And with that, the Bundesliga’s January transfer window is over, just like across most of Europe.
The winter Deadline Day was relatively quiet, despite it being the last chance for any club to bring in fresh faces before the end of the season – other than free transfers for out-of-contract players, of course.
The 18 clubs in Germany’s top flight have spent more than €550m this campaign (as per Transfermarkt), although Isco‘s proposed move to Union Berlin, which fell through at the last minute, has attracted more attention than some completed deals.
The end of this transfer window gives us the perfect opportunity to rank the best Bundesliga signings of the season. Be warned, though – our list is just our opinion and is not definitive!
All playing stats and transfer fees have been taken from Transfermarkt to ensure consistency.
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10. Michael Gregoritsch, Augsburg to Freiburg, free transfer
Gregoritsch had scored just 17 goals in his previous three Bundesliga seasons when Freiburg decided to take the Austrian international to the Schwarzwald from Augsburg, with Ermedin Demirovic going in the opposite direction.
However, the 28-year-old adapted remarkably to life at his new club, scoring three in his first five league matches.
Freiburg continue to shine towards the summit of the division and, not only has Gregoritsch provided a focal point up front, he has found the back of the net with important regularity throughout the term.
9. Patrick Wimmer, Arminia Bielefeld to Wolfsburg, €5m
As Bielefeld were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga last year, Wimmer was one of the side’s few bright sparks. It was, therefore, no surprise to see Wolfsburg swoop for the forward, paying €5m for his services.
The Austrian has not always been a guaranteed starter under Niko Kovac and has been hampered by injuries, but it is clear he possesses plenty of talent.
As the season has progressed, his role has grown in importance, and it is perhaps no coincidence that his first real run of matches coincided with an upturn in Wolfsburg’s form. One to keep an eye on for the future.
8. Josip Juranovic, Celtic to Union Berlin, €8.55m
Juranovic was one of the World Cup’s breakout stars at the end of last year and, with Chelsea among the clubs interested in him, he was always going to be on the move in January.
It was his destination, therefore, rather than his winter transfer that was unexpected. Union Berlin cannot compete with those Premier League clubs in terms of finances, but their continued excellence toward the summit of German football makes them an attractive option.
With club captain Christopher Trimmel not getting any younger, a new right-back was necessary, and Juranovic hit the ground running in the capital, providing an assist on his debut against Werder Bremen. His arrival at the Stadion An der Alten Foresterei was a coup for Union, and he feels like the perfect fit.
7. Diogo Leite, Porto to Union Berlin, loan
Much of Union’s success this campaign has been built on their reliable backline, with the Eisernen managing the third-best defensive record across the first 17 matchdays.
Leite, who joined from Porto in the summer until the end of the season, has been crucial to Union’s rise. Not only has he shown great awareness and strength, but he is also a calm presence in possession and can read the game immensely.
Unfortunately, Urs Fischer’s side may find it hard to keep the 24-year-old beyond this term, although qualification for the Champions League would be a significant boost to their chances of doing so.
6. Timo Werner, Chelsea to RB Leipzig, €20m
Werner‘s spell at Chelsea did not go as planned, meaning there will have been few Blues supporters who were sorry to see the back of the Germany international when he returned to Leipzig during the summer.
Before his switch to Stamford Bridge, though, Werner scored 95 goals in 159 outings for Leipzig, and his displays this term show he clearly feels comfortable in Saxony. He scored on his second debut for the Rotenbullen, and struck a hattrick in the first round of the DFB-Pokal too.
He has been a regular under Marco Rose and contributed with goals and assists throughout. It is good to see him enjoying his football again.
5. Joao Cancelo, Manchester City to Bayern Munich, loan
Cancelo‘s move to Germany from the Premier League champions came out of the blue. After all, the Portugal international has been one of Man City‘s best players over the past couple of seasons and has also been one of their most threatening outlets.
However, a lack of starts under Pep Guardiola convinced him to make the switch to Bayern, where he will surely have a starring role.
Should he impress at the Allianz Arena, the Bavarians have the option to sign him permanently for €70m in six months. If Cancelo plays anywhere near the peak of his ability, that sum could well be a steal.
4. Mitchell Weiser, Bayer Leverkusen to Werder Bremen, free transfer
Niclas Fullkrug’s clinical finishing has dominated the Bremen headlines, but Weiser’s showings are also worthy of recognition as Werder have settled well in the Bundesliga after one season in the second tier.
The former Bayern youngster had previously struggled to show the full extent of his potential, but he has stood out in Ole Werner’s side this term.
Going forward, he has been particularly dangerous, providing numerous assists and even chipping in with the odd goal. While he didn’t quite make it into Hansi Flick’s World Cup squad, the fact he was even part of the discussion shows how far he has come.
3. Mario Gotze, PSV to Eintracht Frankfurt, €3m
The career of Gotze had, for a long while, felt like a cautionary tale. A prodigy at Borussia Dortmund, he was attracted by the bright lights of Bayern but, after scoring the winner in the 2014 World Cup final, the level of his performances decreased significantly.
The fact that he cost Frankfurt just €3m despite him only being 30 was an indication of his downfall. However, he has looked rejuvenated with the Adler, and has begun to return to his best level.
Frankfurt have benefitted from his vision and technical ability, and his displays even earned him a place on the plane to Qatar as part of Germany‘s World Cup squad.
2. Matthias Ginter, Borussia Monchengladbach to Freiburg, free transfer
Ginter has long been one of Germany’s most well-respected centre-backs, with just shy of 50 caps for his country and spells with Dortmund and Gladbach, two of the Bundesliga’s biggest clubs. As such, there were a few raised eyebrows when he chose Freiburg as his next destination last summer despite being in his prime.
While Ginter has a previous connection to Freiburg, having come through the club’s youth ranks, he probably could have chosen a more glamorous and renowned outfit. Regardless of whether that is the case, he has been invaluable as Christian Streich‘s side go in search of Champions League qualification.
The centre-half’s class and experience are there for all to see, and Freiburg have every chance of finishing in the top four for only the second time in their history with him at the back.
1. Randal Kolo Muani, Nantes to Eintracht Frankfurt, free transfer
Frankfurt have a track record of signing exciting forwards and getting fantastic results – Ante Rebic, Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Andre Silva are just some of the players who have made big moves on the back of their performances for the current Europa League champions.
Eintracht will hope he stays around for a while longer, but you may be able to add Kolo Muani to that list in the future. Whether in the Bundesliga, Pokal or Champions League, the Frenchman has been influential and is a handful for any defence.
His performance for France in the World Cup final gave them a chance of victory, and he could well end up being the Bundesliga’s Player of the Season if he keeps this form up. And to think he was a relative unknown a few months ago.
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