Daniel Opare discovers his form in Augsburg

Daniel Opare
Photo:Ulrich Wagner

I wrote about Daniel Opare during the pre-season. Well, his fortunes have changed for the better in FC Augsburg.

Last Saturday, Opare played his first match in a competitive tournament since May 2016 for Augsburg. And they beat Cologne 3-0.

During the pre-season and at the beginning of the 2017/2018 season Bundesliga, Opare was already written off as a player who failed to integrate in Augsburg. He had problems with his favorite position that was held by the captain of the team, Paul Verhaegh.

His circumstances changed when Paul Verhaegh left Augsburg for Wolfsburg, and in the match against Cologne, Raphael Framberger, could not play because he had a knee problem.Suddenly Opare became the only available choice against Cologne.

Opare grabbed the chance and in the match against Cologne, he was attentive in duels and reduced his mistakes to the minimum. The sports director, Stefan Reuter described his development ” he has worked on himself to reduce his carelessness, and risky action in defense. He left a good impression from the first day of training and he is very positive person.”

After waiting on the sidelines for so long, Opare has finally arrived in Augsburg.

The latest trends in the Bundesliga

The transfer window closed last week in the Bundesliga, and there are some noticeable changes in the way clubs react in the market for players. Football as we know it today is big business and the Neymar effect is palpable in the transfers. Many clubs are trying to stay afloat by taking proactive measures in hiring new players and selling old players for profit. A t the end of the day, the clubs, agents and players are all business people.

According to the estimates calculated by German news agency(DPA) from the transfer window, German clubs spent a total of 570 Million Euro for 130 players, which is an increase from last year that was placed at 512,59 million Euro. The amount here, does not reflect the fees from leased players. Furthermore the clubs earned some good money from selling players, like the 105 million Euro earned by Dortmund from the sale of Ousmane Dembele. A total of 485 million Euro was earned during the transfer deals made by Bundesliga clubs excluding bonuses.

It has become expensive for clubs facing a cash crunch to acquire new players. Because clubs with lots of cash are enticing players with numerous offers despite the UEFA’s policy of financial fair play(FFP). To ameliorate the problem, many Bundesliga clubs are now hiring players by leasing, and a buy option.

Take the case of Bayern Munich. Bayern spent 41,5 Million Euro for the French man Corentin Tolisso He is the most expensive Bayern player so far. They also have James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. Bayern could have paid more for Rodriguez but opted for leasing him from Madrid.

Werder Bremen signed Algeria’s Ishak Belfodil at the last minute before the transfer window closed. Bremen opted for leasing to reduce cost. Bremen will pay Standard Lütttich, ome million Euro for a year with option to buy for 10 million Euro.

The examples above are just a tip of the iceberg. Leasing with option to buy has become the new normal. The value of a player becomes directly proportional to his efforts. And in cases where the chemistry between the player and club is conducive, the buy option is the only way out of the contract. It helps clubs to mitigate the cost and reduce the risks of buying players outright who might not be the best in the long run.

Although some clubs regard FFP as a paper tiger, many players are not honoring contracts anymore. Ousmane Dembele comes to mind. He forced his way out of Dortmund. Dembele’s exit created so much drama.

RB Leipzig has come up with a novel idea to avoid tension with Naby Keita who wants to leave the club as soon as possible. They announced an amicable deal with FC Liverpool on time to erase all doubts for parties involved upfront. Already, the FC Liverpool are paying some amount of money to Leipzig. The main transfer money which is approximately 55 Million Euro would be paid in 2018. Now, Keita can concentrate on leaving Leipzig on a high, and improving the lot of RB Leipzig.

There was a time when Brazilian players like Lucio, Ze Roberto, Marcelinho, Elber, Dunga or Dede were houshold names in the Bundesliga. In fact Bayer Leverkusen had a special scouting department for Brazilian players. The era when Brazil used to be the destination of Bundesliga clubs for recruitment of players is gone with the wind.

Enter France as the new attractive destination of Bundesliga clubs. The French players are regarded as physically robust, and tactically well trained. Also, the players are affordable.The list of players from France contain budding stars like Abdou Diallo, Corentin Tolisso,Ibrahima konate, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Amine Harit or Sebastien Haller etc. They all have one thing in common-hunger for success.

The commercialization of football is on the rise, and who knows, maybe the famous 50+1 rule could be a thing of the past in the Bundesliga soon. The playing times have been revised to make the league attractive for television viewers world wide. The present discord between die-hard fans and managers of the game is not an intractable problem.

However, modernization in the name of commerce must not override the attractiveness, passion and success of the beautiful game in the Bundesliga.

Werder Bremen needs a striker real fast. Is Paul Onuachu the answer ?

paul onuachu

It is still early days in the Bundesliga but Werder Bremen have a problem. They do not have the strikers to convert chances in to goals.

The dearth of quality strikers might be Bremen’s undoing this season. Gone are the days, when they had Bundesliga legends like Ailton or Pizzaro.

Bild reported that Bremen is interested in Paul Onuachu’s services. He is a 23 year old Nigerian striker playing for Danish team FC Midtjylland.

Onuachu’s perfomance so far in the Danish league is promising. He has played a total of 120 games and scored 42 times for his club.

Despite Bremen’s interest, the sport director of FC Midtjylland, Claus Steinlein told the Danish paper, Ekstrabladet,”Paul would not be sold in this transfer period.” He also said there is no official offer from Bremen.

