Ones to watch for the 2022/23 Bundesliga season
By Andrew Asher
As the Bundesliga season draws nearer, the majority of clubs are getting closer to finalising their squads for what will undoubtedly be another strenuous and demanding season of the German top tier. This transfer window has already seen two of the Bundesliga’s elite strikers leave Germany in Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski with moves to Manchester City and Barcelona respectively. Bundesliga clubs have however been active in this summer’s market too. So, who will be the players to light up the Bundesliga this season and who should we be looking out for when the season kicks off?
|Photo: FC Bayern München|
Naturally, it would be impossible not to mention Bayern Munich’s marquee signing, Sadio Mané, as a player that will inevitably have a large impact next season. Mané brings undoubted quality to Bayern’s front line along with versatility to play in each of the positions across the front three. After 6 years at Anfield, the Senegalese international made the decision to move on to pastures new and now faces a new challenge at FC Bayern. After Lewandowski’s exit, it is most likely that we will see Mané adopt a more central role this coming season, albeit in a more fluid Bayern front three than previously.
In 269 games for Liverpool, Mané scored 120 goals and assisted his teammates 48 times. At a cut fee of just €41 million including performance-based add-ons (Goal.com), Mané is a real coup for Bayern at a time when reinforcement of the attack is so vital.
Adam Hložek (Bayer Leverkusen)
Another incoming transfer with potential for a great season ahead is Bayer Leverkusen’s new signing Adam Hložek. Hložek joined the club from Sparta Prague this summer for an initial €13 million and a 30 per cent sell-on clause (Fabrizio Romano). The 19-year-old has long since been a topic of interest in Europe with many tipping him to go on to make the switch to one of Europe’s ‘Top 5’ leagues. Hložek is a versatile young forward that can operate from each flank as well through the middle, either as a second striker or a traditional number nine. Leverkusen manager Gerardo Seoane likes to set up in a 4231 formation and Hložek’s versatility makes him the perfect fit as he could operate in any of the attacking positions. His aerial ability and eye for a pass mixed with his strength and tremendous balance make for a player with a wide range of assets that can be utilised in different play styles.
Hložek managed 8 goals and 13 assists in 29 games last season for Sparta Prague and has already represented his national team, the Czech Republic, 18 times. His best numbers in terms of goal contributions have come when deployed as a number nine but with his compatriot Patrick Schick nailing down that position, it is more likely that we see the youngster operate as a supporting striker or from the left as Moussa Diaby occupies the right.
This signing is a really exciting one for Leverkusen fans and will hopefully give them a player that can develop with the club for many years to come. The Czech international is certainly one to watch.
Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund)
Amongst the plethora of signings that Borussia Dortmund have made this window so far, one player that could shine next season is certainly young striker Karim Adeyemi. The young striker has starred for RB Salzburg in the last 2 years after returning from a 2-year loan at Liefering, Salzburg’s second team. In 26 games for Salzburg in the previous season, Adeyemi notched 17 goals games as well as 3 goals in 8 Champions League appearances.
Dortmund will have a new-look attack next season after the departure of Erling Haaland to Manchester City. With the club having signed Sébastien Haller to fill the roll as a traditional number nine, we might see Adeyemi operate as a striker in a two-man set up or operating as a winger on either side of Haller. With Haller potentially spending months on the side-lines due to his unfortunate, recent diagnosis, Adeyemi may also have a part to play as a solo nine himself for the opening few months of the season.
Mario Gӧtze (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Mario Gӧtze is a player that is of course well-known to German football fans, and indeed international football fans too, especially after his heroics in the World Cup final that saw him score an extra time winner for Germany against Argentina all the way back in 2014. Having just signed for Eintracht Frankfurt, Gӧtze will once again be plying his trade in Germany after a two-year stint at PSV Eindhoven in Holland.
Injuries have plagued Gӧtze’s career, though he has managed to find a level of consistency in both performance and game time during his time in Holland. Despite the fact that the former German international has been around for such a long time at the top level, he is still only 30 years old and could be a real coup from Frankfurt for just €4 million.
