On Friday, the Bundesliga season will kick off after a busy off-season. Bayern Munich spent big after a disappointing season (by their standards), while Dortmund and Leipzig reinvested money raked in from transfer fees. Union Berlin and Leverkusen added key depth to compete for Europe again, while, on the other side of the table, Stuttgart and Augsburg brought in new players to help battle relegation.
While the transfer window is still open — it will be until September 1st — the majority of teams are mostly done with their business. There will be more signings, of course, but right now — a week before the start of the season — is a good time to rate how teams have done so far.
18) SV Darmstadt 98
Darmstadt hasn’t brought in bad players, but their losses will be big. Phillip Tietz, their top scorer in the 2. Bundesliga last year, was sold to Augsburg. Center-back Patric Pfeiffer, who started 20 games last season, left for free, joining the same club. They’ve made some decent signings — notably Christoph Klarer arrived from Düsseldorf — but it’s tough to say if the team has gotten better.
17) SC Freiburg
Freiburg was one of the biggest surprises last season, challenging for a Champions League spot. However, this offseason, things haven’t quite gone to plan — veterans Jonathan Schmid and Nils Petersen have left while starting goalkeeper Mark Flekken and rising star Kevin Schade both left for Brentford. Striker Junior Adamu is a great signing, as is Florian Müller — but Freiburg just hasn’t done enough so far.
16) 1.FC Heidenheim 1846
To prepare for its first-ever Bundesliga season, Heidenheim has brought in a mix of lower-league veterans and Bundesliga loanees. They’ve particularly strengthened their attack — already one of the best in the 2. Bundesliga. Eren Dinkci earned decent minutes with Bremen last season and is no stranger to the Bundesliga. Other signings include, Nikola Dovedan arriving from Austria’s top tier, and Marvin Pieringer, who scored a brace on his debut in the DFB Pokal.
15) 1.FC Köln
It’s not about who Köln have signed — it’s about who they’ve lost. Club legend Jonas Hector has retired, while experienced veterans Timo Horn and Ellyes Skhiri left for free. They’ve brought in some decent additions — like Julian Chabot, who spent last season on loan, and Luca Waldschmidt, who has played more than 100 Bundesliga matches. Still, the departures are devastating.
14) VfL Bochum
Last season, Bochum avoided relegation despite having the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga. This offseason, they’ve set out to change that. Experienced defender Bernardo arrives from RB Salzburg, while Felix Passlack was signed from Dortmund. Moritz-Broni Kwarteng is also joining from Magdeburg, having scored ten goals in the 2. Bundesliga last year. They are losing some veterans, but overall they have strengthened the squad.
13) SV Werder Bremen
Bremen looked like they had one of the signings of the summer when they managed to get Liverpool midfielder Naby Keïta. However, Keïta immediately suffered an injury and will miss the first few weeks of the season. Dawid Kownacki also signed for free, from 2. Bundesliga side Düsseldorf, while Senne Lynen is joining after a great year in Belgium with Union Saint Gilloise. The Keïta injury hurts (no pun intended), as does the sale of top prospect Fabio Chiarodia.
12) FC Augsburg
Augsburg cut their losses on record signing Ricardo Pepi, selling him to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. Veterans Daniel Caligiuri, Rafal Gikiewicz, André Hahn, Julian Baumgartlinger, and Tobias Strobl all left. However, they have done some great business. Mergim Berisha’s loan was made permanent, while Mainz goalkeeper Finn Dahmen joined for free. They also signed some of the 2. Bundesliga’s best players: Phillip Tietz, Patric Pfeiffer, and Tim Breithaupt, among others.
11) 1.FSV Mainz 05
Considering they’ve only signed three players, Mainz is ranked a bit high. However, the club hasn’t lost any of its star players (yet) and made two great signings: Tom Krauß and Sepp van den Berg. Krauß joined from Leipzig after two successful loan spells with Schalke and Nürnberg, and he has great potential. Sepp van den Berg is coming off a big injury, but the Liverpool loanee has also shown upside.
10) Borussia Mönchengladbach
Mönchengladbach has made some great signings, including some top prospects like Grant-Leon Ranos, Lukas Ullrich, Fabio Chiarodia, and Tomáš Čvančara. They’ve also made some low-risk, high-upside signings, including Maximilian Wöber, Franck Honorat, Robin Hack, and Julian Weigl. However, the losses are too big to ignore: Jonas Hoffman, Marcus Thuram, Lars Stindl, and Ramy Bensebaini have all departed the club. Top prospect Jordan Beyer has also left.
9) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Veterans Sebastian Rudy and Munas Dabbur are gone, while Stefan Posch is leaving for far less than Hoffenheim would’ve hoped for. Christoph Baumgartner is a big loss, making a big-money move to Leipzig. However, Hoffenheim has largely kept the team together, and they’re improving the squad. Attila Szalai and Wout Weghorst are the big signings, but Schalke star Marius Bülter and the return of Florian Grillitsch are also smart moves.
8) Bayern Munich
This might seem harsh, but Bayern has not had the best transfer window. Right now, Bayern is heading into the season with Sven Ulreich in goal, while many key depth pieces have left and not been replaced. Harry Kane is the main signing, fixing a glaring hole at striker. Kim Min-jae, Konrad Laimer, and Raphaël Guerreiro are all good signings. However, there are still big problems that need to be addressed — starting with goalkeeper.
7) Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund continues to struggle to hold on to its players, losing Jude Bellingham, Raphaël Guerreiro, and Mahmoud Dahoud. They probably paid too much for Felix Nmecha, too. Still, Nmecha is a good player, and, at just 22, there’s room for improvement. Ramy Bensebaini is a great replacement for Guerreiro with Bundesliga experience, and Marcel Sabitzer is an underrated signing. They still need more signings, but it’s been a good transfer window.
6) VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg can’t be too unhappy about any of their sales. Yes, starting center-back Micky van de Ven left, but he was forcing his way out of the club regardless. Felix Nmecha also left for Dortmund, but Wolfsburg got a massive transfer fee for him — more than they probably would have expected. Meanwhile, the club has signed cheap, quality replacements: Moritz Jenz, Václav Černý, Tiago Tomás, and Joakim Maehle, among others.
5) Eintracht Frankfurt
Frankfurt is losing starting center-back Evan Ndicka, as well as midfielders Daichi Kamada and Djibril Sow. Despite this, Eintracht has replaced them all perfectly. The club brought in some top prospects — including Willian Pacho, Hugo Larsson, Junior Dina Ebimbe, Ansgar Knauff, and Nnamdi Collins. Omar Marmoush and Skhiri arrived for free, Robin Koch joined on loan, and Philipp Max joined for a bargain fee. And, so far, they have held on to Randal Kolo Muani.
4) Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Leverkusen could be surprise title candidates. Manager Xabi Alonso is now taking over a much-improved squad, with three quality starters (Alejandro Grimaldo, Jonas Hofmann, and Granit Xhaka) all joining. Throw in 22-year-old Victor Boniface, who scored on his DFB Pokal debut, and Brazilian talent Arthur, and Leverkusen has an incredible team. They are losing quality players, namely Moussa Diaby, but this has been an excellent window for the club regardless.
3) RB Leipzig
Leipzig has lost so many key players. Dominik Szoboszlai, Christopher Nkunku, Joško Gvardiol, and Konrad Laimer were all very important for the club. Still, as shown in the Supercup Final against Bayern, the new signings had no trouble fitting in. Baumgartner, El Chadaille Bitshiabu, Fabio Carvalho, Castello Lukeba, Benjamin Sesko, Lois Openda, Nicolas Seiwald, Xavi Simons all signed and have looked impressive so far. However, a lack of familiarity could be a problem.
2. VfB Stuttgart
Stuttgart was nearly relegated last season, playing in the Relegation Play-off. This offseason, they’ve been busy. Alexander Nübel, Jamie Leweling, and Deniz Undav arrived on loan, while Serhou Guirassy was bought permanently after scoring 11 goals last year. Jeong Woo-yeong and Maximilian Mittelstädt signed from Bundesliga clubs, while they didn’t lose any star players. After last season, this is probably the best window the club could’ve hoped for.
1) 1.FC Union Berlin
Union Berlin is getting ready for the Champions League in style. On top of losing none of their key players, they bought star defender Diogo Leite permanently after he excelled on loan. Rising stars David Datro Fofana, Alex Kral, and Brenden Aaronson joined on loan, and Mikkel Kaufmann and Benedict Hollerbach joined permanently. The club also snatched up recently relegated duo Lucas Tousart and Alexander Schwolow from fierce rivals Hertha Berlin.