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1. Leroy Sane – Man City to FC Bayern Munich – €45 million
2019/20 proved a memorable season for FC Bayern Munchen. The Bavarian giants won their 8th straight Bundesliga title and then backed it up with both DFB Pokal and even more impressively, UEFA Champions League titles. All achieved whilst dismissing former manager Niko Kovac mid-season and replacing him with Hans-Dieter Flick who led the team to a remarkable 16 straight wins in all competitions after the resumption post-Covid break. Improving on such a feat will be tough for 2020/21, even for a club as dominant as Bayern.
However, FCB have already underlined their intention to do this by dipping into the transfer market to sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City. If 2019/20 was dreamland for Bayern, it was hell for the 24 year-old winger who played just 24 minutes of first team football in the FA Community Shield and one Premier League match. A cruciate ligament rupture suffered in the former game ruined the German international’s season before it had even begun. Having returned to his homeland, Sane will now be hoping for better injury luck and to recover his best form.
2. Jude Bellingham – Birmingham City FC to Borussia Dortmund – €26.5 million
Bayern’s closest rivals for the title last campaign once again proved to be Borussia Dortmund (game between Bayern Munch vs Borussia Dortmund is called the “Klassicher” in Germany). Despite impressing throughout the season and achieving a points total at above 2 per game, BVB were just unfortunate enough to face a Bayern side in such rampant form. Nonetheless, for now anyway, Dortmund have managed to keep hold of Jadon Sancho alongside all their other young stars and probably will represent the closest challenger to Bayern once more.
Dortmund have also increased this young star contingent even further with the signing of 17 year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City. Bellingham had a breakthrough campaign for Blues in the second-tier English Championship last season, making 41 appearances, scoring 4 goals and noting 3 assists. Impressed with what they saw in the England Under 21 International, Dortmund parted with €26.5 million to bring the youngster to Westfalenstadion for 2020/21. Bellingham has already made a quick impression, scoring a goal in a 5-0 DFB Pokal first round victory for Dortmund against third tier MSV Duisburg.
3. Thomas Meunier – PSG to Borussia Dortmund – Free Transfer
Another noteworthy purchase from Dortmund this summer comes in at right fullback. Its no exaggeration to suggest that Achraf Hakimi was one of Dortmund’s key players during their 2019/20 campaign. The young Spain-born Moroccan right-sided player, into the second of his two year loan from La Liga giants Real Madrid shone on the right flank for Dortmund throughout the campaign. His 9 goals and 10 assists in 45 games in all competitions proving this.
However, Hakimi returned to Real and then transferred permanently to Inter Milan, motivated by a desire to continue playing regular first team football. However, Dortmund have moved quick to sign what looks to be a strong replacement on paper by snapping up Thomas Meunier on a free transfer from PSG. 29 year-old Meunier has a fine pedigree having played 128 games in all competitions for the Parisien outfit in all competitions over the past four seasons in addition to having already won 41 caps for the Belgian national team.
4. Hee-chan Hwang – Red Bull Salzburg to RB Leipzig – €15 million
Perhaps the next best performing Bundesliga team if you include results in all competitions behind Bayern in 2019/20 were RB Leipzig. Julian Nagelsmann’s outfit finished 3rd place in the Bundesliga in addition to making a real breakthrough in the Champions League by reaching the Semi-Finals of the competition before losing to Paris Saint Germain. It was a major breakthrough campaign for Leipzig and Nagelsmann will be hoping for a possible title challenge in 2020/21.
Die Roten Bullen did lose Timo Werner over the summer with the young German international opting to join Premier League giants Chelsea. However, they have dipped into the transfer market to sign South Korean forward Hee-chan Hwang from Red Bull Salzburg. Hwang enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in the Austrian Bundesliga throughout 2019/20 with 16 goals and 22 assists in 40 games in all competitions. The 24 year-old will be hoping to step into Werner’s footsteps and continue Leipzig’s progress in 2020/21.
5. Hannes Wolf – RB Leipzig to Borussia Moenchengladbach – Loan
Another club who enjoyed a successful 2019/20 were Borussia Moenchengladbach. Die Fohlen (The Foals) finished 4th place in the Bundesliga securing Champions League football for 2020/21. It represented a success for 44 year-old manager Marco Rose in his first campaign in charge at Gladbach after joining the club in the summer of 2019 from Red Bull Salzburg. Rose and Gladbach will have closing the gap to 2nd and 3rd placed Dortmund and RB Leipzig as their target for 2020/21.
