The end of the summer transfer window wasn’t quite as frantic as that in England, but German sides took advantage of the open market with some curious moves. Here are five late signings in the window to watch out for when the Bundesliga resumes on Friday.
Serge Gnabry to Werder Bremen
Returning to Germany after five years at Arsenal, Gnabry joins Bremen, who have suffered a defeat in the German Cup first round and a 6-0 thrashing at Bayern Munich so far this term. The absence of Max Kruse has caused a create vacuum to open up in the side and sporting director Frank Baumann moved quickly to win the race for his signature.
Although his progress at Arsenal went largely under the radar in his homeland, Gnabry’s performances at the Olympic Games in Rio highlighted his qualities. The left-sided, right-footed forward player scored six goals in Brazil, helping the Germany team to a silver medal after defeat to the host nation on penalties.
Gnabry’s first-team appearances were limited, and a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion had little effect on his standing under Arsene Wenger. For around six million euros, it is another shrewd move from Baumann and such an asset with pace and guile should help the Northern Germans avoid relegation.
Douglas Santos to Hamburg
The Brazilian left-back was one of the strongest performers at the Olympic Games, winning a gold medal after an emotional win over the Germans. Santos, who joins Hamburg from Atletico Mineiro, is another big investment from the Northern German club, costing the Bundesliga outfit around eight million euros before add-ons.
Based on his performances in Rio, it’s easy to establish why Santos caught the eye of Hamburg’s global network of scouts. At left-back, Hamburg have been stable, at best. Santos, powerful, direct and with a corker of a left-foot, will be a clear upgrade on Matthias Ostrzolek.
Yevhen Konoplyanka to Schalke
Schalke fans were understandably excited to see how the club would spend their 50 million euro windfall from the sale of Leroy Sane to Manchester City. However, it was unlikely that sporting director Christian Heidel would have spent recklessly to appease the ambitions of the fans and media.
But Heidel could have pulled off a master stroke in the signing of Sevilla winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, one of the speedy wingers to make their mark on Ukrainian football in recent years. At 26, and with 56 international caps, the attacker brings a wealth of international experience to Schalke’s youthful crop. If the Ukrainian succeeds, the club will have no doubts of whether to turn a loan deal into a permanent one.
Philipp Wollscheid to Wolfsburg
Having lost Dante and Naldo, centre-back was a position of concern for Wolfsburg. But following the addition of Jeffrey Bruma, Klaus Allofs appears to have washed away those worries with the signing of Philipp Wollscheid from Stoke City.
What makes this deal particularly interesting is Wollscheid’s historical links with Dieter Hecking, the Wolfsburg coach. The towering centre-back, who has been capped twice by the German national team, was previously superb under Hecking during their time together at Nuremburg. An impressive stint at Bayer Leverkusen led to the English Premier League, and if he can find that sort of form, he will be a prominent figure this season.
Jonathan Schmid to Augsburg
The former Freiburg winger wasn’t able to make an impression at Hoffenheim amid strong competition for a berth in Julian Nagelsmann’s forward line. But the 26-year-old has been given another bite at the cherry in the south of Germany with a Bundesliga club, joining Augsburg on a four-year-deal.
Schmid, born in Strasbourg, was developed at the Freiburg football school, one of the best breeding grounds for talent in the country. His raw speed, unpredictability and work-rate made him a comfortable fit under Christian Streich. And this is why he should succeed at Augsburg, one of the widely-tipped sides to struggle this year. Dirk Schuster demands a high work rate, and quick transitional play which suits Schmid’s game to a tee.