The new season of Bundesliga awaits us and we at THT take a look at 5 players whom we expect to make the most significant impact on the league.
The obvious choices from Dortmund and Bayern have not been considered here as we explore some lesser known and lesser expected stars of the 2012-13 season. Here is a list of five Bundesliga hotshots who should be setting the league on fire.
Eren Derdiyok (Hoffenheim)
After numerous false dawns and sky-high expectations at Leverkusen, Derdiyok would be hoping to fulfill his potential at Hoffenheim. Signed for an unknown fee, the Swiss international would be looking to forge a partnership with Salivohic and Babel. Markus Babbel was beaming at the prospect of working with Derdiyok, calling him “a complete striker”. In the summer, Derdiyok scored his first international hattrick against Germany in a 5-3 friendly win for the Swiss. Scoring hasn’t been the problem for Derdiyok; he just needs to find the consistency.
Troubled with injuries and lack of first team opportunities at Leverkusen, Derdiyok would be itching to set the record straight. Not much is expected from Hoffenheim, but an injury-free run in the team for Derdiyok could change all that and propel the club to an unexpectedly high league position come May. His versatility could be an assett for Babbel as he may slot up in the #9 position or play as a deep forward or as an attacking midfielder. Versatility, goals and good hold up play, makes the Swiss forward one of the players to watch.
Lars Stindl (Hannover 96)
Hannover 96 had a great run last season, reaching the Europa League last 8 and recording an impressive home form in the league. Lars Stindl was at the heart of everything that Hannover did right. Under Mirko Slomka, he has added a new dimension to his game. Consistent performances and stepping up in big games, Stindl has come a long way in the past season or two. The midfielder is only 23 and could add a lot to his already impressive overall game. His passing and composure on the ball are top drawer. Hannover created a history of sorts this season, and with not much changing over the summer would like to keep the graph upwards and rising. Slomka has the right ideas in place and could launch Stindl to new highs, transforming him into one of the elites in the league. This should be the season where he finally unleashes his talent and helps Hannover maintain their competitiveness in the league.
Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg)
Finally a Wolf in the pack, and it’s none other than 19 year old defender Ricardo Rodriguez. The Swiss defender was a part of the Switzerland U-17 World Cup squad that won the trophy in 2009 and also the Olympic squad that got eliminated in the group stages. Having arrived from FC Zurich, the 19 year old defender is one of the brightest talents in a golden generation of Swiss football. Felix Magath has Rodriguez fixed for the left back role as Schafer is now played higher up the pitch. His crossing skills and long balls catch the eye and Magath will look to work on his passing, which remains underdeveloped to say the least. At the raw age of 19, the future seems bright for this young Wolf and this could be his proper breakthrough season after arriving in January. Magath rates the defender highly and if last season is anything to go by, this could be an exciting season for Wolfsburg. Ricardo Rodriguez might just happen to be one of the reasons behind it.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
An eventful summer at Gladbach has seen star players like Dante and Reus leave for rival clubs. Despite this there is plenty of optimism heading into the season, thanks to a number of shrewd signings in Luuk De Jong and Xhaka. The one player who caught the eye last season was the gladbach keeper, Ter Stegen. A surprise exclusion from Low’s Euro 2012 squad, the young German goalkeeper will have a point to prove this season. He was one of the main reasons behind the mean and miserly Gladbach defence last season, and many believe Dortmund have earmarked him as the replacement for the aging Roman Weidenfeller.
Ter Stegen had one of the most impressive saves to shots ratio in the whole of Europe, and his displays against Bayern Munich, both home and away last season were proof enough of his humongous potential and growing stock. Sepp Maier, the legendary German goalkeeper, went on to say that Ter Stegen was better than Manuel Neuer, especially as it was Neuer’s error that led to Gladbach’s goals. The comparisons had already started last season, and another season of inspired performances from the 20 year old could ignite the goalkeeping debate in Germany yet again. Till then, keep an eye out for this young, yet mature goalkeeper as Die Fohlen look to conquer both Europe and Germany.
Claudio Pizarro (Bayern Munich)
Peculiar choice this might seem. Youngster? No. Unproven? No. New to the league? No. Experienced, proven and heavily successful Pizarro is one to look out for this season. Bayern Munich spent an entire summer looking for forwards, and ended up adding Pizarro and Mandzukic to their lineup. An old warhorse, Pizarro knows where the net is and would be a valuable option for Bayern, especially after Gomez’s injury. Having experienced some of his career highs during his 7 year spell at Munich, the Peru international could not only add an experienced head but also a more killer instinct among the players. He may not be the same dominating forward of yesteryear, but as he showed at Bremen in the past couple of seasons, he has goals in him. Apart from the obvious goalscoring threat, Pizarro will also add a certain variety in attack. Despite all of Gomez’s qualities he tends to go missing, in big games especially. The 33 year old was involved in 47% of the goals for Bremen last season, and would hope to be a focal point for Bayern’s attacks as well. He may no longer be a sure starter, but in his second stint Pizarro could make all the difference for the club. Be it scoring off the bench, or scoring goals for fun, Pizarro has done it all and will be Bayern’s trump card.
Noted omissions: Dante (Bayern Munich), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Joel Matip (Schalke 04), Juan Arango (Gladbach), Jan Moravek (Augsburg).