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: Sebastian Andersson
With Jhon Córdoba departing for Hertha Berlin, Effzeh have acted quickly in signing a replacement forward in the form of Sebastian Andersson. He has signed a three-year deal for a fee believed to be around €6m.
Last season, no Bundesliga player won more aerial battles than the Swede, whose attacking threat and presence will provide Köln a formidable target up front. The 29-year-old stood out with his impressive displays for Die Eisernen, with his twelve Bundesliga goals helping his team comfortably survive their first top-flight campaign. Should he have a similar impact for Die Geißböcke this season, expect them to finish significantly higher than the previous year’s 14th-placed finish.
“Sebastian is a physically strong player, who is strong in the air and on the ground – he is a player with a fantastic mentality. He has made more than 100 appearances at the highest level and has constantly proven his ability to score goals,” Cologne managing director Horst Heldt said of the new addition.
Young Star: Noah Katterbach
Having made 18 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, Noah Katterbach has firmly entrenched himself into Köln’s first-team squad ahead of the upcoming campaign. If not for some minor injuries, the 18-year-old could have certainly earned more than the 16 starts Markus Gisdol awarded him throughout the year, given his solid performances defensively for Die Geißböcke.
Despite being involved in just over half of the club’s Bundesliga season, only the recently released Louis Schaub averaged more successful dribbles per game than the teenager (1.7), who also averaged the fourth-highest number of interceptions amongst his teammates (1.6).
Recently, the left-back was recognised as one of Germany’s top youth prospects by being awarded the Gold Fritz-Walter Medal in the U19 category. With club captain Jonas Hector primed to continue his midfield role under Gisdol, Katterbach will have plenty of opportunities to make the wide position his own this season.
Key Signing: Valentino Lazaro
A versatile player who has predominantly been fielded on the right-flank, winger Valentino Lazaro is one of only three additions made by Borussia Mönchengladbach this summer. He has joined on a season-long loan deal from Inter and has previously spent two years on loan at Hertha Berlin before his move to Italy.
The Austrian international is a confident dribbler of the ball who loves to use his pace to beat his marker before utilising his strong crossing skills to create opportunities for his teammates. His strengths should make him a good fit for Marco Rose’s counter-attacking style of football, and his ability to play in multiple positions suggests he’ll gain plenty of minutes for Die Fohlen over the course of the new season.
“We’re very happy that the loan agreement went well and that Tino decided on Borussia,” said Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl. “He’s a very flexible player who will give our squad even more quality and depth.”
Young Star: Hannes Wolf
Another newcomer to Borussia-Park, Hannes Wolf will be hoping to reignite his young career at Gladbach. Having just recovered from a broken leg, he has arrived on a season-long loan deal from RB Leipzig, with Die Borussen also having the option to make his stay permanent at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old is a versatile attacking player who can play in a number of positions and can be relied upon to both score and create chances for his teammates. Often able to find pockets of space in the final third, he’s a major threat on the ball, while also being willing to press his opponents when out of possession.
Indeed, it was Rose who got the best out of Wolf while at Red Bull Salzburg, and the German manager recently said: “Hannes is an important factor for us. Not only does he give us depth, he also makes us better up front.”