The new season is here, and so is the hype surrounding fresh signings.
The transfer window is closed and some the big transfers have already materialised, with the teams slowly shaping into the side they could look like in the 2019/20 season.
We take a look at five of the best signings from each of the top five leagues, judge them based on compatibility and lay expectations ahead of their debut season.
With the help of transfermarkt.com, age, transfer fee, and value, compatibility, and potential are some criteria used in the development of this list.
Here’s a look at Bundesliga …
Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich) – Defender
Transfer fee: €80 million
An impressive showing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup set the then Atletico Madrid centre-back Lucas Hernandez up for a big-money transfer. After months of speculation, Bayern Munich announced that they will pay the €70m release clause for the versatile defender.
Hernandez boasts qualities suited to Bayern – he’s good with his feet, capable of maintaining a high line, fast enough to track back following a code red and a dependable figure capable of leading the line against top teams.
His versatility earned him the left-back spot in a World Cup winning side and he did great in justifying Didier Deschamps’ choice. Bayern have bought themselves a defender for the next decade.
Expectation: Step up in a crunch Champions League fixture. A team like Bayern should be doing much better in Europe. Their performances in recent editions are deeply concerning.
With Mats Hummels departing to Borussia Dortmund and Jerome Boateng falling out of favour with coach Niko Kovac, Hernandez must take it on to himself to assume the role of the captain without the armband in crunch European fixtures.
Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund) – Forward
Transfer fee: €25m
Market Value: €50m
That Borussia Dortmund roped in the promising Julian Brandt for half his transfermarkt value is a testament to the fact that they are still one of the most efficient clubs in the market. They also signed Hummels, Nico Schulz, Thorgan Hazard and Paco Alcacer and managed a net spend of €54m.
Brandt is one of the most exciting young players whose skill-set is multidimensional. At Bayer Leverkusen, Peter Bosz wanted him to be more involved and hence used him as a midfielder. He can play further forward and out wide as well.
The 23-year-old has a very good passing range, showing great press-resistance during his development at Bayer. Add this to his versatility and you have a gem of a player who could significantly enhance any attack. Brandt’s ability to facilitate quick transitions into attack makes him a perfect fit in Lucien Favre’s side.
Expectation: 10 plus assists. Dortmund’s attack is stocked with talent and quality. Brandt will fight for the numbers with the likes of Hazard, Sancho and Reus. Brandt can boast of a successful debut season if he manages at least 10 assists in the league and establishes himself as an undisputed starter.
This could be a crucial season for the youngster in terms of his development as a player. He is in good hands of the experienced Favre who got the best out of Sancho last season. Brandt’s priority must revolve around improving at an individual level by giving the coach the reigns.
Breel Embolo (Borussia Monchengladbach) – Forward
Transfer fee: €10m
Market Value: €14m
Yet another intra-Bundesliga transfer where a player switched sides for less than his transfer value features Breel Embolo’s move to Borussia Monchengladbach. The promising Switzerland international has numbers to support his claim to being one of the best dribblers in Germany.
The wide forward’s dribble success rate from last season was 53 per cent at an average of 5.7 dribbles every game. He could hence be a valuable asset to a Gladbach side, especially when they encounter a team careless about spatial management.
Although Embolo was involved in 31 goals and 22 assists in 90 games en route to Basel’s hat-trick of league titles, he could manage just 12 goals and two assists in 61 appearances for Schalke. This can be attributed to injuries and the team’s collective poor form last season.
The 22-year-old is now offered an opportunity to re-establish himself as a hot prospect at Gladbach. Hazard’s departure is likely to place the burden of carrying the team’s attack on Embolo and carrying it out is within his capabilities.
Expectation: 20 goals plus assists. Playmaking is an underrated aspect of Embolo’s game. The Swiss can act as a supporting cast to centre-forward Alassane Plea. He was used as a centre-attacking midfielder during Gladbach’s 3-1 defeat to RB Leipzig, in which he scored a consolation goal.
That Marco Rose views him as a No10 further enhances his possibility to snap up many assists this season. He can clearly play anywhere in attacking midfield or the front-line and is likely to be heavily involved in their attack.
Kerem Demirbay (Bayer Leverkusen) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €32m
Market Value: €32m
The creative hub of Hoffenheim from last season is set to continue his exploits in the Bundesliga, only this time in a Leverkusen shirt. Die Werkself roped in Kerem Demirbay for €32m as a replacement for the outgoing Brandt.
The German midfielder boasts of a wide passing range and can be lethal in the final third. His will to win back possession makes him a dangerous player in a high press. Demirbay can play as a box-to-box midfielder, a wide midfielder or a No10.
Last season, the 26-year-old scored four goals and registered nine assists in the league. He also managed an astonishing 3.1 key-passes per game – extraordinary numbers that should place him among the top bunch of playmakers.
