As the Bundesliga gears up for the new season, we at the Bundesliga Fanatic are looking at the players to watch ahead of the new campaign. For each club we bring you one key summer signing to keep an eye out for, as well as one up-and-coming young talent that could make a real impact this season.
Key Signing: Tobias Strobl
30-year-old defensive midfielder Tobias Strobl is one of a number of experienced signings Augsburg have made this summer. Returning to his Bavarian roots from Borussia Mönchengladbach on a free transfer will give the player the opportunity to play regularly and prove that he has fully recovered from his various injuries.
While at Gladbach, the former Hoffenheim player was a regular starter for the Foals when fully fit. Augsburg will be hoping an injury-free spell will allow him to bring steel and quality to their defence. Strobl plays predominantly as a defensive midfielder but has at various times been used as a centre back and even at full back. This will give trainer Heiko Herrlich a number of options in which to deploy him.
“FC Augsburg have developed really well over the past few years,” the ex-1860 Munich and Cologne midfielder said. “I’ve always followed their progress with real interest. I’m really pleased to now be at FCA, and I hope I can help play a part in the club’s development.”
Young Star: Reece Oxford
Augsburg look to be going with experience over youth this season, but a player who has already shown glimpses of his ability may be set for a breakout season.
21-year-old Englishman Reece Oxford may not have grabbed the headlines quite like compatriot Jadon Sancho since his arrival in the Bundesliga, but the fact that the Fuggerstädter made his loan move permanent last summer for a €2 million fee shows how much the value him.
Last season saw the centre back make 12 appearances (two starts) but his versatility as a potential defensive midfielder makes him an important part of the Augsburg squad. After moving to Mönchengladbach from West Ham in 2017, it could be time now for Reece Oxford to become the defensive version of Jadon Sancho.
Key Signing: Tahith Chong
Regardless of whether Milot Rashica does actually leave the Weser Stadion, the loan signing of Tahith Chong from Manchester United looks a very good piece of business from Werder Bremen.
There were many negatives from last season, but a lack of pace and ideas in attack following the loss of Max Kruse was one aspect that let the Grün-Weißen down and Chong will go a long way to rectifying that. Highly rated at Manchester United, he only signed a new contract at Old Trafford in March and has impressed hugely in the few appearances he has made for the Red Devils.
Chong is versatile enough to play on either wing, but he tends to start most regularly on the right-hand side. He is not a typical touchline-hugging winger though and does drift around the pitch as he sees fit, cutting inside on to his favoured left foot when possible.
He is adept at identifying and exploiting space ahead of him and is very difficult to man-mark due to his roaming. His pace, control, balance, and work ethic remind a little of former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs and Werder would be delighted to have even a fraction of the skill and impact the Welshman provided.
Young Star: Nick Woltemade
Last season saw striker Woltemade become Werder’s youngest-ever player beating the record of former coach Thomas Schaaf when making his debut against Augsburg in February aged just 17 years, 11 months, and 16 days.
The now 18-year-old will be looking for Florian Kohfeldt to put his faith in him more often next season as back-up to the likes of Niclas Füllkrug, Davie Selke, Yuya Osako and Josh Sargent. Yes, he is down the pecking order, but then last season none of the aforementioned strikers was exactly prolific in the goal scoring department.
Woltemade is young, hungry, and ready to prove himself at Bundesliga level., but the club are not putting too much pressure on the youngster. Johannes Eggestein was touted as being the next big thing at Bremen, but then struggled to make the breakthrough.
Kohfeldt however knows him well and is the ideal coach to give him his chances. The Bremen-born forward is one to watch in the upcoming season as Werder look to put the horror season of 2019/20 behind them.