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: Steven Zuber
The financial impact of the Corona virus crisis means that Frankfurt, like so many other topflight teams, have held back on summer signings. Just two players have been signed in striker Ragnar Ache and midfielder Steven Zuber.
Zuber signed from Hoffenheim with Mijat Gacinovic going the other way is the more likely of the two to make an impact at the Commerzbank Arena this coming season. He was limited to just 14 appearances last season in Sinsheim due to a foot injury, but he will provide plenty of offensive options for coach Adi Hütter. He can be employed on either flank as well as in a more central position behind the strikers.
Young Star: Aymen Barkok
Having spent last season on loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf, midfielder Aymen Barkok is ready to fight for a place in Adi Hütter’s Frankfurt side this season. Since bursting onto the scene with a 90th minute winner for the Adler against Werder Bremen back in November 2016, the youngster hasn’t really fulfilled his potential despite his 42 Bundesliga appearances.
The Frankfurt-born Moroccan offers something similar to Daichi Kamada and if the coach believes the 22-year-old is up to it, he could be used as a first-choice back-up for the Japanese offensive midfielder. Barkok’s first spell in the Eintracht first-team squad didn’t live up to expectations, his second spell will hopefully be more of a success.
Key Signing: Max Kruse
The signing of Max Kruse came as quite a shock when Union announced the move. After cancelling his contract with Fenerbahce and revealing his intention to return to the Bundesliga, Kruse was linked with the likes of Werder Bremen, Schalke, and Stuttgart. For Union to sign the former German international was quite the coup and will provide interesting times ahead in Köpenick.
Last season’s Bundesliga survival will look to be built upon and the potential goals and experience Kruse will bring will prove invaluable. “With Max Kruse, we were able to sign a player who has proven his quality for years both nationally and internationally,” said Union’s sporting director Oliver Ruhnert. “With his offensive qualities and Bundesliga experience, he will help us achieve our goals in the new season.”
With Sebastian Andersson expected to leave the club this summer, Union were in need of a source of goals after finishing their debut Bundesliga season in a highly respectable 11th place. Kruse has scored 74 Bundesliga goals across 250 appearances and sees the German capital as his preferred destination.
Young Star: Nico Schlotterbeck
It was a case of one Schlotterbeck brother out, and one Schlotterbeck brother in at Union Berlin this summer. With 23-year-old Kevin making 23 appearances last season in defence, he has now returned to Freiburg following the end of his loan spell. Die Eisernen have however taken his younger brother Nico on loan from the Breisgauer for the forthcoming season.
The 20-year-old centre back will be looking to have an equal impact as his older sibling at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. He will have to compete with fellow summer arrival Robin Knoche, Marvin Friedrich, and Florian Hübner for a role in central defence, but he’ll be looking to add to his 17 Bundesliga appearances thus far.