Big-name transfers, contract extensions and returning stars: 2022/23 Bundesliga season looks good
From Sadio Mane to Christopher Nkunku, Florian Wirtz and Mario Götze, Bundesliga clubs have been active at the start of this summer’s transfer window, whether through big-name signings, high profile contract extensions or bring back familiar faces to the German top flight. All of this points to a star-studded 2022/23 campaign…
Borussia Dortmund started the transfer carousel as early as February this year with the announcement that they had agreed a deal to bring Bayern Munich centre-back Niklas Süle to the club from July.
The Germany international arrives on a free transfer, given that his contract in Munich expires at the end of June. He will be tasked with filling the gaps in a leaky defense that conceded 52 Bundesliga goals last season, one less than relegated Arminia Bielefeld.
German centre-back Niklas Süle will bolster Borussia Dortmund’s defense in 2022/23. – IMAGO/Gladys Chai von der Laage/IMAGO/Chai vd Laage
He will be aided in this mission by fellow newcomer and Germany international Nico Schlotterbeck, who is moving to Signal Iduna Park from Freiburg.
“One of the deciding factors was that when I was young, Mats [Hummels] was one of the best central defenders in Germany and in the world,” Schlotterbeck said when his transfer was confirmed.
“I admired him and I’m so happy to be able to play in the same team as him now. And Niki [Süle] did what I want to do in my career: very young, he joined a huge club and made his mark. My aim is to do it here too, so I’m delighted that the three of us are now together.”
At the start of May, Dortmund also agreed deals for Karim Adeyemi and Salih Özcan to reinvigorate their attack and midfield respectively, as new sporting director Sebastian Kehl took over after taking over from Michael Zorc. If BVB can match that same efficiency on the pitch, they could be in for a very successful campaign.
Dortmund were far from the only team to sign, seal and deliver deals early on. Less than two weeks after the end of the 2021/22 season, Bayer Leverkusen have announced that star striker Patrik Schick – who finished second to Robert Lewandowski in the goalscoring charts last season with 24 goals – has extended his contract at the club until 2027.
“I really feel at home here,” Schick said as he signed his new contract, after helping Die Werkself become one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the 2021/22 Bundesliga.
Head coach Gerardo Seoane combined an attacking philosophy with an unwavering will to win as the team finished third, and Schick believes there’s more to come.
“Above all, our team has great potential for the future,” he said. “It’s great fun to play with these guys and we all have a great desire to achieve great things. Qualifying for the Champions League is a good next step. There are a lot of possibilities here, that’s why I extended my contract at Leverkusen.”
Although Schick is not a new signing per se, his decision to commit for the next five years was still a huge statement of intent on the part of player and club. Indeed, it may have played a role in Leverkusen securing the signing of fellow Czech international Adam Hlozek – considered one of European football’s hottest prospects – as well as persuading Germany international Florian Wirtz to sign. its own extension until 2027.
Look: The best of Patrick Schick
And Wirtz, like Schick, hailed the team’s potential as a contributing factor in extending his stay at the BayArena. “The boys here are a big reason why I feel at home here and why everything has gone so well overall,” said the 19-year-old attacking midfielder.
“There’s a lot more to come from us and from this club. That’s what we want to show all Bayer fans – and also those who aren’t! The development over the past two years has been breathtaking for me, and certainly not something I could have anticipated. I’m well aware that the team played their part in that.
The sense of big things afoot has also influenced personnel matters at RB Leipzig. Not only did they remove midfield dynamo and Austrian international Xaver Schlager from Wolfsburg, but they were also able to extend Nkunku’s contract until 2026.
After registering 20 goals and 13 assists in 34 league appearances last season, the France international won the Bundesliga Player of the Season award (as well as being named Player of the Month four times in 2021/ 22) and also became one of the most coveted players in the global game.
Look: Leipzig superstar Nkunku
A fantastic dribbler who is able to get between the lines, pick out a teammate with a pass or provide the finishing touch himself, Nkunku is truly the holy grail of what sporting directors and coaches look for in a player. He’s someone who not only can do it all, but always does it brilliantly.
“I am very happy at Leipzig,” he told the club’s official website. “I can feel that after winning our first title [the DFB Cup], the whole team is even hungrier and we want to collect more silverware. All this led me to decide to extend my contract here.”
No wonder Leipzig quickly rebranded its season ticket sales with the slogan: “It’s not just a season ticket, it’s a ‘Christo-stay-in-Leipzig’ ticket. It’s all gone.
Staying on the topic of important overtime, Hertha Berlin have tied down 35-year-old veteran Kevin-Prince Boateng for another year. “He’s our leader who takes everyone with him,” said sporting director Fredi Bobic, the man tasked with rebuilding the Old Lady after their relegation at the end of last season.
Hertha Berlin veteran Kevin-Prince Boateng was happy to be back in pre-season training after signing up for at least one more year. – IMAGO/Michael Taeger/IMAGO/Jan Huebner
Part of his plan was to firm up the defence, with Jonjoe Kenny returning to the Bundesliga after a stint with Schalke in 2019/20. “I have fantastic memories from the Bundesliga,” said the 25-year-old right-back.
“The way the game is played here, the atmosphere, the number of fans – it’s a high quality league. I can’t wait to play here again. To take this step feels absolutely right.”
Another familiar face returning to Germany’s top flight is 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Mario Götze, who signed until 2025 with UEFA Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt.
A sublimely gifted attacking midfielder, Götze first made a name for himself in two Bundesliga-winning seasons with Dortmund before moving to Bayern in 2013, winning three more league titles. He then returned to BVB, but spent the last two years with PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
“The fact that a player like Mario Götze chose Eintracht Frankfurt out of so many other offers with conviction speaks volumes about the outstanding image the club has built for itself in recent years,” said the manager. Frankfurt sportsman Markus Krösche.
“I don’t need to say much about his qualities as a footballer. We lacked a player of his type. Mario’s technical ability will help our game enormously, especially when we are in possession of the ball against opponents in depth. In addition, he can show his strengths in virtually any attacking position, which gives us even more tactical variability. Last but not least, he brings many years of experience at the highest international level.
And what about Bayern itself? They may not have jumped as fast as Dortmund this summer, although Joshua Kimmich (until 2025), Thomas Müller (2024), Manuel Neuer (2024), Kingsley Coman (2027) and Leon Goretzka (2026) all extended their contracts over the course of last season.
Nonetheless, they still had a very productive June. The signings of right-back Noussair Mazraoui and central midfielder Ryan Gravenberch have been confirmed – both arrived from Ajax – while the club have flexed their considerable muscles by bringing in Mane from Liverpool.
Look: Mane during his transfer to Bayern
“The fans come to the stadiums to see such players,” club chairman Herbert Hainer said. And they undoubtedly will. The Senegal international can play in a variety of positions across the attack, making a team that already boasts Lewandowski, Müller, Coman, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry even more formidable.
The first day of the new season can’t come soon enough!
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