Teams who fell well short of expectations last season, such as 1. FC Nürnberg and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, have been bringing in plenty of fresh faces, whilst the three promoted clubs have made a head start in preparing for life in Germany’s second tier.
However the big boys haven’t been quiet this week either. SpVgg Greuther Fürth have made another big signing in the form of Philipp Hofmann, whilst Robin Becker has moved from Bayer Leverkusen to Eintracht Braunschweig.
Goalkeepers have been among the other big moves in the last few days, with Raphael Wolf signing for Fortuna Düsseldorf, whilst both Wolfgang Hesl and Daniel Davari have moved on from Arminia Bielefeld.
Hofmann and Becker on the move
Striker Hofmann returns to Germany with the Shamrocks after an indifferent spell in England with Championship side Brentford. After joining from Kaiserslautern two years’ ago, he scored just four times for the Bees in 31 games, and didn’t score at all in the season just gone.
Despite that, the club’s director of professional football, Ramazan Yildirim, describes him as a “quality” player and said the club are “convinced that he will strengthen our team.”
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Becker made a permanent move away from Leverkusen to become Braunschweig’s fourth signing of the summer. He was on loan at 1. FC Heidenheim last season, but the right-back was limited to just seven appearances, mostly when Robert Strauß was injured.
He has signed a three-year deal with the Lions, and sports director Marc Arnold believes that they will “benefit” from a player who has been trained to a “high standard” by Leverkusen and already has 2. Bundesliga experience. Whether he will be the primary replacement for Phil Ofosu-Ayeh remains to be seen though.
Mid-table sides bring in reinforcements
SV Sandhausen’s reinforcements so far have mostly come from the lower leagues, with the one exception being Nejmeddin Daghfous, who stays in the second tier despite former club Würzburger Kickers’ relegation. In fact there’s a clear emphasis on wingers, with Ali Ibrahimaj (Waldhof Mannheim), Robert Herrmann (VfL Wolfsburg) and Mirco Born (SV Meppen) all being wide men. Born comes with the most impressive statistics, with 23 assists for Regionalliga Nord champions Meppen last season.
They have also brought in goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen from Hansa Rostock as a replacement for departed back-up Michael Hiegl, who’s gone to FC-Astoria Walldorf, and Ken Gipson has joined from RB Leipzig’s now disbanded second team. Korbinian Vollmann, Tim Kister and Manuel Stiefler have also signed new deals, with boss Kenan Kocak set to follow suit.
Düsseldorf have made just the two new signings so far. They have made Andre Hoffmann’s loan move from Hannover 96 a permanent one, despite him only playing six games in an injury-hit spell last season. Meanwhile Wolf arrives from Werder Bremen to provide competition for Michael Rensing, with Lars Unnerstall having signed for Dutch side VVV Venlo. Alexander Madlung and Christian Gartner are the standout departures, whilst there are no signs as yet that loan players Kevin Akpoguma and Rouwen Hennings will return.
Nürnberg started their business early, completing deals for Enrico Valentini (Karlsruher SC), Fabian Bredlow (Hallescher FC) and Alexander Fuchs (1860 Munich) long before the season ended. Since then they have added winger Sebastian Kerk, who joins from SC Freiburg having been on loan at Kaiserslautern last season, and defender Lukas Jäger from Austrian club SCR Altach.
Several players have left though, with Even Hovland and even fan-favourite Dave Bulthuis released, Raphael Schäfer retiring, plus Tim Matavz and Shawn Parker have returned to FC Augsburg after loan spells with Der Club.
Kaiserlsautern and Aue rebuild after near misses
Kaiserslautern’s squad looked in need of a major rebuild after flirting with relegation last season, although Marcel Gaus, who has moved to FC Ingolstadt 04, is perhaps a player they would have liked to have kept hold of. Other key players, including goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck, who had been linked with Hamburger SV, could also be tempted away. Tim Heubach has been released.
Their defence looks potentially stronger though with the arrivals of Benjamin Kessel from 1. FC Union Berlin and Giuliano Modica from Dynamo Dresden, who could serve as a replacement for Ewerton who returns to Sporting CP. Left-back Leon Guwara joined on loan from Bremen on Tueday after appearing in the Bundesliga for SV Darmstadt 98 last season. Also arriving are winger Brandon Borrello from Brisbane Roar and Gino Fechner from Leipzig.
Erzgebirge Aue’s planning for the new season has been thrown out by the loss of head coach Domenico Tedesco, whose brief but notable spell at the club was enough to attract the attention of Schalke 04. His eventual replacement will have to help oversee a rebuilding process, with defenders Steve Breitkreuz and Louis Samson snapped up by Eintracht Braunschweig, and Würzburg-bound Simon Skarlatidis amongst the other players to depart.
They have been signing replacements though, with a clear emphasis on youth. Centre-back Nicolai Rapp is the standout name, joining from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after a loan spell with Fürth last season, and Arianit Ferati joins on loan from Hamburg following a season with Düsseldorf. Also signed up so far are Moise Ngwisani (VfL Bochum), John-Patrick Strauß (Leizpig) and Michael Maria (SG Sonnenhof Großaspach)
The only signing made by Bielefeld so far is Patrick Weihrauch signing from Würzburger Kickers. They have though lost their top two goalkeepers, with Hesl moving to Würzburg and Davari joining MSV Duisburg – Stefan Ortega has been linked with a return to the club to replace them. They are also unlikely to re-sign Reinhold Yabo after his loan from Red Bull Salzburg, whilst Fabian Klos could leave as well after falling out of favour under new coach Jeff Saibene at the back end of the season.
Duisburg and Kiel prepare for the step up but big losses for Regensburg
Promoted Duisburg have had their pick of the 3. Liga talent, signing Cauly Oliveira Souza from Fortuna Köln and Gerri Nauber from Sportfruende Lotte. They have also brought in Lukas Fröde from Würzburger Kickers, less than six months after he joined them from Bremen, as well as Davari, who signed on Wednesday. They’ve so far kept their squad from last season intact, but in the fringes Martin Dausch has been allowed to join fourth-tier 1. FC Saarbrücken, whilst Marcel Lenz (Rot-Weiss Essen), Fabio Leutenecker (Chemnitzer FC) and Mohamed Cissé (released) will not be major losses.
The other side to win automatic promotion, Holstein Kiel, have bolstered their squad ahead of a first 2. Bundesliga campaign in 36 years. David Kinsombi strengthens their defence, whilst Lukas Kruse joins from SC Paderborn 07 to challenge Kenneth Kronholm in goal. Young midfielder Atakan Karazor also arrives having failed to break into the first team at Borussia Dortmund.
They have also made Ilir Azemi a permanent signing after a loan spell from Fürth, whilst Christopher Lenz (1. FC Union Berlin) and Marvin Ducksch (FC St. Pauli) have extended their loan deals to the end of next season. Their only major loss is the retirement of Patrick Kohlmann, although he is staying on as an assistant coach.
SSV Jahn Regensburg have so far signed a couple of strikers to bolster their attack, with Sargis Adamyan, who scored 16 goals last season for TSV Steinbach, and Jonas Nietfeld (FSV Zwickau) joining. Sebastian Stolze has also signed on loan from Wolfsburg. However they have lost two of their key creative players, with Kolja Pusch moving to Heidenheim and Erik Thommy returning to parent club Augsburg. They have of course also lost the mastermind of their promotion, with Heiko Herrlich being appointed head coach by Leverkusen.
Quotes via SpVgg Greuther Fürth and Eintracht Braunschweig.