fortress and turning the home ground into successful hunting grounds again is priority for the new coach. As mentioned above direct forward passing and lots of overlapping runs can be expected as this is style of play Rose preaches.

Target


Might struggle qualifying for the Champions League, but top 6 finish could be achieved if home form is solid.

Eintracht Frankfurt

In


Filip Kostic(mid) (Hamburger SV); Dejan Joveljic(att) (Red Star); Djibril Sow(mid) (Young Boys); Rodrigo Zalazar(mid) (Malaga); Erik Durm(def) (Free); Dominik Kohr(mid) (Bayer Leverkusen); Sebastian Rode(mid) (Borussia Dortmund); Martin Hinteregger(def) (Augsburg); Kevin Trapp(gk) (Paris St. Germain); Daichi Kamada(mid) (VV St. Truiden - End of Loan); Felix Wiedwald(gk) (Duisburg - End of Loan); Marijan Cavar(mid) (NK Osijek - End of Loan); Nicolai Muller(mid) (Hannover - End of Loan);

Out


Branimir Hrgota(att) (Free); Sebastien Haller(r)(att) (West Ham United); Luka Jovic(r)(att) (Real Madrid); Jetro Willems(r)(def) (Newcastle United - Loan); Tuta(def) (KV Kortrijk - Loan); Danny Blum(att) (Bochum); Andersson Ordonez(def) (Liga Universitaria); Deji-Ousman Beyreuther(def) (Hoffenheim); Max Besuschkow(mid) (SSV Jahn Regensburg); Rodrigo Zalazar(mid) (Korona Kielce - Loan)

Eintracht Frankfurt came close to realizing their dream of securing Champions League qualification only for three defeats from final three games meaning that they dropped out of the top four in the final two rounds and had to settle for a Europa League spot. It will be a different Frankfurt team taking to the pitch when the new season kicks off though with a number of chances in personnel for Adi Hutter's side. Frankfurt have lost both their first choice strikers with Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller both making big money moves to Spain and England. Jetro Willems has been sent on loan while Branimir Hrgota has left on a free transfer. Frankfurt have held on to some of their key players though, converting loan moves for Kevin Trapp, Sebastian Rode, Martin Hinteregger and Filip Kostic into permanent transfers. They have also brought in Djibril Sow and Dominik Kohr to boost their options in the midfield while Erik Durm will provide backup on th flanks, replacing Willems. While Frankfurt have bolstered their midfield, it is further up front where they are the weakest with the club so far managing to bring in just one striker, Dejan Joveljic, who had made just 30 senior appearances for Red Star. The 20-year old is a promising option for Frankfurt, having already made an impact in the Europa League, but Frankfurt will need to bring in a reliable striker if they are to replace Jovic and Haller's goals from last season and come anywhere close to repeating their excellent campaign.

Target


Will have to be at their very best if they are to repeat their last season's heroics though they will once again be aiming for a Europa League spot

Fortuna Dusseldorf

In


Zack Steffen (gk) Man City – on loan; Florian Kastenmeier (gk) Stuttgart II; Markus Suttner (def) Brighton – loan made permanent; Kasim Adams (def) Hoffenheim – on loan; Lewis Baker (mid) Chelsea – on loan; Erik Thommy (mid) Stuttgart – on loan; Bernard Tekpetey (mid) Schalke – on loan; Nana Ampomah (mid) Waasland-Beveren; Thomas Pledl (mid) Ingolstadt;

Out


Benito Raman (r) (att) Schalke; Dodi Lukebakio (r) (mid) Watford – end of loan; Marcin Kaminski (sp) (def) Stuttgart – end of loan; Takashi Usami (sp) (att) Augsburg – end of loan; Jaroslav Drobny (gk) released; Kianz Froese (mid) Saarbrucken; Marvin Ducksch (att) Hannover; Harvar Nielsen (att) Greuther Furth; Emmanuel Iyoha (att) Holstein Kiel;