Poetry in motion @MarioGoetze pic.twitter.com/H0IUV57Wdg— 433 (@433) September 23, 2021
In 51 games for Ajax in all competitions last season, Gӧtze scored 12 goals and assisted 11 times which is a goal contribution on average every over game (176 minutes). Kamada is likely to Oliver Glasner’s preferred choice in the number ten position, but Gӧtze will be a welcome addition to the squad due to his vast experience and ability on the ball. Glasner will also be grateful of Gӧtze’s addition due to squad depth as Frankfurt will compete in the Champions League this coming season after their Europe League win last season.
Daniel-Kofi Kyereh (SC Freiburg)
After working his way up the leagues in Germany, all the way from the Regionalliga Nord, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh will get his first taste of Bundesliga football this season with Freiburg after making the move from St. Pauli. Kyereh has been one of the 2. Bundesliga’s best players over the last two seasons, kicking on with St. Pauli after his move from Wehen Wiesbaden in 2020. The 26-year-old forward is able to play on the wing, up front or as a number ten, where he has dazzled this season for St. Pauli with 12 goals and 10 assists in 28 league games (goal contribution every 110 minutes).
The Ghanaian international is a strong dribbler, ball carrier and finisher who is capable of scoring both inside and outside of the box. With Freiburg moving to a 4231 formation towards the end of last season, Kyereh would most likely operate in the number ten position or as a second striker. Though if manager Christian Streich decides to return to a 343 formation, Kyereh would be more than comfortable out wide as well as at the striker position.
At his best Kyereh is capable of controlling a game and he could just be the extra spark that Freiburg need to keep up their impressive form from last year into the new season.
🇬🇭 Daniel Kofi Kyereh scores less than 10 minutes on his Freiburg debut vs Strasbourg in a friendly pic.twitter.com/euYzoOOt3V— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) July 23, 2022
Patrick Wimmer (VfL Wolfsburg)
After a stand-out season in Arminia Bielefeld colours last time out, Austrian starlet Patrick Wimmer earned himself a move to VfL Wolfsburg this window. After a disappointing last season, Wolfsburg are now under new management with experienced ex-Bayern coach Niko Kovač and are looking to bounce back. It is not clear just yet how Kovač will set up his team, but Wimmer has so far featured as right midfielder/wing-back in a 3421 formation as well as an inverted right midfielder in a 442-diamond shape.
Wherever Wimmer is utilised, Kovač can make use of the 21-year-old’s lightning pace and knack for pressing the opposition as well as carrying the ball forward. Wimmer still has a lot to learn in terms of composure, but his raw talent is an asset to any team, whether it be from the bench or in the starting eleven. In 32 games for Bielefeld, Wimmer scored three times and hit double figures for assists with ten to his name.
At such a young age and under a highly respected coach in Kovač, Wimmer will be able to develop well at Wolfsburg if given the correct game time and there’s no reason why he can’t kick on again this season and produce some magic for die Wӧlfe.
Wildcard: Steffen Tigges (FC Kӧln)
Finally, one player that could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business is former Borussia Dortmund man Steffen Tigges who has just made the switch to FC Kӧln for just €1.5 million (Transfermarkt). The soon-to-be 24-year-old striker chose to leave Borussia Dortmund in the hunt for regular first-team football after only featuring in nine league games last season with all of his appearances coming as a substitute. He did however still manage to bag himself three goals in those appearances, averaging a goal every 34 minutes.
With Anthony Modeste (34) and Sebastian Andersson (31) being Tigges’ only real challengers as ‘out-and-out’ strikers, it’s easy to see a pathway to the first team for a player that really needs more game time to continue in his development. Modeste is certainly still a potent striker, notching 20 goals last season but Andersson has come under criticism from Kӧln fans due to his performances.
At 1.95m, Tigges is a massive threat in the air and is more than capable of holding up the play to bring in others. Kӧln’s bombardment of the box with crosses will delight Tigges and hopefully be a winning combination as the club will be hoping to go from strength to strength as they compete in Europe next season.
It remains to be seen whether all of these moves will work out just yet, but they are definitely ones to look out for as the season develops. Could one of these players be the surprise package this season or will they take time to fully settle at their new clubs?