The Bundesliga’s stock is certainly on the rise. Excitement, controversy, world-class individuals, electrifying atmospheres and promising youngsters – they’re all key ingredients to the Bundesliga’s revival recipe. German Football is certainly catching the imagination of many a Football fan. It’s certainly caught mine.
This Summer has seen its fair share of comings and goings from Germany’s premier division. Yet, unlike some of its European counterparts, German football’s managed to keep it’s real stars, while adding a few too. Germans have always had a stereotypical tag of being rather efficient hung around their necks, and this Summer’s only enhanced that life-long stereotype. Here are, in my opinion, Bundesliga’s bargain bucket buys from the Summer, in reverse order;
5. Tranquillo Barnetta – Bayer Leverkusen to Schalke 04 – Free Transfer
The cultured Swiss midfielder has been a great servant to the Bundesliga. Arriving in Leverkusen from hometown club St. Gallen in 2004, Barnetta has flourished and developed into a more than decent wide midfielder – a justified reward for his 8-year tenure at Bayer Leverkusen. On many an occasion, he was the only light in a sometimes dim Leverkusen side.
Capable of performing anywhere in midfield, or even at fullback, he’ll be a welcome addition to die Schalke mannschaft. He’ll add versatility, as well as an air of experience, which every title-contending squad needs. And, on a free transfer, it may be a stroke of artistic influence from the usually bold Huub Stevens.
4. Oliver Kirch – Kaiserslautern to Borussia Dortmund – €380,000
Oliver Kirch – das dienstprogramm spieler. That, roughly translated, is ‘The Utility Player’. That’s exactly what Oliver Kirch is: a hard-working, experienced Bundesliga utility player. Primarily a holding midfielder, he’s equally as comfortable playing at fullback. Often the unsung hero, last season, in Kaiserslautern’s starting XI.
Kirch, a rather poignant return to the no-fuss football player, will certainly pull his weight. As the season develops, €380,000 will look increasingly like an astute signing by Jürgen Klopp.
3. Tobias Mikkelsen – FC Nordsjælland to Greuther Fürth – €440,000
Mikkelsen moved to FC Nordsjælland in ’09 in a move which certainly benefited his career. Making over 75 appearances in three years, Mikkelsen became a big fish in the relatively small Nordsjælland pond. His best season, to date, was certainly his most recent. Helping Nordsjælland to their first Danish Superliga title and participating in Denmark’s Euro 2012 campaign.
Mikkelsen had earned the attention of many a club. So much so, he made the quick hop over the border to Fürth, with half-a-million €’s going in the other direction. His direct dribbling, coupled with his clinical nature in front of goal, he’ll certainly be a player to watch during this BuLi season.
2. Milan Badelj – Dinamo Zagreb to SV Hamburg – €3.8 million
Making his debut for Croatia’s most illustrious club team, Dinamo Zagreb, as a 18-year old, Badelj certainly hasn’t looked back. Making a name for himself withing Croatian football, he’s now spread his wings and made the trip to the Bundesliga, a league in which young talent thrives.
Milan Badelj is another promising addition to a delicious-looking Hamburg midfield, especially with Rafael Van der Vaart returning to his spiritual Hamburg home.
Badelj holds plenty of potential which has yet to be fulfilled. For club and country. Hamburg, the Bundesliga and under Thörsten Fink’s managerial experience, he’s definitely in the right environment to achieve big things.
1. Dante – Borussia M’Gladbach to Bayern München – €4.6 million
His LOSC Lille career could well be classed as a calamity. Arriving in France from Brazilian side Juventude, Dante only managed to rack up a measly 12 appearances in 2 seasons. Despite his early failure in neighboring France, a 4-year Belgian adventure certainly saw the burly, Afro-endorsing centre-back flourish.
He’s finally reached the pinnacle of his European career. Three years at Borussia Mönchengladbach, who he joined from Standard Liège, showcased what he’s all about. Comfortable on the ball, dominant in the air yet fleet-footed over 10-or-so yards. He’s an all-round battler of a centre-half – and definitely a player who’s suited for the Bundesliga.
Last season, along with Marco Reus, he was Gladbach’s stand out performer, and often saviour. Even at €4.6 million, which is certainly isn’t a ‘back pocket’ sum of money (even for Bayern!), he may well be the most inspired signing of the Bundesliga…
Ultimately, whatever the prices were for the new arrivals, let us enjoy another, sure-to-be, exciting Bundesliga season.
As first seen on Midfield Metronome.