Fortuna enjoyed easy ride last season despite being tipped to struggle, with coach Funkel providing the fans with lots of goals and excitement as he urged his team to play open attacking football. However, with many players only on loan at the club it was inevitable that changes would take place in the summer and 2 of the key figures in attack from the previous campaign, Raman and Lukebakio, are no longer in Dusseldorf. Having limited finances Fortuna again dipped in the loan market to reinforce, with 7 players already at the club on season-long loans. From them goalkeeper Steffen, centre-back Adams and striker Kownacki are seen as regular starters and they will have to perform well if Fortuna want to stay out of trouble. Coach Funkel is one of the most experienced managers in the Bundesliga, plus he starts his fifth season in charge of Fortuna. The gaffer is not afraid to use bold tactics and he prefers to load most of the attacking efforts down the wings, making the wide players very important in his system. Not surprisingly 3 new wingers joined in the summer and they have big shoes to fill (Raman and Lukebakio operated down the 2 wings last season). Fortuna need to be scoring lots of goals as defensively they don’t look solid and also this is the area of the pitch where there is not much depth and experience.

Target


Survival is the main priority, but it might be harder than last season to achieve it without at least 2 of the new signings having excellent campaigns.

FSV Mainz

In


Cyrill Akono(att) (Preußen Münster); Jonathan Meier(def) (Bayern Munchen); Edimilson Fernandes(mid) (West Ham United); Aaron Martin(def) (Espanyol); Ji Dong-Won(att) (Augsburg); Omer Hanin(gk) (Hapoel Hadera); Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel(def) (Monaco); Taiwo Awoniyi(att) (Liverpool - Loan); Jeremiah St. Juste(def) (Feyenoord);

Out


Niko Bungert(sp)(def) (Retired); Rene Adler(r)(gk) (Retired); Giulio Donati(sp)(def) (Released); Emil Berggreen(att) (Released); Gerrit Holtmann(sp)(mid) (Paderborn - Loan); Jean-Philippe Gbamin(r)(mid) (Everton); Anthony Ujah(sp)(att) (Union Berlin); Gaetan Bussmann(sp)(def) (Released); Jannik Huth(gk) (Paderborn); Issah Abass(att) (Utrecht);

Mainz decision to stick with Sandro Schwarz despite a major slump in form midway through the campaign paid dividends as the club managed to steer clear of the relegation zone and finish in a respectable mid-table position. Mainz have looked to cull the deadwood during the transfer window and have let go a number of players with Emil Berggreen, Gaetan Bussmann, Giulio Donati and Jannik Huth all leaving on free transfers while Rene Adler and Niko Bungert have both retired. They have lost just one first choice player with Jean-Philippe Gbamin completing a big money move to Everton though Mainz are reasonably well-stocked in the central midfield position and should be able to cope with his departure. They have spent the money improving their backline, not surprisingly, considering only five teams had a worse defensive record and three of them being relegated. Aaron Martin's loan move has been converted into a permanent transfer while Mainz have also splashed the cash on Feyenoord defender Jeremiah St. Juste. Edimilson Fernandes has been brought in to replace Gbamin while Ronael Pierre-Gabriel and Jonathan Meier will provide depth at rightback and leftback positions. There have been lots of changes to the squad in the summer for Mainz who will be heading into the opening week of the campaign with the news that last season's top scorer Jean-Philippe Mateta will be missing the first three months of the campaign due to injury. Schwarz will be hoping Ji Dong-Won and Taiwo Awoniyi will settle down quickly and cover for Mateta's absence as he looks to improve from the last season and aim for a place in the top half.

Target


Will be aiming for a place in the top half though they will do well to remain well clear of the relegation zone

Hertha BSC

In


Dedryck Boyata (def) Celtic; Marko Grujic (mid) Liverpool – on loan; Eduard Lowen (mid) Nurnberg; Dodi Lukebakio (mid) Watford; Daishawn Redan (att) Chelsea U23;

Out


Valentino Lazaro (r) (mid) Inter; Fabian Lustenberger (sp) (def) Young Boys; Julius Kade (sp) (mid) Union Berlin; Derrick Luckassen (sp) (def) PSV – end of loan; Jonathan Klinsmann (gk) St. Gallen; Marius Gersbeck (gk) Karlsruher;

