With the Hinrunde done and dusted, and slightly more than a week before the Bundesliga season re-commences, each of the 18 top tier clubs have been hard at work looking to boost their squads in the winter break. Although the winter transfer window is somewhat of an underutilized asset by the Bundesliga clubs, they have managed to not only bring in talented players, but have done good business in the process.
Here are the top 4 players on the move, ranked on the basis of value and importance of the move to the player and the club:
4. Levin Öztunali – Loan move from Bayer Leverkusen to Werder Bremen
Germany has always boasted of a large number of talented youngsters and Levin Öztunali is perhaps the most talented of the bunch. Mere 18 years of age, and the grandson of West German legend, Uwe Seeler, Öztunali joined Leverkusen from Hamburg in 2013 where his development continued at a rapid rate, but the youngster couldn’t manage to break into the first team since. What better way to do this, than a loan move?
Struggling Werder have often looked weak in midfield, and the creativity of Öztunali could be a useful addition. Considering his potential and brilliance in the youth leagues, getting as much playing time as possible should be Öztunali’s goal for the season, and if he continues the same way, a new German superstar will be born in the near future.
3. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Loan move from Bayern Munich to FC Augsburg
The second youngster on the list, and perhaps just as talented, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is already a Denmark international at the age of 19. The Dane has already made 25 appearances for Bayern since 2012, but the sheer quality of the squad prevents him from enjoying more playing time. His contract extension and subsequent loan to Augsburg represents business at its finest by the Bavarians – wait till Hojbjerg matures and get him back after a few years!
Capable of playing anywhere in midfield and as a right-back as well, Hojberg could be the ideal partner for Daniel Baier in Augsburg’s energetic side, and prove to his parent club that he has what it takes to be in a top team.
2. Matija Nastasic – Loan move from Manchester City to Schalke 04
Schalke have often struggled defensively in 2014, with injuries taking their toll on a fragile squad. Top teams like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have embarrassed the defence and Benedikt Howedes has often looked lost without any support from the rest of the defence. Joel Matip and Sead Kolasinac maybe great defenders in the future, but unfortunate injuries to both have put Schalke in a delicate position. Enter Matija Nastasic. From one of Europe’s best defenders to an underutilized bench warmer – the story hasn’t been good for the Serbian in 2014. Now, on loan at the Gelsenkirchen club, a side aspiring to be a force in Europe, this is a perfect transfer for all parties. With just a 10 million fee to make the transfer permanent, the Royal Blues are placed in pole position to claim the young defender – who is ready to take the Bundesliga by storm.
1. Kevin Kampl – RB Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund
Signed for 12 million from Austrian side RB Salzburg, the Leverkusen youth product had attracted attention from Europe’s top clubs, before the player decided to opt for the German side. In what has a been a terrible and morale depleting season for Borussia Dortmund so far, the Slovenian international could well be the man to turn things around for the Black and Yellows. He has been in great from since the last season – having scored and assisted over 30 goals, and has arguably been the standout player of this season’s Europa League.
A quick and versatile attacking midfielder who boasts of excellent dribbling skills, Kampl has been likened to teammate Marco Reus by his former colleagues at Salzburg. With Henrikh Mkhitaryan not able to convert his contribution to the team in the form of goals, Marco Reus possibly leaving the club and Shinji Kagawa still out of form, Kampl could be the much needed spark to get his team back on track, and perhaps even light up the Bundesliga with his magic.