More money and talent was exchanged this January than ever before. Coutinho, finally, is playing at Camp Nou and Alexis Sanchez has traded places with Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the Premier League. In the Bundesliga, several moves have the potential to give teams at the bottom of the table a big push in their fight to remain in the top flight, while allowing teams at the top of the table to enhance their chances of qualifying for European competition or even winning a title. Below, we take a look at the seven transfers that could have the biggest implications for the league table as the season nears its end.
#7 Nigel de Jong | Galatasary to Mainz 05
Nigel de Jong has played for some of the best teams around Europe (and the LA Galaxy) before joining Galatasaray. Additionally, he was part of the Netherlands World Cup squad that made it all the way to the final in 2010.There’s no disputing the fact that de Jong brings a lot of experience, toughness, and character to the squad. Sitting 16th in the Bundesliga with a goal differential of -13, Mainz is desperate to bolster their defensive prowess. Nigel de Jong will hopefully provide some stability in the center of the field as a holding midfielder. At the age of 33, the Dutchman is doing well to still be playing in the Bundesliga. Will his wisdom and experience help Mainz stay in the top flight?
#6 Marko Pjaca | Juventus to Schalke 04
Schalke fans can enjoy watching the 22-year-old Croatian winger on loan from Juventus until the end of the season. After Bayern, the top of the Bundesliga table is extremely tight. Just 6 points separate 2nd place Leverkusen from 8th place Augsburg. Schalke, tied on points with Dortmund, is right in that mix of teams striving for a Champions League spot next season. They need goal-scoring prowess to accomplish their goal. Young and dynamic Marko Pjaca is equipped to help with that. Pjaca scored in his Schalke debut, a friendly against Genk. Are there more goals to come as Pjaca takes on his new task with Schalke?
#5 Sandro Wagner | Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich
There has long been a debate in Munich about Bayern missing a viable option at the Striker position behind Robert Lewandowski. The Bavarians hope to have found that in hometown boy Sandro Wagner. After starting his career in Bayern’s youth academy, Wagner moved around Germany for a number of years. His resurgence began at Darmstadt. Since the ‘15/’16 season, he has scored 33 goals for Darmstadt and Hoffenheim. Wagner also scored 5 times in 7 appearances for the national team. The self-proclaimed “best German striker” now arrives back at Bayern, ready to perform. He did so in his most recent game, tapping home a cross against his former club Hoffenheim. It remains to be seen if this move will give Sandro a better chance at a call up for the World Cup squad.
#4 Mario Gomez | Wolfsburg to VFB Stuttgart
Gomez is another Striker returning home. Playing Stuttgart up until 08/09, he won his first Bundesliga title and scored 63 goals over 4 seasons. Gomez returns to see Stuttgart near the relegation zone. With one of the worst offenses in the league, having scored only 16 total goals thus far, Gomez hopes to provide a spark. Just this past weekend, he grabbed an important equalizer to rescue a point in a 1-1 draw against his former club, Wolfsburg. New manager Tayfun Korkut is turning things in the right direction for Stuttgart. Similarly to Wagner, Gomez wants to impress Jogi Löw ahead of the World Cup. Some of Gomez’s 31 International goals have been crucial in the past for Germany. If he can get his performances back on track, and potentially save Stuttgart from relegation, there’s a chance that the 32-year-old could make the World Cup squad.
#3 Simon Terodde | Stuttgart to FC Cologne (Köln)
At the Bundesliga halfway-mark, Cologne was hopeless, sitting at the bottom of the table, with just 6 points from 17 matches. Three games into the new year, the outlook is already much better. A new hope, Star Wars fans could call it. That hope is Simon Terodde. With a new coach and Terodde at the forefront of Cologne’s attack, the club has already earned more points in January than they did in the first half of the season. A big reason for that is Simon Terodde, who scored a 95th minute game-winner in his first game against rivals Gladbach, followed by a brace against Hamburg, who are now just 4 points ahead of Cologne in the table. Thanks to Terodde, The Billy Goats are alive.
#2 Leon Goretzka | Schalke to Bayern Munich (in the summer)
Goretzka won’t move to Bayern until the summer, but the papers have been signed. As one of Germany’s most promising young talents, Goretzka has been the subject of numerous rumors. Up until the last minute, Schalke fans hoped he would extend his contract. He has scored 19 goals and assisted 14 in 132 games for Schalke. Turning down offers from various big-name clubs around Europe, Goretzka signed with the German giants. The 22-year old will follow in the footsteps of Bayern midfield legends such as Matthäus, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, and many more. The potential is there for Goretzka to become one of those legends, and we will likely see more of his talent on display in Russia this summer.
#1 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal
After 4-and-a-half years at Dortmund, the drama and rumors surrounding Aubameyang finally came to a close. The Gabonian Striker is a Gunner. In 213 games for Dortmund, Aubameyang scored 141 goals and tallied 36 assists. Aubameyang scored 13 goals in 16 Bundesliga games this season before his departure. He leaves behind a hole that will not easily be filled, especially considering the injury problems that always seem to plague Dortmund. To fill the void, Dortmund has brought in Michy Batshuayi on loan from Chelsea, who could be the perfect man for the job at Dortmund. Batshuayi scored twice in his Dortmund debut (assisted by Pulisic, the Great). He fits perfectly into the Dortmund scheme and attacking mindset, and has certainly brought delight to the clubs and country for which he has played throughout his career. Aubameyang’s free-scoring play (and stunning hair) will be missed in the Bundesliga, but Dortmund hope to re-establish their standing at the top of the table with more focus on the game and less drama off the field.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the biggest transfers and juiciest rumors from around Europe and the world. What do you think? What was the biggest transfer of the January window? What is the biggest transfer to come this summer? Which clubs are destined for relegation?
Author: Felix Dalstein