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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Six to watch in the Bundesliga
By Martin Richardson

The Bundesliga season is set to start with Bayern Munich looking to reclaim the title they surrendered to Werder Bremen last year.

BBC Sport takes a look at the six summer signings set to shape the season to come.


Lucio: Bayer Leverkusen to Bayern Munich, £8m

Lucio
Lucio spent four seasons at Leverkusen
Brazilian defender Lucio has been hampered by niggling injuries since a triumphant 2002 in which he helped Leverkusen to the Champions League final and won the World Cup.

Despite this, Bayern fought off stiff competition for his services from Italy and Spain and persuaded Lucio to stay in the country where he has made his name.

With great pace and a sharp football brain, Lucio will marshal Bayern's defence under new boss Felix Magath as they attempt to recapture the Bundesliga title and reassert themselves as a European force after two seasons of Champions League failure.

He is the model of a modern central defender and his name fits in perfectly alongside the other world-class players on the Bayern team-sheet.


Torsten Frings: Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich, £7.5m

The versatile Frings was forced to move on from Borussia Dortmund after their failure to qualify for European competition plunged the club into financial difficulties.

There was only ever one possible destination for Frings as Bayern continued their policy of snaring the best German talent around.

BAYERN INS AND OUTS
In: Felix Magath (coach), Lucio, Torsten Frings, Andreas Goerlitz, Vahid Hashemian
Out: Ottmar Hitzfeld (ex-coach), Bixente Lizarazu, Zvjezdan Misimovic, Christian Lell (loan)

One of very few to emerge with any credit after Germany's disastrous performance at Euro 2004, Frings is a hot property.

Question marks remain over his relationship with the newly-installed coach, after a stormy spell under Magath at Werder Bremen, but Frings' boundless energy and ability to play anywhere across midfield, or even as an emergency striker, will prove invaluable.


Ailton: Werder Bremen to Schalke, free

SCHALKE INS AND OUTS
Ailton
In: Mladen Krstajic, Ailton, Marcelo Bordon, Lincoln
Out: Marco van Hoogdalem, Victor Agali, Kristijan Djordjevic, Tomasz Hajto, Nico van Kerckhoven, Sven Kmetsch, Jochen Seitz, Filip Trojan, Sergio Pinto (loan), Simon Cziommer (loan)
The Bundesliga's top-scorer last season committed his future to Schalke as far back as last November and went on to fire Werder Bremen to league and cup glory, finishing second only to Arsenal's Thierry Henry in the European Golden Boot standings.

The 31-year-old Brazilian was lured by the big wage on offer in Gelsenkirchen, which Bremen could not match.

Often ridiculed for his less than athletic build, the 'Cannonball' scored more than 100 goals for Werder in seven seasons with his lighting pace and lethal left foot.

Ailton's attitude to training and club discipline can sometimes be unpredictable, and he is bound to be disappointed to miss out on Champions League football with Werder, but given the right support he guarantees goals.


Miroslav Klose: Kaiserslautern to Werder Bremen, £3.5m

Replacing Ailton at the champions will be Germany's hot-shot from the 2002 World Cup, Miroslav Klose.

Klose's long-stated ambition to play in the Champions League was showing no signs of coming to fruition at Kaiserslautern and he announced his availability mid-way through last season, with his eyes firmly fixed on Werder.

BREMEN INS AND OUTS
In: Miroslav Klose, Frank Fahrenhorst, Aaron Hunt, Gustavo Nery
Out: Mladen Krstajic, Ailton, Ivica Banovic, Markus Daun, Holger Wehlage

Klose's different strengths to the departing Brazilian - his great aerial ability - will mean a change in the style of play for Thomas Schaaf's side but the international oozes quality.

After a relatively barren time since his exploits in South Korea and Japan, Klose will have to find his form quickly to keep Greece's Euro 2004 hero Angelos Charisteas warming the bench in Bremen.


Benjamin Lauth: 1860 Munich to Hamburg, £3m

HAMBURG INS AND OUTS
Benjamin Lauth
In: Benjamin Lauth, Emile Mpenza, Daniel van Buyten, Miso Brezko, Sascha Kirschstein, Ken Reichel, Mustafa Kucukovic
Out: Rodolfo Cardoso, Milan Fukal, Bernd Hollerbach, Nico-Jan Hoogma, Marcel Maltritz, Tom Starke

23-year-old Benny Lauth is regarded as one of the best young strikers in Germany and a definite candidate for an international place come the World Cup in 2006.

Lauth's move north to Hamburg from Munich's second club was an unexpected, but necessary, one after 1860 were relegated at the end of last season.

Ironically it was a broken bone in Lauth's right foot in April which meant 1860 lacked the firepower to escape the drop zone.

Under Klaus Toppmoeller, HSV are rebuilding impressively after themselves flirting with relegation last season, and in Lauth they have captured an astute player bound to become a fans' favourite.


Yildiray Basturk: Bayer Leverkusen to Hertha Berlin, free

Once highly sought-after, there seemed a distinct lack of suitors when Basturk's contract at Leverkusen ran out at the end of last season.

After a long period of deliberation the Turkish playmaker finally opted for Berlin ahead of double winners Bremen and Turkish champions Fenerbahce.

HERTHA INS AND OUTS
In: Yildiray Bastürk
Out: Gabor Kiraly, Roberto Pinto, Bartosz Karwan

Neat skills on the ball and an eye for the killer pass made Basturk a vital member of the team for both Leverkusen and Turkey, but his craft was soon sacrificed when the going got tough for club and country.

Looking to rebuild his reputation in the capital city, the 25-year-old has already suffered a setback with a hairline fracture in his shin sidelining him for the majority of pre-season.




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