Five rea­sons to watch Ger­man foot­ball this year

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AHEAD of the start of the 2016-17 Bun­desliga sea­son to­mor­row, AFP Sports takes a look at the five big­gest in­com­ing trans­fers of the close sea­son in Ger­many:

Alen Halilovic (CRO) Barcelona (ESP) to Ham­burg, 5 mil­lion eu­ros (US$5.6m) Halilovic was 16 when he made his pro­fes­sional de­but for Di­namo Za­greb and hav­ing been billed as Croa­tia’s ‘next big thing’, he was snapped up by Barcelona in May 2014.

The at­tack­ing mid­fielder scored four goals in 29 matches for Barcelona B over the course of the 2014-15 cam­paign, but made just one Copa del Rey ap­pear­ance for the first team.

On loan at Sport­ing Gi­jon, his in­jec­tion of class meant he made 36 ap­pear­ances in 2015-16, net­ting three goals and five as­sists to earn the the nick­name ‘Gua­jlilovic’, a play on ‘El Guaje’ (the Kid).

The 20-year-old missed out on a place in Croa­tia’s Euro 2016 squad, but scored his first goal for Ham­burg in their 1-0 win at Zwickau on Au­gust 22 in the Ger­man Cup – eight min­utes af­ter com­ing off the bench.

“That I scored with my first chance is re­ally great. I hope that more goals will fol­low,” he said af­ter his de­but in the Cup’s first round.

Ous­mane Dem­bele (FRA) Rennes (FRA) to Borus­sia Dort­mund, re­port­edly 15 mil­lion eu­ros ($16.8m) The 18-year-old winger joined Rennes as a 13-year-old in 2010 and only made his French league de­but in Novem­ber 2015, but is al­ready one of France’s bright­est tal­ents.

He has said his dream is to play for Barcelona and last sea­son he scored 12 goals in 26 French league games, in­clud­ing a hat-trick in the derby against Nantes last March.

Dem­bele was named France’s Young Player of the Year for 2015-16 and can play on ei­ther wing.

He an­nounced him­self for Dort­mund with a stun­ning goal in a 4-1 win against Man­ches­ter United on their tour of China last month.

“Dem­bele uses both his feet and has great drib­bling skills. He can do any­thing,” said Dort­mund coach Thomas Tuchel.

Re­nato Sanches (POR) Ben­fica (POR) to Bay­ern Mu­nich, 35 mil­lion eu­ros ($39.2m) The 19-year-old de­fen­sive mid­fielder is al­ready a Euro­pean cham­pion hav­ing helped Por­tu­gal win the Euro 2016 ti­tle.

De­spite stand­ing a mod­est 1.76m, he has plenty of pace and power and has com­pleted a me­te­oric rise in the past 12 months.

He net­ted his first goal for Ben­fica last De­cem­ber, then made his Por­tu­gal de­but in a 2-1 de­feat to Bul­garia in March.

At 18 years and 328 days, he broke Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s record as the youngest player to ap­pear in a Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship fi­nal and picked up the award for the Young Player of the tour­na­ment.

Hav­ing signed for Bay­ern in May, his fu­ture em­ploy­ers were pleased to have tied him down to a five-year deal be­fore his break­through in France.

“He has ex­tra­or­di­nary tal­ents. Bay­ern would not have been able to af­ford him had we tried to sign him af­ter the Eu­ros,” said Bay­ern chair Karl-Heinz Rum­menigge.

Mario Gomez Fiorentina (ITA) to VfL Wolfs­burg, re­port­edly 7 mil­lion eu­ros ($7.9m) Af­ter three years spent abroad, the Bun­desliga’s most pro­lific striker in the last ten years is back in Ger­many.

Since the 2006-07 sea­son, Gomez has scored 132 goals in 197 Ger­man league games mak­ing him the Bun­desliga’s top scorer over the last decade.

Gomez has adapted his game and proved he can cre­ate chances as well as fin­ish them when his crisp cross led to Me­sut Ozil’s goal in the quar­ter­fi­nals of Euro 2016.

He won the 2007 Bun­desliga ti­tle with Stuttgart be­fore sign­ing for Bay­ern Mu­nich for a then-record 30 mil­lion eu­ros in 2009 and was the league’s top scorer with 28 goals in 2010-11.

He lost his place in the 2012-13 sea­son, when Bay­ern won the tre­ble, and a move to Fiorentina back­fired, as he scored just seven times in two sea­sons in Italy and was left out of Ger­many’s tri­umphant 2014 World Cup squad.

But a rein­vig­o­rat­ing loan spell at Be­sik­tas saw him fin­ish as the Turk­ish league’s top scorer last sea­son with 26 goals in 33 ap­pear­ances.

His aim for the 2016-17 sea­son is to get Wolfs­burg back in the Cham­pi­ons League.

“The team and I both share the same hunger to be suc­cess­ful,” he said.

Marc Bar­tra (ESP) Barcelona (ESP) to Borus­sia Dort­mund for 8 mil­lion eu­ros ($9m) Bar­tra made his Barcelona de­but un­der Pep Guardi­ola in Fe­bru­ary 2010 and has won the Cham­pi­ons League twice, the Span­ish league ti­tle five times and the Club World Cup.

But hav­ing made just 59 ap­pear­ances in seven sea­sons at Barcelona, his best spell the 2013-14 cam­paign when he played 20 times in Spain’s top flight, he found him­self rel­e­gated to third- or fourth-choice cen­tre-back un­der Luis En­rique.

His quest for reg­u­lar first-team foot­ball has brought him to Ger­many and with Car­les Puyol as his agent, he has a Span­ish le­gend in his cor­ner.

Bar­tra has plenty of pace and is known for his smooth pass­ing.

He is good in the air and can also play at right-back, pro­vid­ing Thomas Tuchel with plenty of op­tions. –

Photo: AFP

Ar­gentina’s Lionel Messi (cen­tre) bat­tles through what ap­pears to be the en­tire Chilean de­fence dur­ing the Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario fi­nal in East Ruther­ford, New Jersey, United States, on June 26.

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