Bundesliga News

Bundesliga Mid-Season Loan Watch

By Adam Khan

We analyze 20 of the most eye catching Bundesliga loan moves, seeing who has thrived and who has fallen below expectations.

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Photo: Erik Drost, CC BY-SA 2.0

Whether to give young players regular gametime, get rid of a bad egg, or even put an out of favor player in the shop window, loan moves are a fundamental part of every transfer window. Even with Covid-19, things have not changed, with 35 players loaned in and 77 players loaned out on deals of varying length in the Bundesliga. In this piece we look at 20 of the most eye-catching outgoing loan deals of Bundesliga clubs so far this season, seeing who has surpassed expectations and who hasn't made an impact in their temporary new club. We have chosen to only include loans to clubs outside of the Bundesliga, however have included the other top two tiers of German football.


Michaël Cuisance- FC Bayern to Olympique Marseille (France)

After making just three Bundesliga starts for the champions last term, Michaël Cuisance failed to make an impression since joining from Gladbach for €8.00m. It looks like the youngsters' difficult spell in Germany may be coming to a premature close now as well, with Cuisance enjoying an extended run of games under André Villas-Boas at Marseille. Although OM is experiencing one of their most difficult seasons in recent years, sitting in 5th place domestically, and failing to score a single goal in 5 of their 6 Champions league matches, Cuisance has established himself as a key player.

Having featured in every Champions League and Ligue 1 match since arriving back in France, Cuisance has already played his most first team minutes since the entirety of his first season at Gladbach. Villas-Boas has also expressed an interest in exercising the option to buy in the loan, stating that he would be ecstatic if Cuisance were to stay at OM past the end of the season. If a deal were struck it would be a win-win for both clubs, with Marseille holding onto one of their most important assets and Bayern netting €18.00m in the process.

Adrian Fein- FC Bayern to PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

Adrian Fein is another highly regarded central midfielder at Bayern, who unlike Cuisance will want to see his future out in Bavaria. Having worked his way up through the youth age groups, Fein signed a u23 deal in July 2017, before two years later turning his Bayern II contract into a first team deal after a successful loan spell at Jahn Regensburg. Fein further established himself last season on loan at Hamburg in the second division, coming to 31 appearances as die Rothosen narrowly missed out on promotion back to the topflight.


This year Fein has gone another step up, journeying across the border to Netherlands, where he links up with former FCB midfielder Mario Götze. Although Fein hasn’t been able to establish himself as first choice in central midfield under Roger Schmidt, PSV have a busy second half of the season lined up, with the Red-Whites challenging at the top of the Eredivisie and through to the knockout stages in the Europa League. Still only 21 years old, a more consistent role in a successful Ruckrunde at PSV could see him become part of Hansi Flick’s plans next season.

Lars Lukas Mai- FC Bayern to SV Darmstadt (Germany)

After playing every minute up until the final matchday of Bayern II’s championship winning campaign, Lars Lukas Mai required a bigger challenge for the upcoming season. With second teams unable to progress past the third tier of German football, Mai would have to go on loan, with SV Darmstadt providing the most appealing offer. There Mai has carried on from where he left off last season, starting every single game bar one that he missed through a yellow card suspension.

Things have not been completely smooth sailing though, as Darmstadt’s 25 goals conceded is the most of any side in the top 14. The Lillies joint second best attack has allowed them to sit comfortably in 10th place at the break, however Mai and the entire defense will need to up their game if they want to make a promotion push this year.

Jeremy Toljan- Borussia Dortmund to Sassuolo (Italy)

Sassuolo have been one of the biggest surprise packages in Europe this season, playing attractive attacking football under young manager Roberto De Zerbi that has them sitting in 4th place in Serie A at Christmas. Though Toljan’s season hasn’t gone without complications, most notably a positive corona test on gameweek 4, the former Hoffenheim fullback has played his part in Sassuolo’s impressive rise. With 8 starts in the league Toljan is the first choice option when fit, and with BVB’s position at right back looking unsettled as Meunier has not dazzled since signing for PSG, Toljan could be afforded another chance when he returns in the summer.