To aid them in this quest, Gladbach have dipped into the transfer market signing Hannes Wolf from RB Leipzig on a season long loan with an option to make the move permanent at the end of the season. Wolf was snapped up by RB Leipzig from Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2019 after some fine displays in the Austrian Bundesliga. However, before he could make his mark in Leipzig, 21 year-old Wolf, whilst playing for Austria Under 21’s in the Under 21 European Championships suffered a serious injury. This injury limited Wolf to just 5 Bundesliga appearances in 2019/20 and he has slipped down the pecking order at Leipzig. The youngster will be hoping his fresh start at Gladbach brings better luck and fortunes in 2020/21.
6. Patrik Schick – AS Roma to Bayer Leverkusen – €26.5 million
After his short and nightmarish managerial spell at Borussia Dortmund in 2017, Dutchman Peter Bosz is once again beginning to show his credentials. Since taking charge of Bayer Leverkusen in 2018, Bosz has led the Werkself to 4th and 5th placed finishes in 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively alongside finishing runners-up in the 2019/20 DFB Pokal to Bayern Munich. In an increasingly competitive group of clubs gathering behind Bayern in the Bundesliga, Leverkusen, like the aforementioned Gladbach will be looking to finish as best of the rest behind Bayern in 2020/21.
The loss of prestigious young talent Kai Havertz to Chelsea is a blow for Leverkusen. However, a decent chunk of the windfall from the sale of Havertz has been splurged on AS Roma’s Patrik Schick. The 24 year-old Czech forward, despite his struggles in the Italian capital he seems to thrive in the Bundesliga. In a loan spell at RB Leipzig last campaign, Schick netted 10 goals in 22 Bundesliga games. Form that prompted Leverkusen to swoop for his signature. Can Schick re-discover the form that made Roma snap him up from Sampdoria in 2017 once more?
7. Bartosz Bialek – Zaglebie Lubin to VfL Wolfsburg – €5 million
In all summer transfer windows of the top five European leagues, there is always a club who seems to take a gamble on an exciting young prospect from a league outside these elite leagues. Speculation then grows as a new season progresses to see whether said new young talent can make the step up and perform. Wolverhampton Wanderers have gambled on such a prospect in the English Premier League by signing 18 year-old Portuguese striker Fabio Silva from FC Porto in his homeland as an example.
For Wolves and Silva, read Wolfsburg and Bartosz Bialek in the Bundesliga. After breaking into Zaglebie Lubin’s first team just before Christmas in the 2019/20 Polish top flight season, Bialek enjoyed a major breakthrough in the second part of the campaign. The 18 year-old striker eventually finished the season with 10 goals and 4 assists in 21 senior matches for his first club in both league and cup competitions. Bialek has made that much of an impression that Wolfsburg have snapped up the young striker and he will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Pole Robert Lewandowski in Germany’s top flight both next season and beyond.
8. Alexander Schwolow – SC Freiburg to Hertha BSC – €8 million
The final signing to watch in the 2020/21 Bundesliga made so far comes courtesy of Hertha BSC Berlin. Expectations since the halfway point of last season have skyrocketed at the capital club. One man is responsible for this, new 49% shareholder Lars Windhorst. The multi-millionaire German entrepreneur based in London has ploughed vast sums of his wealth into Die Alte Dame (The Old Lady) throughout 2019/20 in an attempt to make Hertha a force in the Bundesliga.
Whilst Colombian Jhon Cordoba’s recent arrival from 1 FC Koln is Hertha’s biggest summer signing so far, the arrival which one could argue was the biggest necessity was goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow from SC Freiburg. Goalkeeper Rune Jarstein has been part of Hertha’s furniture since arriving at the club in 2014. However, the Norwegian soon turns 36 and does not have much longer left in the tank. Therefore, the signing of the aforementioned Schwolow could plug Hertha’s number one keeper position for several years should it be a success. After 12 years at Freiburg in both youth and the senior team, 28 year-old Schwolow is the latest player to sign for a club who have ambitions of chasing Champions League football in the next few seasons.