Demirbay already provided an assist in Leverkusen’s 3-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf and was among the best players in their successful start to the season. His partnership with Kai Havertz at the centre of midfield is one to look out for this season.
Expectation: 18 goals plus assists. Demirbay managed 13 with Hoffenheim and should be able o add five more at Leverkusen. Numbers aside, his impact will be judged more on the team’s success with him leading the creative force behind Kevin Volland
Ozan Kabak (Schalke) – Defender
Transfer fee: €15m
Market Value: €15m
Former Stuttgart defender Ozan Kabak is the next player on the list, following his transfer to Schalke. The 19-year-old was relegated with his former club but the potential he displayed earned him a move to the top-division side.
The Galatasaray academy graduate impressed during his time at the Super Lig. Last season, Stuttgart €12m to acquire his services despite Turkish defender attracting interest from several upper-middle table clubs and the German side had to bid high.
He was one of the few bright spots – alongside Benjamin Pavard – during their disappointing season, averaging an impressive 2.2 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 3.5 clearances every 90 minutes. Kabak is dangerous going forward, as testified by the three goals he scored for Stuttgart in just 15 appearances.
Kabak knows the league and could come handy for Schalke as they attempt to rebuild after what was a disastrous season.
Expectation: Step higher in the pecking order. Kabak is likely to be the fourth-choice centre-back with Matija Nastasic, Salif Sane and Benjamin Stambouli all ahead. But the Schalke defence was poor last season and could find themselves in need of more options at some point this season.
Kabak will look to step up, impress and establish himself as a quality rotation player. An injury to any of the senior players could also gift him a starter’s role and he must be careful not to squander it. This could be Kabak’s breakout season.
Table leaders Borussia Dortmund will be without Belgian duo Thorgan Hazard and Axel Witsel as they head to the capital to face Union Berlin for the first time in Bundesliga history.
The 26-year-old winger suffered a rib injury during Dortmund’s 3-1 win over Cologne and will be sidelined for several weeks.
Hazard’s absence could create an opening for summer signing Julian Brandt, who has impressed as a substitute this season so far and would be an obvious choice to fill the vacancy in the starting XI.
BVB manager Lucien Favre is not underestimating his newly-promoted opponents, saying in a pre-match press conference: “I’ve watched the new Union team; they have a few new players, are well organised, have a lot of power and are very athletic.”
English winger Jadon Sancho, who has just been named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, is likely to feature alongside Spanish striker Paco Alcacer – both having scored in Dortmund’s opening two games.
Midfielder Witsel has suffered an injury to his adductor is therefore ruled out.
“Yesterday evening the club received a diagnosis on the injury suffered by Axel Witsel. Unfortunately Axel has torn a muscle in the adductor area,” Dortmund said in a statement.
The club didn’t confirm how long the 30-year-old Belgian international would be out of action.
Union Berlin will have to raise their game to challenge the Black and Yellows, having drawn at Augsburg last time and suffering a resounding 4-0 loss to Leipzig prior to that.
Head coach Urs Fischer did not sound defeated in a pre-match press conference however, highlighting the similarities in the two teams’ style of play.
“When it comes to speed and transitions, both teams are similar,” he said.
“In movement up front, they are very similar teams. We want to improve on the aspects from Leipzig against Borussia Dortmund.
“It’s the same as we’ve said before, we want to develop and learn from our mistakes. You take things from the last game, then observe the individual development of the players.”
Fischer will be without centre-back Keven Schlotterbeck, who serves a two-match suspension for his challenge on Augsburg’s Florian Niederlechner.
Fellow centre-back Florian Hubner will miss out through injury, with midfielder Grischa Promel sidelined for the same reason.
Nineteen-year-old Maurice Opfermann Arcones is still out due to illness, whereas midfielder Christian Gentner has returned to training and could participate.
England international Jadon Sancho scored for the second time in as many Bundesliga matches as Borussia Dortmund came from behind to secure a 3-1 victory against Cologne on Friday night.
Newly-promoted Cologne sprung a surprise when Dominick Drexler headed the hosts in front after 29 minutes at RheinEnergieStadion.
Dortmund, who finished runners-up to Bayern Munich last season, trailed at the interval, and had to wait until the 70th minute before they were back on level terms.
Sancho, 19, picked up the ball from a short corner before unleashing a fierce left-footed strike.
Substitute Achraf Hakimi was on hand to give Dortmund the lead with just four minutes remaining when he jumped highest to nod home his first Bundesliga goal since January.
Sancho then played a role in completing the comeback victory for Dortmund when he fed the ball to Paco Alcacer to score in the fourth minute of injury time.
Copy provided by Press Association Sport