Thu, Aug 23, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Array of new arrivals hope to shine in Bundesliga

AP, BERLIN

Moenchengladbach’s Dutch striker Luuk de Jong follows the ball in their Champions League playoff match against Dynamo Kiev on Sunday in Moenchengladbach, Germany.

Photo: AFP

Dutch striker Luuk de Jong leads an array of new arrivals who are hoping to shine in the 50th season of the Bundesliga and offset the departure of several stars.

De Jong is the most expensive of the new players, having cost Borussia Moenchengladbach 12 million euros (US$14.95 million) to sign him from FC Twente.

Others to watch include VfL Wolfsburg forward Bas Dost, the leading scorer in the Dutch league last season with 32 goals in 34 matches, plus Chile striker Junior Fernandes at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Belgium winger Kevin de Bruyne at Werder Bremen.

Former FC Basel teammates Xherdan Shaqiri at Bayern Munich and Granit Xhaka at Moenchengladbach are also expected to do well.

Spanish forward Raul Gonzalez, former Germany captain Michael Ballack, Japan star Shinji Kagawa and Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios all departed the Bundesliga.

Meanwhile, Bayern still expect to complete the signing of Spain midfielder Javi Martinez for a league record 40 million euros from Athletic Bilbao.

If Martinez’ transfer goes through it will take Bayern’s preseason spending to a reported 68.4 million euros as it bids to reclaim domestic honors from double winner Borussia Dortmund.

Shaqiri has already shown his potential for the side, the 20-year-old winger making an impressive start by scoring one goal and setting up two more for Bayern on Monday.

Moenchengladbach partly financed its 28 million euros spending spree through the sale of Germany winger Marco Reus and Brazilian defender Dante to Dortmund and Bayern, respectively.

Former Atletico Madrid defender Alvaro Dominguez hopes to fill the gap left by Dante, while the 21-year-old De Jong and 19-year-old Xhaka, a Switzerland international, should compensate for Reus’ departure.

De Jong scored 25 goals in the Dutch league last season, second only to Dost, raising the prospect of the two slugging it out with another Dutchman, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke 04, to be top scorer. Huntelaar won the award last season.

The 23-year-old Dost’s signing for a reported 7 million euros from Heerenveen is a coup for Wolfsburg.

Other strikers hoping to make their mark include Spanish forward Joselu Mato, now at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after scoring 26 goals for Real Madrid’s second-string team, and Canada’s Olivier Occean, who hit 17 goals for Greuther Fuerth in the second division. Occean has moved to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Daniel Carvajal, a former teammate of Joselu’s at Real Madrid Castilla, has bolstered Leverkusen’s defense.

De Bruyne arrives on loan from Chelsea at Werder Bremen, which has also signed Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie from Czech champion Liberec and brought Dutch winger Eljero Elia back to the Bundesliga following a disappointing year at Juventus.

Kagawa’s success at Dortmund has fueled demand for his compatriots across the Bundesliga, leading to the signings of Takashi Inui by Eintracht Frankfurt, Hiroshi Kiyotake by Nuremberg and Hiroki Sakai by Hannover 96.

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