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Five summer signings who will thrive in the Bundesliga this season

 • by Sam McGuire
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The Bundesliga returns tonight with champions Bayern Munich kicking things off in Bavaria against Hertha.

Niko Kovač’s star-studded squad has been added to this summer, with the 29-time German champions recruiting Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez and one-time Borussia Dortmund player Ivan Perišić. 

But their rivals for their Bundesliga crown have also strengthened with BVB using the money received from Christian Pulisic’s sale to Chelsea to sign Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard.

Another two-horse race for the title seems likely but given the signings made by many of the top-flight German clubs, this could be the most competitive season for quite some time. 

Here, we take a look at five players expected to impress, all of whom happen to be new summer signings. 

Hannes Wolf

RB Leipzig have quietly gone about their business during this transfer window, adding Wolf, Ademola Lookman and Christopher Nkunku to an attack already containing Timo Werner, Jean-Kévin Augustin, Yussuf Poulsen and Matheus Cunha.

New manager Julian Nagelsmann has trialled different formations in pre-season as he searched for the perfect balance. One thing is for sure, however, they won’t be short of firepower.

In Wolf, they have a long-term replacement for Emil Forsberg and potentially a big upgrade on the Swedish playmaker. During the 2018/19 campaign for Red Bull Salzburg, the versatile attacker averaged 0.49 goals and 0.31 assists per 90 in the Austrian league.

If he hits the ground running, Leipzig will have yet another goal threat, one which could help fire them to the Bundesliga title.

Diadie Samassékou

Red Bull Salzburg have been raided this summer. Samassékou made the switch to Hoffenheim and has everything required to dominate in Germany just as he did in Austria.

He’s followed in the footsteps of Naby Keïta, who earned a move to Liverpool after two seasons in the Bundesliga.

The 23-year-old isn’t a goalscorer, just 0.04 per 90 last season, and he’s not a creative hub, averaging the same number of assists, but he is a wrecking ball in that middle third and a tempo-setter.

Samassékou averaged over seven interceptions in the league during the 2018/19 campaign, competed in 6.5 defensive duels and averaged 3.5 aerial battles per 90. He is fairly press resistant, too, completing on average 60 per cent of the 2.1 dribbles he attempted.

The Mali international could be the engine room for this revamped Hoffenheim side. 

Moussa Diaby

Bayer Leverkusen have the potential to be one of the surprise packages of the season.

They may have lost Brandt but they’ve made intelligent signings in Kerem Demirbay, Nadiem Amiri and Diaby. The most exciting arrival happens to be the former PSG man.

An explosive winger with the ability to beat players in any area of the pitch, the 20-year-old injects an unpredictability to the Leverkusen side. Last season in Ligue 1, Diaby attempted over five dribbles per 90 and compelted over 50 per cent of them.

His expected goals average of 0.16 wasn’t remarkable but his real value was as a creator with his expected goals assist average coming in at 0.31 last term.

He’s going to cause havoc out wide and that will benefit Kai Havertz, who will have more space in central areas. It’s an exciting prospect.

Marcus Thuram

The 22-year-old ranked fifth in Ligue 1 for successful take-ons per 90 minutes (3.78) last season, ahead of the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Nicolas Pépé and Nabil Fekir.

It’s a statistic all the more astonishing when considered he played for a team who ultimately were relegated and which averaged just a 44.6 per cent share of possession.

That’s the sort of player Borussia Möchengladbach have signed from Guingamp and Die Fohlen are one of the most intriguing clubs heading into the new campaign.

They hired former Red Bull Salzburg manager Marco Rose as manager and have made shrewd signings in Thuram and Breel Embolo from rivals Schalke.

Naturally right-footed, Thuram is a threat when cutting inside and driving into space to shoot. But he is also proficient with his left foot and that enables him to bolt for the byline and deliver dangerous crosses.

It makes him a difficult proposition for opposition full-backs to defend against and in a struggling Guingamp side, Thuram averaged 0.3 goals and attempted over nine dribbles per 90.

Gladbach have better players and a coach known for believing in attacking talent. He could be a revelation.

Dejan Joveljić

Eintracht Frankfurt found their Luka Jović replacement in the shape of his doppelgänger.

The comparisons between the two don’t end off the pitch, either. The 19-year-old, like Jović, is a predator. And despite his tender years, he’s already perfected the craft of being in the right place at the right time.

A natural finisher, everything about Joveljić’s play in the area is instinctive – the one sole aim is to put the ball into the back of the net.

Of course, strikers are all paid to do that but only a handful have the hunger which sees them score goals in unconventional ways. Joveljić is part of this exclusive club.

If Eintracht Frankfurt are to make waves again in the Bundesliga, the teenager is going to be key to that. He needs to replace Jović and Haller’s goals. It’s going to be fun watching him try.

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