USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen is back in the Bundesliga with a Fortuna Düsseldorf side looking to repeat their remarkable campaign again in 2019/20. - © imago images / Uwe Kraft
USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen is back in the Bundesliga with a Fortuna Düsseldorf side looking to repeat their remarkable campaign again in 2019/20. - © imago images / Uwe Kraft

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2019/20 season preview


Fortuna Düsseldorf enjoyed a successful first season back in the Bundesliga following promotion in 2018/19, but will the dreaded second-season syndrome strike Friedhelm Funkel's men this term or will the addition of USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen shore things up? takes a closer look at whether Fortuna will be on Düsseldorf's side in the new season...

Aims in 2019/20

Fortuna Düsseldorf were one of the positive surprises of last season, as they recovered from a six-game losing streak early in their first campaign back in the top flight after promotion with a spectacular turnaround, which included a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in a run of four straight wins in December. Coach Funkel was initially due to leave in the summer, but he finally agreed on a new contract, which will give the club's fans hope heading into the traditionally challenging second season.

They have lost Dodi Lukebakio this summer, but have brought in an exciting prospect in Nana Ampomah, as well as taken some potential stars of the future on loan deals, including USMNT goalkeeper Steffen - who returns to the Bundesliga for a second stint. Establishing themselves as a perennial Bundesliga force is the aim and while matching last term's 11th-placed finish may be a challenge, certainly survival is a realistic aim.

Watch: #skillingit, Fortuna style

Player to watch

Steffen's first run in the Bundesliga may not have been a huge success, with just 14 appearances in Freiburg's reserves during 18 months in Baden-Württemberg, but a return to the USA and the Columbus Crew eventually brought the best out of the 6'3" stopper and convinced English Premier League champions Manchester City to sign him up in the summer.

The 24-year-old became the Crew's first-choice goalkeeper in 2017 and made a total of 84 appearances, recording 26 clean sheets and claiming the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and the US Soccer Male Player of the Year award in 2018. He made his senior US debut in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2018, and was named Man of the Match after pulling off an string of fine saves in the 1-1 friendly draw against world champions France six months later.

The 15-time US international kept four clean sheets at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the Stars and Stripes lost to Mexico in the final, and he returns to Germany with a point to prove, and Düsseldorf are set to reap the rewards during his season on loan at them from City.

Summer transfers

IN: Kasim Adams (Hoffenheim, loan), Nana Ampomah (Waasland-Beveren), Lewis Baker (Chelsea, loan), Aymen Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan extended), Johannes Bühler (VfR Aalen, end of loan), Gökhan Gül (Wehen Wiesbaden, end of loan), Florian Kastenmeier (VfB Stuttgart II), Dawid Kownacki (Sampdoria, loan), Kelvin Ofori (Right to Dream Academy Accra), Thomas Pledl (Ingolstadt), Zack Steffen (Manchester City, loan), Markus Suttner (Brighton, loan deal made permanent), Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke, loan), Jannick Theißen (professional contract), Erik Thommy (VfB Stuttgart, loan)

OUT: Jaroslav Drobby (released), Marvin Ducksch (Hannover), Kianz Froese (Saarbrücken), Gökhan Gül (SV Wehen Wiesbaden, loan extended), Emmanuel Iyoha (Holstein Kiel, loan), Marcin Kaminski (VfB Stuttgart, end of loan), Emir Kujovic (Djurgarden), Dodi Lukebakio (Watford, end of loan), Havard Nielsen (Greuther Fürth), Benito Raman (Schalke), Takashi Usami (Augsburg, end of loan)

How they might line up



Düsseldorf's Merkur Spiel-Arena is a fine addition to the Bundesliga's selection of top-class stadiums. Although it did not host group games at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 54,600-seater arena will be a venue at UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany. Previously known as the LTU Arena and Esprit Arena, it has also hosted several Wladimir Klitschko fights, countless music concerts, Eurovision and the 2010 Race of Champions, which included Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Inside Fortuna Düsseldorf's impressive home, the Merkur Spiel-Arena. - 2018 DFL

First five fixtures

Matchday 1: Werder Bremen (a) – Saturday, 17 August, 3.30pm CEST
Matchday 2: Bayer Leverkusen (h) – Saturday, 24 August, 3.30pm CEST
Matchday 3: Eintracht Frankfurt (a) – Sunday, 1 September, 6pm CEST
Matchday 4: Wolfsburg (h) – Friday, 13 September, 8.30pm CEST
Matchday 5: Borussia Mönchengladbach (a) – Sunday, 22 September, 3.30pm CEST