Poor home form, some heavy away defeats and generally unsatisfying performances were characteristics of Hertha’s last season, which in the end resulted in logical managerial change in the summer. Instead of looking for an outside person to take charge Hertha’s Board decided to reward Ante Covic with the job after he spent the last 6 years as manager of Hertha’s reserves and Hertha’s U19s. This will be first senior job for Covic and he must be feeling nervous. The indications from pre-season are that Hertha will be moving the ball much quicker under Covic, with the modern-thinking Croat urging his players to use one-touch football when possible and also to stretch the pitch with lots of diagonal passes. With more variety in attack needed, Covic recruited exciting winger Lukebakio for record-sum to make him the main figure on the right flank, plus exciting 18-year-old striker Redan comes with lots of promise. To start with he is likely to be understudy of Selke and Ibisevic but, with the latter 35-years-old now, as the season progresses Redan might be one to watch. Grujic agreed to spend second consecutive year on loan at the club and the Serbian will remain key figure in midfield together with Duda. Under Covic Hertha are expected to be scoring more goals but, based on pre-season displays, they are yet to address the issues they had in defence last season. No major reinforcements have been signed at the back so far and this is a concern.

Target


Top half finish will be considered success, but ideally Hertha would want to challenge for Europa League qualification.

Hoffenheim

In


Konstantinos Stafylidis (def) Augsburg; Robert Skov (mid) Copenhagen; Sebastian Rudy (mid) Schalke – on loan; Ihlas Bebou (att) Hannover; Sargis Adamyan (mid) Jahn Regensburg; Philipp Pentke (gk) Jahn Regensburg;

Out


Joelinton (r) (att) Newcastle United; Kerem Demirbay (r) (mid) Bayer Leverkusen; Nico Schulz (r) (def) Dortmund; Nadiem Amiri (sp) (mid) Bayer Leverkusen; Kasim Adams (sp) (def) Fortuna Dusseldorf – on loan; Gregor Kobel (sp) (gk) Stuttgart – on loan; Reiss Nelson (sp) (mid) Arsenal – end of loan; Antonio Colak (att) Rijeka; Robin Hack (mid) Nurnberg; David Otto (att) Heidenheim – on loan; Felipe Pires (mid) Fortaleza; Justin Hoogma (def) Utrecht – on loan;

After several years of success and great ride in the first ever Champions League appearance last season this was summer of changes for Hoffenheim. Since early spring was known that talismanic coach Nagelsmann is leaving in the summer, with Alfred Schreuder appointed as his replacement in June. Schreuder was Nagelsmann’s assistant 2 years ago, while last season was involved in Ajax’s rebirth, but again only as an assistant coach. Now the Dutch specialist will be making the big decisions himself and the jury is yet to give verdict on him as head coach. Schreuder’s task was not made easy as 3 important players left the club in the summer and he had to rebuild. Departures of Schulz, Demirbay and Joelinton weakened every part of the pitch. Stafylidis was signed as direct replacement for Schulz, but the Greek is currently the only typical left-back in the squad and this is area in which Hoffenheim are expected to look for further signings. Rudy’s arrival will likely see Grillitsch given advanced role in midfield, while Skov and Bebou are talented wingers that will be responsible to provide pace in the wide areas. Kramaric remains key figure in attack and if the Croat has good season usually Hoffenheim do well. That said, with the departure of several players and the relative inexperience of the new manager, this season is seen more as a transition one for Hoffenheim.

Target


Hoffenheim will want top 6 finish, but the changes over the summer suggest that challenging for Champions League football might be way too hard this season.

Koln

In


Julian Krahl(gk) (Free); Sebastiaan Bornauw(def) (Anderlecht); Ellyes Skhiri(mid) (Montpellier); Birger Verstraete(mid) (Gent); Kingsley Ehizibue(def) (PEC Zwolle); Kingsley Schindler(mid) (Free);

Out


Serhou Guirassy(att) (Amiens); Tim Handwerker(def) (Nurnberg); Chris Fuhrich(mid) (Released); Johannes Geis(sp)(mid) (Released); Joao Queiros(def) (Willem II - Loan); Tomas Ostrak(mid) (Hartberg - Loan); Jan-Christoph Bartels(gk) (Wehen Wiesbaden - Loan); Matthias Lehmann(r)(mid) (Retired);