Leonardo Balerdi- Borussia Dortmund to Olympique Marseille (France)

Although Michaël Cuisance has been an undeniable success since joining Marseille this summer, another Bundesliga loanee has not fared as well in the port city. After signing for BVB for €15.50m much was expected of Argentina’s teenage talent. However things never panned out for Balerdi in Germany, coming to just 135 minutes of first team football in his two seasons at Dortmund. OM was supposed to provide an opportunity for regular gametime for Balerdi, and although he has started 6 matches for Les Phocéens, Balerdi has yet to display why Dortmund spent such a large amount on his signature two years ago. With Jude Bellingham the long term solution in Dortmund's midfield, Balerdi's time in Germany may be coming to a close almost as soon as its begun.

Ademola Lookman: RB Leipzig to Fulham (England)

Talent from Great Britain hasn’t exactly left a lasting impression on RB Leipzig, with the likes of Emile Smith-Rowe, Ethan Ampadu, and Oliver Burke failing to influence the side in their season long loans in Leipzig. One player amongst this talent who may still come good however is Ademola Lookman, who is slowly beginning to come into his own on loan at Premier League side Fulham. Although Scott Parker’s side is firmly entrenched in the relegation zone, Lookman’s attacking flair and speed on the wing has been a bright spark for The Cottagers.

Although his early months will be most remembered for an embarrassing failed panenka against West Ham, 2 goals and 2 assists is a healthy return for a player who looks to be going from strength to strength with more routine game time. Having signed for Leipzig for €18.00m last July, Lookman is beginning to fulfill his talent, starting every match since gameweek 2 in the Premier League.

Tom Krauß- RB Leizpig to 1.FC Nürnberg (Germany)

Tom Krauß is the first big talent to come through the RB Leipzig academy, with the German u20 international regarded as one of the most promising midfielders in the country. Although Krauß had to make due with bench appearances and youth matches last year, a loan to second division 1.FC Nürnberg this season has seen the youngster take a next step.

Having joined the club after they had narrowly avoided back-to-back relegations after a last minute winner versus Ingolstadt kept them in the Zweite Bundesliga, Nürnberg now sit in 7th in the second division, just five points off the final promotion spot. Krauß has played a massive part in this quick turnaround, playing over 75% of the minutes in Nürnberg’s midfield. Although without a goal contribution, Krauß’s composure has allowed Der Club to build out of the back with ease, keeping possession ticking over with the assuredness of a player twice his age.

Laurenz Dehl- Union Berlin to Hallescher FC (Germany)

Like Krauß, 19 year old Laurenz Dehl is also in his first full season of professional football, with Union Berlin opting to send him out on loan to the 3rd Bundesliga with Hallescher FC. Just over 2 hours away from Union Berlin’s Stadion An der Alten Försterei, Dehl has taken the first steps in his hopes of one day lining up for Die Eiserne in the Bundesliga. With 2 goals in 10 matches for Halle, Dehl has shown his talent as an attacking midfielder, albeit inconsistently with a couple dazzling performances and then others like last week when he was sent off after 44 minutes. Although unable to consistently bring his best week in week out, Dehl has still proven why Union Berlin chose to award him with a first team contract, and the lower league game time is providing him with a great platform to fine tune his game.

Pablo Maffeo- VFB Stuttgart to SD Huesca (Spain)

Pablo Maffeo hasn’t exactly taken German football by storm since joining VFB Stuttgart for €9.00m in the summer of 2018. Seemingly already with one foot out the door before even arriving at Die Schwaben, Maffeo is now in his second loan spell after two years. Although Maffeo has been a starter for promoted Huesca and could offer quality in depth for Stuttgart, his future lies away from Germany, with Silas Wamangituka making the RWB position his own over the last 6 months. Still highly regarded in his home country and even quoted as the toughest man marker by Lionel Messi himself, Stuttgart and Maffeo will probably be doing everything they can to make the Huesca deal permanent at the end of the season.

Nikolas Nartey- VFB Stuttgart to SV Sandhausen (Germany)

Though Maffeo’s future lies away from Stuttgart, another player on loan from the promoted side is making his case for minutes under Pellegrino Matarazzo next season. That would namely be Nikolas Nartey, a Danish youth international who is excelling in the 2nd Bundesliga with over 850 minutes for SV Sandhausen. Deployed most often in central midfield, Nartey’s defensive contributions are what he is known for, with a strong aerial presence and tackling in ground duels. Although there seems to be no way past the combination of Orel Mangala and Wataru Endo in Stuttgart’s midfield, it is unlikely both of them will be staying at Die Schwaben if Matarazzo’s side fails to qualify for Europe this season. Therefore, an opportunity for Nartey may be on the cards next campaign, with Stuttgart proving that they aren’t afraid to give youngsters a chance in the first XI.

