Bundesliga 2020/21 Ones to Watch: Hoffenheim & Bayer Leverkusen

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.

Hoffenheim

Key Signing: Mijat Gacinovic

Aside from returning striker João Klauss, who has spent the last two seasons on loan in Finland and Austria, the only real arrival in Sinsheim is offensive midfielder Mijat Gacinovic, who is a 3 million signing from Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 25-year-old Serbian has spent the past five seasons at the Commerzbank Arena notching up 116 Bundesliga appearances and most notably helping the Adler win the DFB Pokal in 2018. It was his lung-busting run, which helped score the third goal in stoppage time during Frankfurt’s 3-1 win over Bayern Munich.

With Steven Zuber moving in the opposite direction sporting director Alexander Rosen explained, “We’re losing a real constant in our squad, but gaining a highly exciting player with a profile we haven’t recently had. We’re excited to have signed a versatile, technical, strong and fast midfielder who gives us many options with his skills both on the ball and when pressing or counter-pressing.”

Young Star: Melayro Bogarde

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Last season saw the emergence of attacker Christoph Baumgartner as a star at Hoffenheim, but this season could see the breakout youngster coming from the defence. Melayro Bogarde will be one to keep an eye on this season as he tries to force his way into new trainer Sebastian Hoeness’ plans.

Having only made his first team debut at the tail end of last season there is already a host of European clubs putting out their feelers for the 18-year-old Dutchman and nephew of former Ajax, Milan, and Chelsea star Winston Bogarde. When he joined the Hoffenheim U-17 side from Feyenoord in 2018 he was already being courted by the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, but the Bundesliga is where he chose to being his topflight career.

The centre back can also play ay full back as well as in a central defensive midfield position. Should he shine this season, expect the ‘big’ clubs to be sending their scouts on regular missions to the Prezero Arena this season.

Bayer Leverkusen

Key Signing: Patrik Schick

The loss of both Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland has removed a large chunk of Leverkusen’s goals from last season, but the hope is that Czech striker Patrik Schick can go some way to replacing them.

It had been thought the 24-year-old striker was going to make his loan move at RB Leipzig permanent after scoring 10 goals in 28 competitive appearances last season, but the Sachsen side baulked at paying Roma’s transfer fee. With the money from the sale of Havertz banked, the Werkself wasted no time at all in paying the €26.5 million.

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“With Patrik Schick we have signed an internationally renowned centre-forward who has shown his scoring qualities in both Serie A and in the Bundesliga very impressively and consistently,” said Bayer sporting director Rudi Völler.

Young Star: Florian Wirtz

One of the players who grabbed the most headlines during the Geisterspiele at the end of last season was undoubtedly Bayer Leverkusen’s 17-year-old Florian Wirtz. He was surprisingly handed his full debut against Werder Bremen on matchday 26 and then duly broke Nuri Sahin’s youngest Bundesliga scorer record when he scored against Bayern Munich as a substitute aged 17 years and 34 days.

Wirtz was rather controversially lured away from the 1.FC Köln youth system and signed to the Werkself. “I knew a lot of clubs were interested and then we thought that before he went anywhere else, let’s try to get him to join us and stay at home. I’ve known the player since he was 14.” head of youth Simon Rolfes said.

About Mathew Burt 196 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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