The weird new world we live in brings a newer, weirder transfer deadline. While Bayern Munich was able to add to their deadly attack this year when they finally signed Leroy Sané, many other Bundesliga teams should try and pick up some last minute reinforcements as soon as possible.
These are my personal assessments of each Bundesliga team and how they should look to improve. I won’t be giving suggestions for players because I can only do so much.
1. FC Köln - Veteran Left Winger
I’d argue they need to sign a veteran forward, but the club just bought Sebastian Andersson from Union Berlin. I have my doubts that he’ll be able to pick up the scoring from an injured Anthony Modeste, but what’s more important is they find some stable veteran backup at left wing soon. Florian Kainz is down on a knee injury that reportedly requires surgery, leaving 21 year old Ismail Jakobs as the only option at left wing. He still needs time to develop and someone coming in on loan to take off the pressure may not be the worst option.
1. FC Union Berlin - Get a box-to-box midfielder
Union has a lot of things: attacking talent, attacking veterans, defensive talent & defensive veterans. But what they don’t have a lot of is midfielders. They just brought in Sebastian Griesbeck from Heidenheim, but after Christian Gentner went down with a calf injury, there’s only three healthy midfielders listed on their roster. A young, box-to-box player will gel with Union’s quick moving play.
1. FSV Mainz 05 - Buy nobody, loan some, sell some
Do not take this as a sign that Mainz is doing well. Mainz need to be sellers and they need to do it soon. You thought Bayern’s five midfielders was a log-jam? Per Transfermarkt, Mainz have SEVEN listed center-forwards, SIX listed center backs, and FIVE listed central midfielders. They need to loan a lot of these players given their age, but they will most likely sell the players at the top of their careers. Both Jean-Philippe Mateta and Robin Quaison are rumored to be leaving the club, and given their high reported transfer fees, I wouldn’t be shocked if Mainz wanted to cash in.
FC Augsburg - Promote or buy youth players
Augsburg boast the oldest squad in the Bundesliga with an average age of 26.6 years old. While defensive players like Reece Oxford (21) and midfielder Felix Götze (22) help among others to try and bring that age down, the core of Augsburg skews older. Half of their forwards are above the age of 28, as are three of their seven midfielders. Their defense is the youngest part of the team, but their oldest center-backs Jeffery Gouweleeuw and Marek Suchy get consistent starting time. Being older isn’t a problem per se, but as the game and this league get younger and faster, Augsburg may find themselves lagging behind literally and figuratively.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Find a new right back
This team does not need to find a replacement for Kai Havertz. After beating Leipzig to Patrik Schick and seeing the blossoming form of Florian Wirtz, the Werkself should be able to match the now-Chelsea man’s scoring production. Looking to the backline, however, we can find room for improvement. Jonathan Tah has been the cornerstone of this defense, but he’s been rumored to leave for the Premier League this year. However, they have the reinforcements both young (Edmond Tapsoba, Tin Jedvaj) and old (Sven Bender) to manage without him. They may find themselves in trouble when it comes to right back, only occupied by elder statesman Lars Bender and former Bayern man Mitchell Weiser. A rumored move for Hector Bellerin may pique some interest, but if Bayer want him, they need to move soon.
*Update* When I wrote this article yesterday, Leverkusen had yet to sign Atletico Madrid right back Santiago Arias on loan with an option to buy. Call me clairvoyant.
Bayern Munich - Find reinforcements at right back
Staying on the right side of defense, Bayern are more in a position of luxury than need. Benjamin Pavard is a more than capable right back and if he ever goes down, Joshua Kimmich - the best right back in the world - can replace him. Corentin Tolisso can take his spot next to Leon Goretzka in midfield and all will be well. However, with Hansi Flick dead set on buying a young fullback, it seems inevitable Bayern will add to their roster. Rumored names like Sergiño Dest and Max Aarons will keep the papers flying off the shelves as it seems a matter of time before one of these names make their way to the Allianz.
Borussia Dortmund - Get get a better manager?
Unlike Mainz, Dortmund don’t need to buy anyone because they really don’t need anyone. The midfield is set for the next four years at minimum, the backline seems stable as ever, and the forward core is flashy and brilliant. However, year after year, this team that should be challenging Bayern at every turn seems to stumble before the finish line. Lucien Favre doesn’t inspire confidence and it seems like BVB should replace the coach before they add to their roster.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Nothing at all
Much like Dortmund, I don’t see BMG adding anyone any time soon. They have a deep roster up front and in midfield and the defensive veterans are serving the team well. Unlike Dortmund, Marco Rose is an excellent manager who should help the team grow over the years. They already picked up some younger players in this transfer window, so I expect Mönchengladbach to stand pat or sell at the deadline.
