With the Premier League season edging closer and Fantasy Leaguers getting more nervous about the perfect line-up with every day that goes by, we take a look at three of this season’s Bundesliga imports and analyse as to what we might expect from these.
50-time Austria international Sebastian Prodl recently joined newly-promoted but ambitious side Watford, after having accumulated an impressive 150 Bundesliga games for Werder Bremen in seven years. The Austrian centre back was brought in on a free transfer, but that should be no reason to doubt the 28-year old’s Premier League potential. With a height of 1.94m and 85kg on the scale, the Austrian looks like the perfect physical match for English football. In 22 Bundesliga games last season, the defender managed to score three goals and provide one assist, whilst collecting five yellow cards in the process. With a tackle success ratio of 57%, Prodl was just above the Bundesliga average (for defenders) in that department.
Prodl will be available for a fairly small fee of £4.5m and he is likely to be a starter. The experience of ten Champions League appearances will be an added bonus and extremely beneficial for the tall Austrian. Watford will obviously be one of the division’s weaker clubs and the team’s defence might be subject to a lot of pressure from opposing sides. Although this can be a disadvantage, defenders such as Prodl might actually benefit from being under pressure and turn out to be great additions. In any case, the Austrian looks like a decent pick.
In midfield, this weekend has thrown up an extremely interesting proposition, with the addition of Bastian Schweinsteiger to Louis van Gaal’s hungry and ambitious Manchester United side. Although unclear at this stage, the central midfielder should cost around £9m and is expected to be one of the cornerstones of United’s midfield. Last season, Schweinsteiger was not always one of Bayern’s regulars, but despite this, the Germany international managed to maintain a well above average (for midfielders) tackle success ratio of 51%, coupled with a pass completion ratio 88%, with the average being 74%. In addition to this, Schweinsteiger scored five goals, provided four assists and created 31 scoring opportunities for his teammates, all this in only 1,361 minutes played.
Overall, Schweinsteiger comes with the experience of 342 Bundesliga and 69 Champions League games. Astonishingly, the midfielder has never been sent of in the Bundesliga, which will be another intriguing factor for those who enjoy the nuances of Fantasy League football. Just as much as ‘Schweini’ has always been a solid choice for German Fantasy Football experts, he will surely be a non-brainer for those who like to invest in a star player in midfield.
Finally, we look at Japanese international Shinji Okazaki who decided to leave Bundesliga side Mainz to link up with one of last season’s newcomers Leicester City. The 29-year old striker is experienced and joins the Foxes with 128 Bundesliga appearances and 37 goals in the backpack. Last season, the Japanese scored an impressive 12 goals from only 60 shots on goal. Furthermore, Okazaki provided six assists and only collected four yellow cards in the process.
Available for £6m, both goals and assists can be expected from the 91-time Japan international, who is set complement striking partner James Vardy’s game in the upcoming season. Okazaki looks like a decent investment, especially for those who are looking for capable back-up options to their star-strikers. Even as a potential starter in a fantasy team, the former Mainz and Stuttgart forward might surprise a few.