The transfer window may be just getting started, but the Bundesliga’s Champions League participants have already been busy. We take a look at where each club should go from here.
"We are still waiting, all the clubs are waiting for the first big transfer. Until now there has not been one big transfer to act as domino effect," said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, on Monday, with regard to the transfer window. Evidently, Rummenigge doesn’t consider his club’s €80m ($90m) outlay on left-back Lucas Hernandez a “big transfer” but rival clubs might disagree.
The truth is, Bayern have only recently jumped aboard the silly money bandwagon and aren’t entirely comfortable admitting it. They’ve previously taken pride in avoiding PSG-level transfer fees but results, particularly in the Champions League, have seen them make a U-turn.
An aging defense has been upgraded with the expensive arrivals of Hernandez and international teammate Benjamin Pavard, a €35m ($40m) arrival from Stuttgart. At 23 years old, both represent a sound investment for the future, while Mats Hummels’ return to Borussia Dortmund has helped fund those arrivals and reduce the overall age of the squad.
Bayern will need to loosen the purse strings further though, with new recruits required in the forward roles. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery’s departures mean Bayern are light in the wide areas, and could do with at least one ready-made star to plug the gap. Meanwhile, their decision not to make an offer for James Rodriguez, after his two-year loan spell from Real Madrid, means they are short on creativity. Jann-Fiete Arp, the 19-year old signed from Hamburg this season, is more likely one for the future.
A fresh offer for Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi is expected over the coming days, but a statement signing, such as Leroy Sane from Manchester City, will be needed in a forward role to convince fans Champions League success is a priority.
A savvy start to the transfer window has seen Dortmund add two of the Bundesliga’s brightest attacking talents for less than Chelsea paid to take Christian Pulisic off their hands. While the American had bags of potential, few would argue wingers Thorgan Hazard, a €26m ($29m) capture from Gladbach, and Germany international Julian Brandt, €25m ($28m) from Leverkusen, aren’t worthy replacements.
Julian Brandt's arrival from Bayer Leverkusen is seen as something of a coup for the Black and Yellows.
Defense has also been given a much needed boost, with former captain Mats Hummels, a €31m ($35m) arrival from Bayern Munich, and left back Nico Schulz from Hoffenheim clear upgrades on existing personnel. Hummels, in particular, should have an impact, with his experience and leadership expected to galvanize an often chaotic backline.
Centre-forward remains an issue, with Paco Alcacer not consistent enough and Marco Reus better deployed in a playmaker role. Central midfield is also a concern, with little top quality backup beyond Julian Weigl should Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel become injured. This should be a priority over the coming weeks.
Arguably the most interesting arrival across the entire Bundesliga comes in the shape of new coach Julian Nagelsmann. The former Hoffenheim boss is widely regarded the most exciting German coach since Jürgen Klopp, and many fans were surprised to see him take on the challenge at Leipzig when a move to a larger club seemed a certainty in the not-too-distant future.
That being said, Nagelsmann now has a superior squad at his disposal; one young enough to learn his philosophies and a larger budget than ever to work with.
Transfer-wise, Leipzig have been linked with a swoop for former loan-star Ademola Lookman from Everton, but their new coach’s main aim will be to convince key players to stay. Striker Timo Werner and young centre-backs Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate should be summoned to Nagelsmann's office as soon as possible.
The loss of Julian Brandt was compensated for quickly and efficiently with the signing of Kerem Demirbay from Hoffenheim. At €32m ($36m), the midfielder didn’t come cheap, but he’ll offer the squad a different type of attacking threat to Brandt. While the latter is a highly technical, waifish playmaker, Demirbay will provide a more robust, industrious presence behind the centre-forward, and should weigh in with plenty of goals and assists.
The €12m capture of 20-year old left-winger Moussa Diaby from PSG may turn out to be smart business, but the Frenchman isn’t expected to start given Leverkusen’s embarrassment of riches in the forward positions. Between Leon Baily, Kevin Volland, Lucas Alario, Demirbay, Karim Bellerabi and prized wunderkind Kai Havertz goals shouldn’t be hard to come by, but the same old issues remain in midfield and defense. These will need to be addressed if the club is to have any real impact on the league or in Europe.