- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BERLIN (AP) - Here’s a look at five offseason signings to watch in the upcoming Bundesliga season:


Tolisso was virtually unknown to German football fans when Bayern Munich announced his transfer for a Bundesliga-record 41.5 million euros ($49 million) in June.

Bayern moved early to secure the French midfielder’s services at coach Carlo Ancelotti’s behest. The Italian had a vacancy in the center of the pitch following Xabi Alonso’s retirement.

Tolisso, who has made one appearance for France, was reportedly also a target for Chelsea. He impressed with Lyon last season despite not playing in his preferred position, which is in defensive midfield. The 23-year-old Tolisso has a combative style allied to a fine range of passing and a keen eye for goal. He scored 14 times in all competitions last season, including several spectacular strikes.

Performances have been mixed in pre-season friendlies for Bayern, but he still has time to live up to his price-tag.


Bayern secured a coup in signing Colombia star James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a two-year loan for 10 million euros ($11.7 million) with the option to make the move permanent for another 35 million euros ($41 million).

The Bundesliga side hopes that Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge in Madrid when James joined the side after the 2014 World Cup, will again be able to get the best from a player who undoubtedly has the talent to count among the world’s best.

James found life difficult under Ancelotti’s successor Zinedine Zidane in Madrid. Last season he was relegated to Madrid’s “B-Team” under the French coach, playing only when others were being rested. It will give him added motivation to make the most of his second chance at Bayern.


Former Germany defender Holger Badstuber is hoping for a change in fortune after returning to boyhood club Stuttgart following 15 years at Bayern Munich.

Badstuber’s injury troubles started in December 2012 when he suffered a season-ending cruciate ligament rupture in a league game against Borussia Dortmund. That was followed by setback after setback as the 28-year-old became synonymous with serious injuries. He has missed more games than he’s played in his professional career.

Badstuber spent the second half of last season on loan at Schalke after making just three appearances for Bayern in the first half. Bayern drew criticism among its own fans when it announced that it wasn’t renewing his contract, which expired in June.

“Bayern was true love for me,” said Badstuber, who played 119 league games for the club.


Borussia Dortmund spent 20 million euros ($23.4 million) to convince Freiburg to part with arguably its top performer last season. The attacking midfielder scored nine goals - including one brilliant strike against Dortmund - and he set up three more to help Freiburg qualify for the Europa League.

The 23-year-old faces a tough fight to earn a starting spot at Dortmund, with Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa and Christian Pulisic among those playing behind last season’s league top-scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Philipp’s importance will grow if Ousmane Dembele is allowed leave the club in a big-money move for Barcelona. Should the French winger stay, he will have to work even harder to earn his place.


Much is expected of John Brooks since Wolfsburg made the United States defender the most expensive American player to transfer clubs - signing him from Hertha Berlin for 20 million euros ($23.4 million).

The imposing center back helped Hertha to sixth place last season to qualify for the Europa League and the 24-year-old’s performances have been steadily improving each year.

Wolfsburg, which only escaped relegation through a playoff, is counting on Brooks to plug the holes in its defense so it avoids a close shave again this season.

Brooks has made 32 appearances for the United States, scoring three goals.

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