Undoubtedly, the minute I post this, Ronaldo will give up on Real Madrid and move to Hamburg, so forgive me for being premature. Let’s take a look, as the season begins, at the seven best signing so far this summer in the Bundesliga.
Christian Fuchs (SV Mattersburg to Bochum)
Austria entered the Euros as a laughing stock. By the time they gallantly exited after the defeat to Germany, there was a lot to be excited about. Perhaps that excitement will have to be tempered until 2012, when the class of last year’s U20 semi-finalists have taken over the team, but already Prodl, Harnik and Ozcan have gravitated towards our favorite league. Fuchs will be the first to make an impact. While Prodl should eventually wrestle the CB position from Naldo after the Brazilian finally causes Marcel Koller a heart attack, Fuchs will slot in immediately. And with a midfield in dire need of a talisman, he could well take that spot with his attacking flair down the left flank. Will he be enough to keep the relegation battlers up? Hard to tell, but he will be on this again next year, if they don’t stay up.
Mikael Forssell (Birmingham to Hannover)
Hannover’s biggest issue is a forward line that wouldn’t bother most AYSO travel teams. Forssell is a proven goalscorer who should add bite to their midfield bottle. Also he could pair well with Mike Hanke, who has not thrived as the only threat for the continually improving Reds.
Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen to Bayern Munich)
What to you do when part of your double pivot gets too old? Well when you’re FC Bayern, you take on a free player from your closest league rival. By securing the free transfer of German international Borowski (28) from Werder, Bayern gave themselves an upgrade in age and lateral move in ability from the Brazilian Ze Roberto (34) to partner Van Bommel in front of Schweinsteiger, Sosa, Altintop and Ribery.
Mario Eggimann (Karlsruhe to Hannover)
I loved Eggimann last year. Everyone was so high on Hajnal as the reason for Karlsruhe’s success, and he definitely played his part; however, KSC’s great early run and subsequent survival was based on their outstanding defense, including the vastly underrated Markus Millar in goal and LB Christian Eichner. Eggimann will bring composure and organization to a team that flirted with a European spot last year. He is definitely an improvement over the likes of an ancient Tarnat in front of the solid Robert Enke.
Orlando Engelaar (Twente to Schalke) and Jefferson Farfan (PSV to Schalke)
Suddenly Rutten seems poised to run a very tidy 4-2-3-1 with the ball winning Fabian Ernst coupled with the slick passing Engelaar in the double pivot, behind an attack of Ivan Rakatic, Farfan and Jermaine Jones. With Kevin Kuranyi’s ability to play the holding forward, much like a Luca Toni or Dimitar Berbatov, these two signings make Schalke a decent bet to end their long run of bad luck. Farfan’s ability to spell Kuranyi will be an added bonus and Jones ability to play back in the double pivot will allow the likes of Ze Roberto, PPA (Poor People’s Altintop) and Streit to slot in and provide depth through three competitions. This is now quite a versatile team.
Cristian Zaccardo and Andrea Barzagli (Palermo to Wolfsburg)
With the addition of former Italian RB Zaccardo and Italian CB Barzagli, Felix Magath is making one of the strongest defenses in the Bundesliga even stronger. Forget Barzagli’s howler against the Netherlands. This is one of Italy’s best center halves and he immediately becomes one of the best in the Bundesliga. It was quite a coup for Wolfsburg to land these two from Palermo, so there are few teams that have as much buzz coming into the season as Wolfsburg. If Marcelinho can make it through one more year, they could compete for a Champion’s League spot this year.
Renato Augusto (Flamenco to Bayer Leverkusen)
Bayer are right on the cusp. They have a collection of young talent that rivals any club with Adler, Barnetta, Castro, Kiessling, Vidal and Rolfes. But one of their biggest issues is the creeping age of talisman and playmaker Bernd Schneider. By picking up the next Brazilian wonder in Augusto, they look to be moving beyond Schneider and combining the creativity of this U20 international with the steady influence of Rolfes and the sharp wing play of Barnetta. If he is free from injury, he may well take the Werkself back to the Champion’s League. He will be fun to watch no matter how Leverkusen progress as a team.
and one to watch: Said Husejinovic (FK Sloboda Tuzla to Werder)
He isn’t going to make an impact at first, but I can’t believe how excited I am to see this wunderkind play. With Diego throwing his toys out with the pram, perhaps he will get time early to slot into the #10 role. By the end of the season we will be comparing the Bosnian to Ivan Rakatic.
Did I miss anyone? Please comment on who you think deserves a mention on this list. Is it Hajnal to BVB? Is it Pitroipa to HSV? Let’s hear who I missed, because undoubtedly I will have missed some good ones.