Team: Fortuna Düsseldorf
Manager: Norbert Meier
Key Additions: Axel Bellinghausen, Fabian Giefer, Cha Du-Ri, Andriy Voronin
Key Losses: Assani Lukimya, Maximilian Beister (loan returnee), Michael Ratajczak
2011-2012 Finish: 2.Bundesliga 3rd (Promotion Playoff Winner)
2012-2013 Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf earned promotion to the Bundesliga after defeating Hertha Berlin over two legs in what can only be described as a tumultuous playoff. The final leg ended with Düsseldorf fans invading the pitch early, a referee nearly calling the match off with minutes left, a Hertha BSC player punching a match official, and just pure chaos. Nevertheless, Düsseldorf navigated their way into making the 2012-2013 Bundesliga season their first in the top flight since 1997.
Düsseldorf has been very active since the transfer window opened. They moved quickly to solidify their goalkeeping position after Michael Ratajczak's departure with Fabian Giefer who became expendable at Bayer Leverkusen with the emergence of Bernd Leno. They sold their talented centerback Assani Lukimya to Werder Bremen, and will attempt to replace him with the trio of Cha Du-Ri, Tobias Levels, and Bruno Soares. Will any of the three get the job done at the level that Lukimya did? I'm definitely not convinced. Finally, Düsseldorf has brought back Andriy Voronin back to the Bundesliga on a season long loan from Dynamo Moscow. Voronin has always been a solid Bundesliga player, but nothing more than that. Does he have the legs on him to score 15+ goals this season? No.
Axel Bellinghausen makes his return to Düsseldorf after seven seasons away. The midfielder spent the first four years of his professional career at the club when they were in the third and fourth divisions of German football. He moved on, but he's found his way back to Düsseldorf. Bellinghausen made 25 appearances in the Bundesliga for Augsburg last season, and he scored 2 goals assisting on 6. He's coming back to replace Maximilian Beister that has gone back to Hamburg now that his loan has expired. Beister was outstanding for Düsseldorf over the last two seasons, and Bellinghausen has a lot of work to do to even come close to equal that production.
Düsseldorf will likely be in for a long year in their Bundesliga return. They've added some talented players to the squad, but they're just not good enough in current form to stay in the Bundesliga for another season. The additions of Voronin and Bellinghausen should help the attack, but they're not enough to be match winners for the club. An automatic relegation at the end of the 2011-12 season is on the cards, unfortunately, for Düsseldorf.