Koln enjoyed an immediate return to the Bundesliga, claiming promotion after finishing at the top of 2.Bundesliga last season though they had to deal with off the field issues that culminated in Markus Anfang being sacked with the title all but in their grasp. Jahn Regensburg coach Achim Beierlorzer takes over from interim coach Andre Pawlak ahead of the start of the Bundesliga campaign. Koln have been fairly active in the transfer window over the summer, largely focusing on improving on their defensive side of the lineup. Ellyes Skhiri and Birger Verstraete have been brought in from Montpellier and Gent respectively to provide screening to their backline from the midfield. Sebastiaan Bornauw has been their biggest outlay, arriving from Anderlecht, and the 20-year old is expected to be the first choice in the center of the defense while Kingsley Ehizibue is also expected to start at rightback. Kingsley Schindler and Julian Krahl have been signed on free transfers but are only expected to improve the depth. There have been very few departures though with Serhou Guirassy being the biggest name to leave after his loan to Amiens was converted into a permanent move. Chris Fuhrich and Johannes Geis have been let go on free transfers but the squad is still bloated and Koln will be actively looking to trim their numbers before the transfer window shuts down. Anfang did enjoy success with Koln in the Bundesliga but seemingly lost the trust of not just the board but also the fans as the campaign neared the end. Beierlorzer meanwhile is an unknown quantity in the Bundesliga, though he was an assistant under Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig when they gained promotion in the 2015-16 season. He has the benefit of a squad filled with top flight experience though and, with Koln having looked to improve on some of their weaknesses, they have the best chance among the three promoted teams to beat the drop come the end of the campaign.

Target


Safety from relegation will be the main aim for Koln who do have a squad that can manage to do so

Paderborn

In


Streli Mamba(att) (Free); Luca Kilian(def) (Free); Jannik Huth(gk) (Free); Johannes Dorfler(mid) (Free); Marcel Hilßner(mid) (Free); Cauly(mid) (Free); Jan-Luca Rumpf(def) (Free); Rifet Kapic(mid) (Grasshopper Club Zürich); Gerrit Holtmann(mid) (Mainz - Loan); Laurent Jans(def) (Metz - Loan);

Out


Lukas Boeder(sp)(def) (Released); Philipp Klement(r)(mid) (Stuttgart); Leon Fesser(def) (Released); Feliz Herzenbruch(def) (Released); Sascha Heil(def) (Released); Olivér Schindler(mid) (Released); Sergio Gucciardo(mid) (Alemannia Aachen - Loan); Bernard Tekpetey(r)(att) (Schalke); Julius Duker(att) (Released); Phillip Tietz(att) (Released); Luca Pfeiffer(att) (Released); Felix Drinkuth(mid) (Hallescher FC - Loan); Philippos Selkos(mid) (Released)

Paderborn returned back to the Bundesliga after a gap of four years during which they suffered the indignity of two straight relegations only to bounce back to secure back to back promotions, including finishing second in the 2.Bundesliga last season thanks to a superior goal difference. Paderborn have been weakened somewhat over the summer after having sold Bernard Tekpetey and Philipp Klement, with the duo being their top two scorers in the 2.Bundesliga last season. Paderborn have done well to hold on to majority of their players key to their promotion push with Lukas Boeder being the only other departee who was somewhat regular in the match squad last season. Khiry Shelton will be almost like a new signing for Paderborn with the American attacker limited to just two appearances last season before suffering an injury. Paderborn have also brought in Laurent Jans and Gerrit Holtmann on loan deals, with the latter offering Bundesliga experience after featuring for Mainz last season. Paderborn have not spent in the transfer window, limiting themselves to free transfers of players, many of whom do not have Bundesliga experience, and loan deals. They endured a disastrous campaign in their only previous appearance in the Bundesliga back in 2014-15, ending at the bottom of the table and, with the club expected to face another difficult season, they will need to do well if they are to avoid the drop this time around.

