In the summer of 2008 then Cologne sporting-director Michael Meier smiles from ear to ear. He can announce that the club from the cathedral city has bought a new central defender that he thinks will help them stay in the Bundesliga. Born on September 21, 1985, the Brazilian defender Geromel comes from the Portuguese club Vitória Guimarares. This move is a surprise for many football experts, considering that Geromel has to give up the Champions League matches that his former club will play, while he is stuck at newly promoted side that may have to fight for their survival. Geromel is also coming off a year in which he was voted the best player in the Portuguese SuperLiga in an online poll.
Geromel was a widely unknown quantity for most German football fans back then, but his good passing game, and cool and collected manner in one-on-ones make him quickly one of the favorites of the FC Cologne fans. The strength of the 6’3″ defender in the air has impressed football experts. Besides being amongst the best going backwards, Geromel is also able to create danger going forward. His precise passing game often starts off attacks that end up in goals, and his strength in the air has produced four goals in 81 games.
The current campaign has seen the Brazilian take further strides towards becoming one of the best defenders in the league. So far this season the central back has won 64.2% of his one-on-ones, and been the Cologne player with the second most touches of the ball behind former Portuguese international Petit. He has also started 20 games for the Billy Goats, second only on the club to captain Lukas Podolski.
The play of Geromel, along with the acquisition of goalkeeper Michael Rensing, has been an important factor in Cologne’s turnaround since the winter break. Coach Frank Schaefer’s Billy Goats have captured 14 points in the 8 2011 league matches, pulling themselves up to the eleventh spot in the table. This is big improvement over their Hinrunde performance, where the team only captured 15 points in 17 matches. Currently out with a thigh injury that caused his absence in the Billy Goats’ last two matches, it is hoped that the Sao Paulo native will return to action by the end of March.
Geromel’s contract runs until the end of the 2013-2014 season, but it is uncertain whether the Brazilian will stay at Cologne that long if his high level of play continues. In June, 2010 TribalFootball reported that Serie A clubs Juventus and Lazio had an eye on Geromel, and in July, Stefan Coerts of Goal.com wrote that Real Madrid have shown interest in the defender and are tracking him for a potential signing. Certainly other big clubs are tracking the Brazilian too.
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