Keanan Bennetts- Borussia Mönchengladbach to Ipswich Town (England)

Exceptional English wingers in the Bundesliga has been a trend for some time now, with Jadon Sancho leading a pack of excellent young talent forging their first steps in professional football in Germany’s topflight. One player who took the step to Germany just a year after Sancho was Tottenham academy graduate Keanan Bennetts, who signed for Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2018 after a host of European clubs had been interested in his signature. However things haven’t exactly panned out as well as his countryman over in Dortmund, with Bennetts enduring a series of injuries in his two years at Gladbach that saw his first minutes of action for the first team come on matchday 32 of last season.

Now fully fit, Bennets has been allowed to go on loan to League 1 (the third tier of English football) side Ipswich town. Although not the glamorous move many youngsters are dreaming of in a loan deal, Bennets has at least been able to get regular gametime, featuring in all but 1 of the 14 matches he has been at the club for, and even scoring his first goal of the season last week in a 2:1 victory over bottom side Burton Albion. With a contract expiring in the summer, it is still unclear if Bennetts has enough to make the grade at a Gladbach side with some of the most impressive attacking talent in Europe. However, it's still good to finally see the English winger getting first team minutes after two year that were constantly curtailed through injury setbacks.

Dejan Joveljic- Eintracht Frankfurt to Wolfsberger AC (Austria)

Dejan Joveljic was supposed to be the like for like replacement for fellow Serbian striker Luka Jovic who departed Die Eintracht for Real Madrid in the summer of 2019. Although Joveljic never hit the ground in the Bundesliga and had his loan move to RSC Anderlecht prematurely terminated due to the Coronavirus, this season the young striker is showing why he was so highly sought after.
On loan at Austrian outfit Wolfsberger AC, Joveljic has scored 6 goals in 11 appearances, including 4 goals and an assist in his last 4 games before the winter break. The Frankfurt loanee also scored the only goal in Wolfsberger AC’s 1:0 victory over Feyenoord on the final Europa League group stage matchday that secured the Austrian sides first ever entry into the knockout stages. In the round of 32 an enticing tie against Tottenham Hotspurs awaits, a stage in which Joveljic can truly show that he is ready to lead the line for Frankfurt following Bas Dost’s departure for Club Brügge.

Rodrigo Zalazar- Eintracht Frankfurt to Saint Pauli (Germany)

We move from one Eintracht Frankfurt youngster to another excelling on loan, this time in the form of 21 year old Uruguayan Rodrigo Zalazar. Signed from the Malaga youth academy in 2019, Zalazar has yet to make an appearance for The Eagles, instead directly sent on loan to Korona Kielce in the Polish topflight and now St.Pauli in the 2nd Bundesliga. Although Zalazar failed to make an impression in Poland, featuring just 8 times in the league and even earning a 4 game red card suspension, at St.Pauli Zalazar has been a revelation. Although the Hamburg club sit second bottom and are without a win since matchday 2, Zalazar has contributed 3 goals and started every match bar one. As well as being the joint top scorer although playing in a central midfield role, Zalazar’s dribbling has caught the eye, with his 30 fouls drawn this season the 4th most of any player in the division.

Kevin Danso- FC Augsburg to Fortuna Dusseldorf (Germany)

Following an unsuccessful loan spell with Southampton last season, where the Austrian/English centerback didn’t appear for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side after matchday 11, Danso has regained form at Fortuna Dusseldorf this year. As well as starting every game that he was available for, Danso is part of a Fortuna side who are closely connected to the promotion places after 13 matchdays, just 1 point off 3rd place. Although Danso played 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s embarrassing defeat to 4th division Rot-Weiß Essen in the Pokal second round, the 5 clean sheets he was a part of in the league are just 1 behind VFL Bochum's 6 that lead the division.

Maurice Malone- FC Augsburg to Wehen Wiesbaden (Germany)

FCA youngster Maurice Malone has been a revelation on loan at Wehen Wiesbaden, helping the Rheinland-Pfalz club stay in the race for automatic promotion back up to the 2nd division. After a slow start that saw Malone make his first starting XI appearance on matchday 6, Malone hasn’t looked back since, scoring 6 goals and assisting another 6 in his next 12 appearances. For a 20 year old striker in his first season of routine gametime, pretty impressive stuff!