Target


Will start the season as favorites for the drop and will need to do really well to extend their Bundesliga stay for the second season

RB Leipzig

In


Ademola Lookman (att) Everton; Hannes Wolf (mid) RB Salzburg; Christopher Nkunku (mid) PSG; Luan Candido (def) Palmeiras B; Philipp Tshcauner (gk) Hannover; Ethan Ampadu (def) Chelsea – on loan;

Out


Bruma (sp) (mid) PSV Eindhoven; Julian Krahl (gk) Koln; Marius Muller (gk) Luzern; Emile Smith-Rowe (mid) Arsenal U23 – end of loan;

Leipzig had second consecutive solid season last term, with another top 4 finish secured and decent football played throughout. Also the Red Bulls reached the German Cup final and their ambitions to establish as new powerhouse seem to be going the right way at the minute. The next step of the development of this young club was to find exciting modern-thinking manager to work with all the young talented players and this summer Julian Nagelsmann was stolen from Hoffenheim for that role. Nagelsmann hasn’t gone over the board with purchase of new players but, after successful loan spell 2 years ago, the permanent signing of winger Lookman this summer and 2 new inner midfielders seem as great new additions to the squad. The other major achievement was convincing main striker Werner to stay for another year. With ambitious new coach and squad filled with hungry young players Leipzig will be hoping to shine on all fronts, including the Champions League. Nagelsmann will definitely urge his players to play fast modern football, with the transition between the different phases (attack-defence) very important for the new boss. With everyone important staying put and the addition of several talented new players Leipzig look well prepared for the demands of the season ahead. Having depth for every position on the pitch is also very helpful, giving Nagelsmann the opportunity to use different tactics and personnel. With 7 18-year-olds promoted to the senior team from the Academy new star might emerge too.

Target


Third consecutive top 4 finish is the goal, with Leipzig having the manager and the players to achieve it.

SC Freiburg

In


Lucas Itter (def) Wolfsburg; Jonathan Schmid (def) Augsburg; Chang-hun Kwon (mid) Dijon; Woo-yeong Jeong (mid) Bayern Munchen II;

Out


Vincenzo Grifo (r) (mid) Hoffenheim – end of loan; Florian Niederlechner (r) (att) Augsburg; Vincent Sierro (sp) (mid) Young Boys; Jonas Fohrenbach (sp) (def) Heidenheim; Pascal Stenzel (sp) (def) Stuttgart – on loan; Chima Okoroji (sp) (def) Jahn Regensburg – on loan; Fabian Schleusener (att) Nurnberg; Christoph Daferner (att) Erzgebirge Aue – on loan; Keven Schlotterbeck (def) Union Berlin – on loan;

For yet another year Freiburg defended their top flight status thanks to very solid home form, with coach Streich using his vast experience at the club to manage the players very well. Last season the main issues were related to the many injuries and, if Streich is cemented at the helm, about to start his ninth season in charge, the entire physical staff was replaced in the summer. The purpose was exactly to improve the prevention of injuries and hopes at the club are that this move will work. So far the incoming transfers are 2 full-backs, Schmid expected to become regular right-back down the season, and 2 South Korean wingers that will be swopping places on the pitch. With Waldschmidt emerging as the go-to-man in attack last season it was time for Niederlechner to leave, but even without him Freiburg have 4 solid strikers. Lack technical flare as usual, but Streich uses more direct approach anyway and one thing certain for Freiburg is that all the players that appear on the pitch will work extremely hard. Covering every blade of grass at home is characteristic of Freiburg’s displays and expectations are that at least in front of their own fans enough wins will be accumulated.

Target


Staying out of trouble is the usual goal and with experience manager at the helm and well-known solid home form Freiburg should be able to just about achieve that. Not enough quality in ranks to think for more.

Schalke

In


Markus Schubert (gk) Dynamo Dresden; Ozan Kabak (def) Stuttgart; Benito Raman (att) Fortuna Dusseldorf; Jonjoe Kenny (def) Everton – on loan; Pablo Insua (def) Huesca – end of loan; Fabian Reese (att) Greuther Furth – end of loan;

Out


Breel Embolo (r) (att) Borussia M’gladbach; Ralf Fahrmann (sp) (gk) Norwich – on loan; Sebastian Rudy (sp) (mid) Hoffenheim – on loan; Cedric Teuchert (sp) (att) Hannover – on loan; Sascha Riether (sp) (def) end of career; Jeffrey Bruma (sp) (def) Wolfsburg – end of loan; Benjamin Goller (mid) Werder Bremen;

