Lucas Hernandez and the top 5 new faces to look out for in the Bundesliga this season
As the new Bundesliga season arrives, so too have plenty of exciting new stars bidding to become household names this season.
bundesliga.com has picked out five new faces expected to become hits in the weeks and months to come…
Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich)
Position: Centre-back/left full-back
Signed from: Atletico Madrid
Watch: who is Lucas Hernandez?
Story so far
A FIFA World Cup winner with France in 2018, football runs in the Hernandez blood. Lucas' father played for Marseille, and it was during his stint there that Lucas was born. He followed his father to Spain and followed in his father's footsteps by playing for Atletico Madrid, coming through their youth academy and playing a total of 110 times for the Colchoneros, making his centennial appearance in their 2-0 UEFA Champions League win against Borussia Dortmund last November.
That may have been when he caught Bayern's eye, as they made him a club-record €80million signing this summer. Like his price tag, the expectations are particularly lofty. "I'm very happy we've been able to sign one of the best defenders in the world," said Bayern's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, not mincing his words in introducing a talented player who should quickly become a cornerstone of a Bayern side in perennial pursuit of silverware.
Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Position: Attacking midfielder/winger
Signed from: Paris Saint-Germain
Story so far
Nkunku was just 13 when he joined the academy of his home-city club Paris Saint-Germain and he raced his way through to the first team in just four years, making his debut at the age of 18 and becoming their sixth-youngest debutant ever. Over the past four years, he's totalled 77 appearances for PSG – not bad considering he was fighting for a place with none other than Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Although he played 23 times in Ligue 1 last term, Nkunku was not very often in PSG's starting XI and that is where he is aiming to see his name more frequently with Leipzig. Lured by the exciting attacking football the Red Bulls are expected to play under Julian Nagelsmann this season, he could be a key addition to a side seeking to take the Bundesliga and Europe by storm, providing a goalscoring threat from every angle.
Robert Skov (Hoffenheim)
Signed from: FC Copenhagen
Story so far
If the name Ebbe Sand means anything to you, and it will certainly resonate with most Bundesliga aficionados, you will know what it means that Skov broke his goalscoring record in Denmark's Superligaen last season, finding the back of the net 30 times – two more than former Schalke forward Sand managed in 1997/98. Denmark's 2018 Footballer of the Year also delivered ten assists in his one and only season as a Copenhagen player after joining from his home-town club Silkeborg in 2018.
In his second season with Schalke, Sand won the Bundesliga Torjägerkanone with 22 goals, and Hoffenheim are hoping for a repeat of that story from Skov. Nicknamed the Danish Gareth Bale, comparisons with Real Madrid's Welsh winger highlight just how highly thought of Skov is. "He's got an extraordinary left foot and a fantastic shooting technique which make him deadly," said Alexander Rosen, Hoffenheim's director of professional football. Watch out Bundesliga goalkeepers.
Daley Sinkgraven (Bayer Leverkusen)
Signed from: Ajax
Story so far
Current Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz knows his summer signing well, having transformed him from a central midfielder to a left-sided midfielder or full-back during his time at Dutch club Ajax. He played also as a winger in recent seasons, catching the eye on the European stage in Ajax's extraordinary march to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season as he played in the quarter-final against Juventus and semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
Bosz knows exactly what he is getting by signing Sinkgraven, and that is precisely why he has bought him. Perfectly suited to his brand of football, and to give some much-needed balance on the left, the Dutch wide player is going to keep the BayArena ground staff busy keeping the grass growing down the flanks as he marauds down the wing, attacking and defending to make Leverkusen's fans breathless just watching him.
Joao Victor (Wolfsburg)
Signed from: LASK Linz
Story so far
A winger with a scoring ratio of one every two games – that is Joao Victor. He continued that record, which he established in Austria's second division with SV Kapfenberg, scoring 30 in 62 games, with LASK in the past two seasons, netting 26 in 52 games and setting up a further 14. He arrived in Europe from Brasilian club Sao Jose dos Campos FC in 2015.
Keeping up such an impressive record in the Bundesliga may prove challenging, but his former and current coach Oliver Glasner certainly believes he can. Given one pick as to whom he wanted to follow him from Linz to Wolfsburg, Joao Victor was it. "He's a player with tremendous pace and who's also distinguished by his ability to score goals," said Wolfsburg sporting director Michael Schäfer. Anybody remember Kevin De Bruyne? Yes, him.
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