2. Roberto Puncec
After all the defensive struggles of last season, Peter Vermes brought in Croatian center-half Roberto Puncec. He will look to cover for Matt Besler and Graham Zusi in the back. With some valuable Bundesliga experience playing against some of the world’s greatest attackers, Puncec will need to show more speed than the trio (Andreu Fontas, Botond Barath, and Graham Smith) that split time next to Besler last year.
It appears that Puncec will be the right center-back going into this season after partnering with Besler for much of preseason. The 28-year-old isn’t in his nation’s national team picture, which will certainly help his case with the looming Euros for many European players, but he has high-level experience and will ideally by a neat defensive foil alongside Besler.
The defense is definitely the most worrisome part of the squad with the ageing legs of Zusi and Besler and Ilie Sanchez failing to perform at the same high level he has in previous years. Puncec, then, must come in and use his experience to calm things down.