Bundesliga preview: Axel Witsel one of five key signings by German clubs

Ahead of the start of the 2018/19 German season, Ian Hawkey looks at five key summer arrivals

epa06960924 Dortmund's Axel Witsel celebrates after scoring the 1-1 equalizer during the German DFB Cup 1st Round soccer match between SpVgg Greuther Fuerth and Borussia Dortmund in Fuerth, Germany, 20 August 2018. 
(ATTENTION: The DFB prohibits the utilisation and publication of sequential pictures on the internet and other online media during the match (including half-time). ATTENTION: BLOCKING PERIOD! The DFB permits the further utilisation and publication of the pictures for mobile services (especially MMS) and for DVB-H and DMB only after the end of the match.)  EPA/LUKAS BARTH
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Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund)

The Belgian ended a stint in China with a move to Borussia Dortmund, a World Cup bronze medal in his luggage. Witsel, 29, will give bite and experience to midfield. He is off the mark already, with the injury-time equaliser to spare his new club embarrassment in the German Cup against second-division Greuther Furth.


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epa06942865 Bremen's Davy Klaassen (L) in action against Villareal's Samu Castillejo (R) during the friendly  soccer match between SV Werder Bremen and Villareal CF in Bremen, Germany, 11 August 2018.  EPA/FOCKE STRANGMANN

Davy Klaassen (Werder Bremen)

Once the jewel of Ajax's admired youth system, Klaassen, 25, needs a career kick-start after his dispiriting season at Everton, who signed him last summer after he had guided Ajax to the Europa League final. Bremen, champions way back in 2004, hope Klaassen's sharp passing and vision can galvanise a top-half finish.

Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig)

The Brazilian striker, still only 19, had a productive season with Sion in Switzerland in 2017/18 and he has startling pace and a cool finish in his skills-set. He has just won his first international call-up, too, to the Brazil Under 20 squad.

epa06951433 Leon Goretzka (L) of Bayern Munich in action against Hamburg's Tatsuya Ito (R) during the friendly soccer match between Hamburger SV and Bayern Munich in Hamburg, Germany, 15 August 2018.  EPA/SRDJAN SUKI

Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich)

Goretzka, who has joined the champions on a free transfer, will be missed by Schalke, whom he helped to second in the league last season. His challenge, at 23, is to establish a place amid stiff competition in Bayern's midfield. His versatility is an asset, and the Germany international's potential huge.

Allasane Plea (Borussia Monchengladbach)

At €25 million (Dh106m), Plea is Monchengladbach's most expensive signing in history. What they want from the 25-year-old Frenchman, who scored 16 goals for Nice last season, is more potency up front. Thorgen Hazard, developing nicely as attacking midfielder, might be the key man to supply the ammunition to Plea.