From Bundesliga stalwarts jumping ship to exotic new arrivals from further afield, the summer transfer window has witnessed plenty of eye-catching transactions. bundesliga.com puts the best of them into one all-star XI...
Lukas Hradecky (from Frankfurt to Leverkusen)
Aware that Bernd Leno's time at the club was coming to an end after seven years, Bayer Leverkusen moved swiftly to secure the services of one of the most reliable stoppers in Germany, sealing Hradecky's transfer just two weeks after the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.
That they were able to sign the Finland No.1 on a free transfer makes it an even better piece of business, but the lack of a price tag was far from the only reason for their pursuit of Hradecky. The 28-year-old did not miss a single minute of Bundesliga action last term and helped Eintracht Frankfurt finish eighth, as well as lifting the DFB Cup. With Leverkusen back in Europe this term, his experience in high-pressure games will come in handy.
Watch: Lukas Hradecky's best saves in the Bundesliga
Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid to Borussia Dortmund, on loan)
Despite winning the UEFA Champions League with Real, Hakimi found playing time somewhat limited in the Spanish capital behind first-choice right-back Dani Carvajal. The Morocco international, therefore, made the decision to follow a similar path to that of Carvajal with a move to the Bundesliga as he looks to further his development in a league known for its promotion of youth.
Hakimi joins Dortmund on a two-year loan deal following an impressive 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign in Russia, where he played every minute for Morocco. A versatile defender who has played at right-back for Real and on the left for his country, he provides Lucien Favre with greater flexibility and cover at full-back with Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer now both into their 30s.
Salif Sane (Hannover to Schalke)
"What's better than having one powerfully-built, six-foot-something centre-back who can score? Having two of them!" Is probably how the conversation between Schalke head coach Domenico Tedesco and sporting director Christian Heidel went earlier this year. While Naldo was arguably in the form of his life in 2017/18, there is an acceptance that, at 35, he will be unlikely to continue in the same vein for too much longer. Which is where Sane comes in.
Eight years younger than his soon-to-be defensive partner, the Senegal international is an imposing figure, and won more aerial duels (225) than any other player in the Bundesliga last term. That went a long way to ensuring a newly promoted Hannover side avoided the drop, and the fact he also scored four goals and provided one assist is an added bonus. At the stroke of a pen, Schalke have just become twice as dangerous at set-pieces.
Most aerial duels won this season ✈️— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) 27 May 2018
Salif Sané with a whopping 2️⃣2️⃣5️⃣ 🥇 pic.twitter.com/A9NyUowyfX
Kevin Wimmer (Stoke City to Hannover, on loan)
The Austria international has tried three seasons in the English Premier League and decided he didn’t like it much, so has opted for a return to the Bundesliga on a season-long loan from Stoke with a view to a permanent deal. The centre-back first moved to Germany with Cologne in 2012, and in his second season with the Billy Goats made 26 appearances as part of the meanest defence in Bundesliga 2 history, only conceding 20 goals.
Frustrating spells at Tottenham Hotspur and then Stoke have since followed, but he has immediately hit the ground running on his return to Germany with Hannover. Filling the gap left by Sane’s departure to Schalke, he scored and kept a clean sheet on his competitive debut as the Reds put six past Karlsruher in the first round of the DFB Cup.
Marcelo Saracchi (River Plate to RB Leipzig)
Left-back Saracchi’s journey to the Bundesliga has been both rapid and also tinged with a hint of fortune. He signed for Die Roten Bullen after just one impressive season with Argentina’s River Plate, and his move to the Buenos Aires club from Danubio in his native Uruguay was only made possible at the time by a change in the rules regarding foreign players.
Although yet to feature for Uruguay’s senior team, Saracchi has been a regular at youth level, playing 24 times each for the nation’s U17s and U20s. He actually made his debut for the latter just days after his 17th birthday, while on the domestic front he featured in 19 of River Plate’s league matches last season and started all six of their 2018 Copa Libertadores group games prior to making the move across the Atlantic.
Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian to Borussia Dortmund)
Described by Borussia captain Marco Reus as “the player BVB needed”, Witsel has already made an excellent start to his life in Dortmund with a 95th-minute equaliser in the DFB Cup first round against Greuther Fürth after coming off the bench. With close to 100 caps for Belgium to his name, Witsel boasts a wealth of experience at the highest level, including a third-place medal at the 2018 World Cup.
A well-travelled bustler who has won honours in his native Belgium, Portugal and Russia, Witsel adds that necessary grit that has so often been lacking in the Dortmund midfield in recent years. As Reus explained following his debut at Fürth, “When he came on you could see that he was exactly what we needed. We’re now very well stocked in this position.”
Davy Klaassen (Everton to Werder Bremen)
Klassen’s arrival in Bremen was a real coup for the northern club and a signal to the league that they are looking to push on from their 11th-placed finish last season, which still came about after failing to win any of their opening 11 matches. As his name would suggest, Klaassen is set to provide some extra class in the Werder midfield.
Named Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2016, the 25-year-old already has three Dutch Eredivisie titles to his name, 16 international caps and a serious reputation. Described by former manager Ronald Koeman as “a leader on the pitch, someone who’s hardworking, likes to press and provides creativity and goals,” Klaassen looks set to be a serious asset to Florian Kohfeldt’s team.
Leon Goretzka (Schalke to Bayern)
Surely the last thing Bayern need is another central midfielder, isn't it? Thiago, Sebastian Rudy, Corentin Tolisso and Javi Martinez are already there, so there is clearly something very special about Goretzka for the record Bundesliga champions to want him in their stable.
An energetic player with a graceful stride that masks a biting tackle, the 23-year-old is highly effective at both ends of the pitch and has developed into a full Germany international in recent years. He proved his worth at international level by spearheading Die Mannschaft's triumphant 2017 Confederations Cup campaign, and when it became clear Goretzka would not extend his stay at Schalke, Bayern wasted no time to get their man.
Watch: Goretzka's journey to Munich
Paulinho (Vasco da Gama to Bayer Leverkusen)
Even in a side boasting the youthful attacking threats of Leon Bailey, Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt, Leverkusen’s signing of a winger often referred to as PH7, in reference to Cristiano Ronaldo, is a real statement. Praised for his “technical ability, dynamism, assertiveness and goal threat”, according to Die Werkself’s general manager Jonas Boldt, it’s easy to forget the forward has only just turned 18.
Paulinho follows a proud tradition of Brazilians making the move to Leverkusen, including Emerson, Lucio, Ze Roberto, Renato Augusto and 1994 World Cup winner Jorginho, who in fact advised the Rio de Janeiro native on the transfer from Vasco. Paulinho made a substitute appearance in Leverkusen’s DFB Cup first-round win over Pforzheim, and has stated he’s already settling in well, ensuring he sets about learning German quickly.
Alassanne Plea (Nice to Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Gladbach’s record signing arrives at Borussia-Park with a fearsome reputation from his time in France’s Ligue 1. In 119 top-flight matches, the Lille native notched up an impressive 36 goals and 22 assists, showing his versatility in attack as both a centre-forward and a winger.
A hat-trick on his competitive debut for the Foals in the DFB Cup first round bodes well for the 25-year-old Frenchman, who netted 16 times for Favre’s Nice last term. His eye for both goal and a teammate, and his flexibility within systems make him a dynamic addition to Dieter Hecking’s side, and combined with fellow attacking talents Thorgan Hazard, Lars Stindl and Raffael, Gladbach boast some real firepower this season.
Mark Uth (Hoffenheim to Schalke)
It took Uth a while to find his feet as a footballer, but after arriving at Hoffenheim - his fourth professional club – at the age of 23 in 2015, the German striker has flourished.
A ruthless finisher with a deadly left boot, Uth was top scorer for Julian Nagelsmann's side last season with 14 goals, as well as contributing seven assists. Now well and truly at home in the Bundesliga, the prospect of him improving even further under Tedesco bodes well for Schalke.
Watch: Mark Uth's top 5 Bundesliga goals