The new campaign kicks off on 9 August when two of the league’s most traditional sides, FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach, go head-to-head. But who will be the star of the new campaign?
Centre-back Per Nilsson scored six times last season to become Nuremberg’s top scorer. Unsurprisingly, the club wished to avoid a repeat this season, and brought in four new strikers. One of these is Daniel Ginczek, a strong 22-year old with an eye for goal. Last season, ‘Ginni’ scored 18 times for St. Pauli. ‘His pace gives us a different option up front’ manager Michael Wiesinger told Bild. His competitive debut came in the cup exit to Sandhausen (3-4 on penalties) where he scored the first goal with a fine finish.
Slobodan Medojevic has come to prominence slowly. The former Serbia U-21 captain swapped FC Vojvodina Novi Sad for Wolfsburg in January 2011, where he was rarely used by Felix Magath. Finally, at the end of March of this year, Dieter Hecking gave the youngster his Bundesliga debut. After his elevation to an important player under the Hecking regime, the Serb naturally harbours hopes for a starting berth in one of the two holding midfield slots. He has performed well in pre-season.
There are high expectations of Moritz Leitner in two areas of Germany. The midfielder was loaned from Dortmund to Stuttgart for first-team experience, and Leitner will wear the Swabians’ shirt for the next two years. “With my abilities, I want to help Stuttgart succeed” said the new signing, who will fight to occupy one of the holding-midfield positions; in the first two games of the season, the Munich-born Leitner played the full 90 minutes. Manager Bruno Labbadia intends to make the 20 year-old a key player, and is “very excited" about his prospects.
2010/11 was almost Julian Koch’s season. The defensive midfielder was loaned from his home club Borussia Dortmund to MSV Duisburg, where he was a fans’ favourite and developed into one of the best players in the Bundesliga 2. However, in February 2011, Koch suffered a horrific knee injury. After months out, at one point amputation was considered, Koch was again loaned to Duisburg, but had an under-par season. This summer, he chose to join Mainz 05, “Thomas Tuchel filled me with hope” he said.
The departure of defensive lynchpin Sokratis forced Werder Bremen into action, and the club found a replacement in Italy. Luca Caldirola moves to Bremen from Inter Milan on a four year deal. “For a 22 year old, Luca has plenty of games under his belt” explained Bremen’s managing director Thomas Eichin, “he has a real intelligence about him and is at the perfect stage of his career to lead a defensive line.” Caldirola is a technically proficient centre-half with excellent vision and an ability to bring other players into the game.
FC Augsburg’s 4-1-4-1 could play right into Raphael Holzhauser’s hands, one of the two central attacking midfield berths seems made for him. “I’m convinced that this is the right step for my development" said the Austrian, who confessed his prior admiration for FC Augsburg, “I watched them a lot last season and enjoyed the style of play, the comeback in the second half of the season really impressed me.” Holzhauser, who played 23 times last season, arrives from VfB Stuttgart on a year-long loan.
Modeste, who arrived from Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, couldn’t have started his Hoffenheim career much better. With a brace in the routine 9-0 victory over SG Aumund-Vegesack, and seven shots on goal, he is certain to play a big role this season. His participation in the first Matchday of the season is in doubt after a knock picked up in the cup. Alexander Rosen, Hoffenheim's sporting director has high hopes for the Frenchman, “Anthony is fast, strong in the air and dangerous in front of goal."
Sami Allagui is entering his second season at Hertha, and already the first team is unimaginable without him. The Tunisian international Allagui will start the season on the right, but he’s not your typical winger. A striker by trade, he always finds his way back to the middle of the pitch, “In every game he’s in the box to try and grab a late winner. That’s how it was last year and I don’t see it changing in the Bundesliga” said manager Jos Luhukay.
After Hertha BSC’s Ronny, Jan Hochscheidt was the highest-scoring midfielder in the Bundesliga 2. Last season, for FC Erzgebirge Aue, the 25 year-old scored ten goals uncluding the one which ensured their survival on the final day against SV Sandhausen. The decision to move to Eintracht Braunschweig wasn’t difficult for the midfielder, “I was really happy about Eintracht’s offer, and didn’t have to think too long about it. I made it obvious as soon as they made contact with me that I couldn’t say no to top-flight football.”