Schalke’s domestic struggles, particularly in defence, were constant throughout the previous campaign and the Miners lost the most matches in the entire top flight by more than two-goal margin. Change was inevitable and this summer ex-Huddersfield’s coach David Wagner was appointed in charge. Proving in the Premier League that he can achieve good results with limited finances, Wagner is seen as very good fit for Schalke as the team’s finances are poor and relying on youth seems to be the trend at the minute. Apart from Embolo, none of the other players that departed this summer was expected to see much playing time under Wagner and it seems that the new boss has strengthened the group slightly. He signed promising young centre-back Kabak and explosive winger Raman, both of them likely to become regular starters, but most of the other signings made were simply to add depth. Wagner likes possession-based football and already in pre-season it was obvious that both Bentaleb and McKennie will be very important in the heart of the midfield. It seems almost every forward pass will be going through them. Also Wagner will rely on the few experienced squad members to guide the youngsters, with Oczipka, Caligiuri and Konoplyanka seen as senior players, despite all of them only just turning 30. All-in-all this season is seen by most pundits as transitional one, with Schalke set to look for new identity and in the process developing several youngsters.

Target


Solid top-half finish is the main priority. Place in Europe seen only as desired bonus this transitional season, not as a priority.

Union Berlin

In


Manuel Schmiedebach(mid) (Hannover); Julius Kade(mid) (Hertha Berlin); Moritz Nicolas(gk) (Borussia Monchengladbach - Loan); Suleiman Abdullahi(mid) (Eintracht Braunschweig); Florian Flecker(mid) (Hartberg); Marcus Ingvartsen(att) (Genk); Robert Andrich(mid) (Heidenheim); Anthony Ujah(att) (Mainz); Sheraldo Becker(att) (ADO Den Haag); Keven Schlotterbeck(def) (Freiburg); Marius Bulter(att) (Magdeburg - Loan); Neven Subotic(def) (AS Saint-Étienne); Marvin Friedrich(def) (Augsburg); Christian Gentner(mid) (Stuttgart);

Out


Fabian Schönheim(sp)(def) (Released); Lennart Moser(gk) (Energie Cottbus - Loan); Marcel Hartel(mid) (Released); Marc Torrejon(sp)(def) (Released); Berkan Taz(mid) (Energie Cottbus - Loan); Marvin Friedrich(r)(def) (Augsburg); Eroll Zejnullahu(mid) (Released); Robert Zulj(sp)(mid) (Hoffenhein - End of Loan); Carlos Mane(mid) (Sporting CP - End of Loan);

Union Berlin had to go through the playoffs route but managed to pull off an upset to secure their first ever promotion to the Bundesliga after an inferior goal difference meant they missed out on an automatic promotion spot by finishing third in the 2.Bundesliga Berlin had the best defensive record in the league last season, conceding just 33 goals, and they have further improved the defensive aspect of their play by bringing in a couple of experienced Bundesliga campaigners in Christian Gentner and Neven Subotic. They have also managed to convert loan deals of Marvin Friedrich and Suleiman Abdullahi into permanent moves after the duo played key roles in the promotion push. Anthony Ujah also promises reliable cover for Sebastian Polter and Sebastian Andersson, both of whom led the scoring charts for Berlin last season. Other signings include Marcus Ingvartsen and Robert Andrich, signed from Genk and Heidenheim respectively, while winger Marius Bülter has been signed on a loan deal from Magdeburg though the trio are only expected to improve the overall depth for Berlin. They have also managed to sign Manuel Schmiedebach on a permanent deal, with the midfielder being a regular in the starting lineup for Berlin last season. With regards to departures, Robert Zulj has returned back to Hoffenheim after his loan deal expired and the midfielder did play a part in Berlin's campaign last season, chipping in with four goals and four assists, while Carlos Mane also saw his loan deal ended though the winger failed to make an impact in the second division Urs Fischer set up a team that pressed high up the pitch in the second division last season and the Swiss coach will be keen to replicate that system in the Bundesliga as well but will be pragmatic enough to know Berlin will be up against higher quality opposition. Much will depend on how Berlin will be able to cope with a step up in the quality and, should they manage to successfully do so, then they do stand a good chance of avoiding the drop come the end of the season.