DSC Arminia Bielefeld - Acquire a Bundesliga veteran
Arminia are making their return to the top flight for the first time since 2009. As one would expect, academy prospects and other top 2. Bundesliga talent helped them get here. But now that they are at the top, they should take advantage of the supply of out of contract Bundesliga players and try to bring them into the fold to help guide the youngsters and share insights with the veterans. The players are out there and Arminia should do what they can to fill out some roster holes.
Eintracht Frankfurt - Start looking for David Abraham’s replacement
You could file this under “a better partner for Martin Hinteregger” as well. Abraham (34) is one of the oldest outfield players currently in the Bundesliga and his years of good form are numbered. Martin Hinteregger (28) is one of the best center backs in the Bundesliga and should serve the team well for the next few years. However, a bevy of youth at the position doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. While Evan N’Dicka (21) is a bright spot at the position for the long term at Eintracht, Die Adler can be forgiven if they look to bring in someone slightly younger than Hinti.
SC Freiburg - Find another attacking midfielder
It’s going to be tough for this team to truly replace Luca Waldschmidt, mark my words. To replace the striker, Freiburg have already brought in Deportivo Alaves youngster Ermedin Demirovic to pair with Nils Petersen. Freiburg used some of that Waldschmidt money to bring in French defensive midfielder Baptiste Santamaria from Angers. Now, they need to look to the attacking part of their midfield. Their only CAM is a loanee from Spartak Moscow in Dutch youngster Guus Til. An extra man in that position may not hurt them.
Hertha Berlin - Spend your money to bolster the midfield
I don’t think letting Ondrej Duda leave for Köln was the greatest idea. But, then again, Hertha didn’t need another attacking presence. Now their midfield has only four players. While Lucas Tousart and Santiago Ascacíbar should hold down the defensive midfield well, the only midfield reinforcements left are a more than capable Vladimir Darida and a young Arne Maier. That’s it. Hertha would be forgiven for wanting to add depth here.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Get a true Left Back / Left Wing Back
The Hoffenheim backline is a mystery to me. Last week, they deployed a 3-4-1-2 with Pavel Kaderabek, a right back by trade, playing on the left side of that deep midfield four. On the right wing, they used a center back in Kevin Akpoguma. Left back Konstantinos Stafylidis is out with a shoulder injury currently, but regardless of his health, having only one left back in this kind of formation isn’t a good idea. They can find some bargains out there if they look hard enough and given Hoffenheim’s reputation to develop talent, it’s probably a good idea to do that.
RB Leipzig - Sell high
If I had written this last week, I would have screamed that they needed to by a striker. They let go of Matheus Cunha last winter and failing to grab Patrik Schick was a disappointment. However, they grabbed a great forward in the form of Norwegian Alexander Sörloth (24). Now, all Leipzig need to do is cash in on their young backline talent. Ibrahima Konate was rumored to move, but injury won’t see him leave in this window. On the other hand, Dayot Upamecano has been the subject of transfer rumors all summer. A move to Manchester United may still be an option for him.
FC Schalke 04 - They won’t get anyone, but they should
This team needs backline reinforcements and they needed it yesterday. Ozan Kabak has turned into a great center back for the Königsblauen, but other than him the defense looks weak. Injuries to Matija Nastasic and Salif Sané didn’t help, but I’d argue they wouldn’t have improved the backline anyways. The defense is old, sluggish, and uninspired and they need new blood from outside the club to help them. A rumored reunion with left back Sead Kolasinac from Arsenal will not be the answer to that.
VfB Stuttgart - Search for a true replacement for Mario Gomez
Their backline doesn’t inspire confidence, but that’s okay. What isn’t okay is that the club just lost the heart and soul of their team to retirement. Replacing Mario Gomez was always going to be tough, but instead of finding a replacement for him this summer, they stood pat on the striker front. This leaves the burden of production on Sasa Kalajdzic (23) and Hamadi Al Ghaddioui (30). It’s a tough spot for this team to be in, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they struggle mightily as a result of their inaction.
SV Werder Bremen - Look for leadership
I really don’t know where to look (other than to look away) from this Bremen team. I see a team that should have all the talent clicking, with a promising young manager, and I don’t see why they can’t pull it together. They have some great veteran players, don’t get me wrong. Names like Omer Toprak, Davy Klaassen, and Niklas Moisander should be serving the team well. But...I don’t know man this team really seems like it’s missing something. They probably don’t have time to figure out what that something is before the end of the window, but maybe they can work it out by January.
VfL Wolfsburg - Find someone in the midfield to inspire the fans
This is different than Bremen. Whereas Bremen have some amazing talent holding down their midfield, Wolfsburg have some people who put out decent production but not much else. Not to mention, they only have five central midfielders total. Names like Yannick Gerhardt, Max Arnold, and Josuha Guilavogui aren’t the most inspirational, but they put forth results. There are a bunch of names on the free agent market who can help bring some excitement and energy to this team and it’s all on Wolfsburg to find them.