With the Bundesliga just around the corner, preparations for the new campaign are heating up. It's been a mixed week for Leverkusen, while Darmstadt have made yet another late addition to their roster.
Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday confirmed that they had purchased Austrian international defender Aleksandar Dragovic from Dynamo Kyiv for a reported 18 million euros ($20.3). This makes Dragovic, who has signed a five-year deal, the second-most expensive player in the history of the Bundesliga club.
Dragovic can be expected to provide outstanding competition in the central-defensive positions for captain Ömer Toprak, Jonathan Tah and Kyriakos Papadopoulos.
"In Dragovic, we have obtained an experienced central defender ," sporting director Rudi Völler was quoted as saying by the official club website. Dragovic, who featured for Austria at Euro 2016, is Leverkusen's fifth permanent signing of the summer following Julian Baumgartlinger, Kevin Volland, Danny da Costa and Ramazan Öczan.
Leverkusen pair to miss Gladbach opener
With 17 goals in 28 games last season, his first in the the Bundesliga, Javier Hernandez made an instant impression in German football. The 28-year-old's striking instinct around the penalty box helped fire Roger Schmidt's side to automatic Champions League qualification following a shaky period in the season, which threatened to see them drop out of contention for Europe.
However, Schmidt will need to do without Hernandez for the opening game of the Bundesliga season after he fell down the stairs at home and broke his hand. He is joined on the injury list by midfielder Lars Bender, part of Germany's silver medal-winning Olympic football team. Bender will miss the next two weeks after sustaining an ankle injury in the final against Brazil.
Darmstadt add with Ben-Hatira
Darmstadt waited until late in the transfer window to make their moves after a topsy-turvy summer, which includeed a change of coach following Dirk Schuster's exit. The Lillies, who secured survival last season, have now added 28-year-old forward Anis Ben-Hatira from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Creative, but unreliable, the Tunisian international has a habit of turning up in crunch games towards the end of the season. Although he didn't score, his performances under Niko Kovac last term helped Frankfurt secure their Bundesliga status. The attacking-midfielder is Darmstadt's 13th signing of the season as new coach Norbert Meier gets set to return to the Bundesliga after an absence of three years.