Target


Will be aiming to extend their stay in the Bundesliga for a second season but face a tough fight to do so

Werder Bremen

In


Niclas Fullkrug(att) (Hannover); Marco Friedl(def) (Bayern Munchen); Benjamin Goller(mid) (Schalke); Ole Kauper(mid) (Erzgebirge Aue - End of Loan); Michael Zetterer(gk) (Austria Klagenfurt - End of Loan); Robert Bauer(def) (Nurnberg - End of Loan); Omer Toprak(def) (Borussia Dortmund - Loan);

Out


Aron Johannsson(sp)(att) (Free); Max Kruse(k)(att) (Free); Thanos Petsos(mid) (Free); Ole Käuper(mid) (Carl Zeiss Jena - Loan); Michael Zetterer(gk) (PEC Zwolle - Loan)

Werder Bremen came close to ending a nine-year wait for European football but fell just short as they finished just one point behind seventh placed Eintracht Frankfurt though the campaign will be seen as a successful one for Florian Kohfeldt's side. It has been a very quiet summer for Bremen who have held on to almost all of their key players from last season though they have lost their top scorer from last three seasons with Max Kruse deciding not to renew his contract and has signed on for Fenerbahce. Aron Jóhannsson has also brought to an end an injury ridden spell with the German club, making just 28 appearances in the four seasons he was with Bremen. Niclas Fullkrug is Bremen's only major arrival in the transfer window so far and will be more than an adequate replacement for Kruse provided he manages to stay fit. Joshua Sargent is expected to be given more game time after impressing in the brief appearances last season while Bremen have also converted Marco Friedl's loan from Bayern Munchen into a permanent move. Bremen relied on a solid defense to see them through last season, with the club ending the campaign with the fifth best defensive record, and, with very few changes to the squad, Kohfeldt will be looking for more of the same this time around. Fullkrug represents a solid alternative to Kruse but the attacker struggled to stay fit last season and, should he suffer from another injury, Bremen could find themselves to be a bit light in the attack with Sargent yet to prove to be a reliable goalscorer while Claudio Pizarro is playing in his final season.

Target


Should once again finish in the top half of the table though Kohfeldt will be aiming for a top seven finish

Wolfsburg

In


Kevin Mbabu (def) Young Boys; Paulo Otavio (def) Ingolstadt; Xaver Schlager (mid) RB Salzburg; Joao Victor (mid) LASK Linz; Lukas Nmecha (att) Man City U23 – on loan;

Out


Lucas Itter (sp) (def) Freiburg; Paul Verhaegh (sp) (def) Twente; Sebastian Jung (sp) (def) Hannover; Landry Dimata (att) Anderlecht – loan made permanent; Victor Osimhen (att) Charleroi – loan made permanent; Marvin Stefaniak (att) Greuther Furth – on loan; Riechedly Bazoer (mid) Vitesse;

Wolfsburg knew they needed fresh approach after several years of stumbling on the spot and this summer they decided to change managers. Last season was decent under Hecking, but some old-fashioned football that the manager preached didn’t go very well with the supporters and, in order to really move closer to the top teams, change at the helm was required. After exceeding for 4 years in a row as manager of LASK Linz Oliver Gasner was given his first ever job outside Austria. Gasner is modern-type manager, many pundits compare him with Jurgen Klopp in terms of style he adopts, and he feels he can bring fresh ideas to Wolfsburg. Parted ways with several supporting full-backs in the summer, but nobody important has left the club just yet and the few signings Gasner made already make Wolfsburg’s squad look even stronger than last season. Health issues were major problem last term, but hopes are that these problems are behind now and, if everyone stays fit, Wolfsburg will have really good group of players to choose from. The one area that looks light on quality is the attack. Weghorst is reliable centre forward, but his only cover at the minute is the prone to constant injuries Ginczek and young loanee Nmecha, who lacks senior experience. Still the main core of 16-17 players is strong and if serious injuries are avoided the Wolves are poised for good campaign.

Target


Top 4 is desired, but even if missing on the Champions League qualifying for Europe is a must.