It has been speculated in German papers that FC Midtjylland wants at least 10 million Euro for Onuachu before talks could begin.

Bremen’s sports director,Frank Baumann, said in kicker“we would only do something, if it fits, we are convinced about the character of the player, and the price is affordable.”

The main snag is the cash crunch that Bremen is facing. Onuachu is an option for their desolate attack.

Marcel Tisserand replaces injured John Anthony Brooks temporarily in Wolfsburg.

Tisserand

VFL Wolfsburg have found a replacement for the injured American central defender, John Anthony Brooks. They have signed Marcel Tisserand of FC Ingolstadt until the end of the season.

Given that Brooks injury will last 3 months before he could play again, the officials in Wolfsburg had to look for a viable player that fits the profile of the club.

The 24 year old French- Congolese, played for FC Ingolstadt last season but could not prevent the club from relegation.

Tisserand has been given the number 29 jersey.

Naby Keita’s days are numbered at RB Leipzig

Naby Keita

Naby Keita, had a wonderful time last season for Leipzig. The 22 year old was resolute in midfield and stark in attack. It was no surprise that FC Liverpool came calling for his services. They offered 75 million Euro but was turned down by Leipzig.

According to the latest statement of the sports director, Ralf Rangnick to BILD, “Naby has the option theoretically to leave the club next season. I assume that he plays another stark season, especially in the Champions league, and there would be big clubs that he is interested in. It would be difficult to keep him.”

Leipzig are trying to extend Keita’s contract that is dotted with an exit clause of 50 million Euro next season. Unfortunately they have not been successful.

It appears his days at Leipzig might come to an end next season with a caveat-stark performance during the season.

Kevin Akpoguma returns to action after horror injury.

Kevin Akpoguma

Kevin Akpoguma celebrated his comeback to the beautiful game, in a test match between TSG Hoffenheim against FC Bologna in the 74th minute recently.

Akpoguma’s comeback is the climax of hardwork, miracle, and hope that he could play football again.

Because he sustained an injury 15 weeks ago, while on loan for Fortuna Dusseldorf last season. His first cervical vertebra was broken. And there were fears that it could lead to paralysis.

Luckily, he was able to survive the injury and has been training with his team for three weeks now.

In the match against Bologna, he was match rusty. He is expected to recover gradually to his old form.

Sidney Sam accepts his fate at Schalke

Sidney Sam

Sidney Sam is facing a difficult time at Schalke because he has become surplus to requirements. The new coach,Domenico Tedesco, informed Sam that he is not in his plans for the season.

The 29 years old Sam did not go with his team mates to pre season training camp in Austria.

Sam accepts his situation with the following comments in kicker, ” the coach wants to train with the players he aims to work with for the season. I have accepted the wish of the coach and i am concentrating on finding another club.”

Sam was sent to Darmstadt on loan last season. His contract with Schalke will end in 2018.

Sambou Yatabaré will decide his future soon.

Sambou Yatabaré

Werder Bremen’s Sambou Yatabaré,is on the verge of leaving the club. He was degraded to the reserve team last season.Yatabaré’s future is not with Bremen because he is surplus to requirements.

He has many offers from numerous clubs. Prominent among them is Royal Antwerpen of Belguim. Werder Bremen’s sport director,Frank Baumann, said in Werser Kurier ,”Sambou has not made up his mind where he wants to play in the future.The next step must be suitable, and there are many options.”

Bremen is waiting for him to decide and if the offer suite the club, then he can go.

Yatabaré came to Bremen from Olympiakos Piräus for 2,5 million Euro in January 2016 and he never had a chance to proove his worth.

Daniel Opare on a mission to revive his career in Augsburg

Daniel Opare
Foto: Ulrich Wagner

Daniel Opare left Augsburg last season to get some playing time and be with his family in France.

Opare is currently in pre-season training with FC Augsburg in Mals. He is on a mission to revive his career in Augsburg that took off on a rocky start.

He has not been able to secure a shirt in the starting line up. He played only four games before he went to Lens in January.

Opare faced a litany of problems, like the death of his father in Ghana, and staying far away from family. Also, his favourite position is held by the captain, Paul Verhaegh.

He has a contract with FC Augsburg until 2018. However, it is highly possible that Opare would be sold, if he does not impress the coach in Mals.

FC Augsburg currently have 36 players too many.In other words,there are 3 players each for every position. The coach and management would be forced to determine the strength and quality of the team before the Bundesliga season start.

Opare is in high spirits as he told Augsburger Allgemeine, “I am happy to play football in Augsburg again. I will do everything necessary in the pre-season. What will happen next, i really can not say now.”

Schalke interested to sign injured Abdul Rahman Baba with a clause.

Baba

Schalke 04 are in talks with Chelsea on turning the loan deal of Ghana’s Abdul Rahman Baba in to a permanent deal. However, the contract of Baba with Schalke, will have a clause that will consider if he is 100% fit from his knee injury.

Baba suffered the cruciate ligament rupture of his knee during the Africa cup in January. His injry is so serious that he is not expected to recover before autumn.

Currently, Baba is undergoing rehabilitaion in Schalke, where he is in good hands.

If the deal come to fruition, Baba will have the chance to work with a coach, Markus Weinzierl, who trusts his talent and rejuvenate his career with Schalke. It is a win-win for both side.