With the dust now settling after the madness of the January sales, we look at which team has made the best business during the winter transfer window in Germany’s top division and which players will have the biggest impact during the Rückrunde and beyond.
The main contenders
In terms of impact already made and the likely impact they will make, it is hard to look past the signing of Max Kruse from the impressive Union Berlin over to struggling VfL Wolfsburg. The veteran of the league was a star player at Union within a brilliant team unit and had created a formidable partnership with Taiwo Awoniyi this season, which will be dearly missed in the capital. Kruse’s impact is almost too obvious given that since he left the capital city club, they have lost both their games since without scoring, and Wolfsburg won both of theirs with Kruse scoring in the second. It would be rash to pin it all on the German but surely, he will be a fantastic addition to Florian Kohfeldt’s side and will ease their relegation worries.
Aside from Kruse, two other strong candidates would be Marc-Oliver Kempf and Gonzalo Castro, both of which were VfB Stuttgart players last season and are now plying their trades for direct relegation rivals in the shape of Hertha Berlin and Arminia Bielefeld. Kempf certainly will add a much-needed steel to the Hertha back line which needs leadership. The German central defender is at a good age (27) to grow as a player and a leader for the winless this year Berliners. Adding to the fact, they have weakened a direct relegation rival for only half a million euros is an even bigger steal. Castro, slightly older than Kruse is also a wise owl who adds quality in the forward areas of the park for an improving Bielefeld side. His amazing strike against Greuther Fürth highlights perfectly what he’ll add to a side, that on occasion, has struggled to find the back of the net with regularity. He will also keep the ball well in trying circumstances when the team is under pressure.
Other names to watch out for
One name to include would definitely be Tiago Tomás’ move to Stuttgart. A signing seen as a big swoop for the South German side. He scored two goals on debut in the loss to Bayer Leverkusen but can he fire VfB to safety? Elsewhere another exciting talent coming to Germany’s shores is Sardar Azmoun. The Iranian striker has scored a hatful of goals for the national side and former club Zenit St. Petersburg. Will Azmoun play alongside Schick or as an attacking midfielder? Either way Leverkusen’s goal threat will only increase as they push to finish ahead of Borussia Dortmund and win the Europa League. Wout Weghorst’s replacement Jonas Wind looks like a promising player although he does have very large boots to fill as his predecessor was a regular goalscorer for the club which desires European football on a regular basis.
There is also plenty of American talent coming to the league in the shape of Ricardo Pepi to FC Augsburg, George Bello to Arminia Bielefeld, Justin Che to Hoffenheim and Kevin Paredes to the busy Wolfsburg. Will they shine like former American talents before them? Such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and current stars like Giovanni Reyna and Joe Scally. The reach and popularity of the league is ever growing in North America, and it is excellent to see such promising talents make the move over the Atlantic to thrive.
A few final shouts
A few signings that the newly promoted sides have made could be pivotal for their chances of staying in the division this season. One such January signing would be Andreas Linde in from Molde FK to help Furth fight towards a possible miracle and avoid the drop. He was very impressive against Hertha at the weekend and brought an assured calm to the backline, one which will concede far fewer goals with him in between the sticks. Finally, Jürgen Locadia could add more goals and pace to an improving VfL Bochum side, which will only help to stabilise the newly promoted side and increase their chances of becoming part of the furniture in Germany’s top division.