Justin Hoogma- TSG Hoffenheim to FC Utrecht (Netherlands)

The primary motive for loan moves is to give the player in question gametime. However few players have accumulated the gametime that 22 year old centerback Justin Hoogma has, already playing 1,315 minutes in his second season on loan at Eredivisie side FC Utrecht. Although Utrecht have kept just 1 clean sheet all season, Hoogma is an irreplaceable feature in René Hake’s backline, playing every match this season and even grabbing a go ahead goal against ADO Den Haag in early December.

It is unsure where Hoogma stands under Sebastian Hoeneß, with the youngster making just 2 Bundesliga appearances in his 3 and a half seasons on the books at Hoffenheim. The consistent gametime will nevertheless offer a good platform for Hoogma to find another club in the summer if Hoffenheim decides against renewing his contract that expires in July.

Johannes Eggestein- SV Werder Bremen to LASK (Austria)

Many fans of the Bundesliga will recognize the last name Eggestein, with elder brother Maximilian an ever present in the Bremen midfield, and even called up to a German national team camp in early 2019. Johannes is doing his best in Austria to join his elder brother in the Bremen lineup soon, scoring 6 goals and assisting two more in his 8 Tipico Bundesliga appearances.

Although the Austrian topflight is still a level below the German Bundesliga, Eggestein has been drawing a lot of attention, scoring against RB Salzburg in the league and even against Mourinho’s Spurs side in the Europa League. With Bremen once again towards the bottom of the table, and their only consistent goal scorer Füllkrug out since October with a calf injury, one shouldn’t completely rule out Eggestein returning to the Weser Stadium in January.

Louis Schaub- 1.FC Köln to FC Luzern (Switzerland)

Louis Schaub was one of the key players in Köln’s promotion campaign in 2018/19, leading the entire second division with 13 assists in 27 matches. However topflight football hasn’t produced the same results for Schaub, with Köln loaning the Austrian international out to Hamburg after he lost his place in the starting XI. This season the loan circuit has continued for 26 year old Schaub, leaving German football entirely and joining Swiss side FC Luzern.

Unlike his stint at HSV however, Schaub has recaptured some of his form from the 18/19 season, scoring 2 goals and assisting a further 5 in his 13 starts. With Luzern just the one point above the final relegation spot, his contributions will be much-needed in the new year in Switzerland, although Köln could equally profit off his services, with The Billy goats entrenched in a relegation fight of their own in the Bundesliga.

Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel- Mainz 05 to Stade Brest 29 (France)

Mainz 05 are no strangers to investing in young french talent, with both Moussa Niakhaté and Jean-Philippe Mateta becoming key figures in the side since arriving from Ligue 1. One player who hasn’t hit the same heights though is Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel, who since arriving from AS Monaco last summer has failed to establish himself at Die Nullfünfer.

With just 8 starts and without an appearance in the 18 man squad after lockdown, Pierre-Gabriel has chosen to return to France after just one season, now lining up for Stade Brest in Ligue 1. There he has come to 12 starts already, helping Brest to a very respectable 11 place standing after coming up from Ligue 2 just two years ago. Still highly regarded in Mainz, the gametime has done the young right back good, and could see him gain more playing time next season depending on if Mainz are able to remain in the topflight.

Weston Mckennie- Schalke 04 to Juventus (Italy)

Though Schalke 04 could sorely use a box to box midfielder of Weston Mckennie's quality in their precarious situation at the bottom of the table, the US international is in no hurry to leave Italy’s Serie A record holders. Although Mckennie required time to get up to the speed required of a club of Juventus’ caliber, his impressive performance off the bench in the Turin derby has made him irreplaceable since early December.

Particularly his goalscoring feats have raised attention, with his scissor kick against Barcelona in the Champions League sending US Soccer twitter into a frenzy as well as winning Juventus’ goal of the year for 2020. With Mckennie having shown he is up to the standards that the 36 time Scudetto winners Juventus require, it is only a matter of time before I bianconeri exercise his buyout clause of €18.5 million.

If you enjoyed this piece then make sure to follow Adam Khan on Twitter for more articles of a similar nature.


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