Bundesliga clubs made moves to strenthen their sides for the Ruckrunde in late December, with Schalke signing obtaining the highly-regarded Jan Kirchhoff on loan from Bayern Munich, while Hertha Berlin brought in Norway’s number one goalkeeper. VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach looked abroad to bring in young talents from Belgium, South Korea and Australia respectively.
Kirchhoff to Schalke
Twenty-three year old Jan Kirchhoff will spend the next 18 months in Gelsenkirchen following the announcement of his loan move to Schalke from Bayern Munich. According to Schalke Director Horace Heldt, the 6’5 Frankfurt native may be used in either central defense or as a defensive midfielder for the Royal Blues.
Kirchhoff began his career with Mainz 05, building a reputation as one of the top young defenders in Germany before being signed by Bayern Munich last January and joining the Bavarians this summer. Kirchhoff, however, has only made 11 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s talent-rich squad.
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rumminegge commented
I think this is a good decision for all three parties. Jan will surely get match practice at Schalke, which in Munich so far was not possible. We wish him all the best and hope that he develops well and if necessary in 2015 returns to Bayern
Kirchhoff played in over 60 first-team matches for Mainz and has also featured almost 30 times for German national youth teams.
Wolfsburg Bring in Malanda
VFL Wolfsburg, who signed Belgian U-21 Junior Malanda to a five-year deal this summer, are bringing the defensive midfielder back home after his fall loan to club Zulte-Waregem, the club from which he was originally signed. Malanda played in 11 matches for Zulte this fall after appearing 35 times for the club prior to his signing with VfL. Malanda has also played for Lille’s reserve side.
Wolfsburg Sporting Director Klaus Allofs spoke about Malanda
After we signed him, we have been following his development closely. Over the last half year, he has convinced us with his continued strong performances.
Therefore, we decided to take the option to bring him to VfL at this early stage. Despite his age, Junior Malanda is a player who has the necessary experience. Now, with VfL, he has the chance to develop his great potential.
Hertha Berlin Sign Norway’s First Choice Keeper
Hertha Berlin have inked Viking Stavanger goalkeeper Rune Jarstein to a two and a half-year deal. The signing of the 29 year-old is seen as providing a challenge for Hertha incumbent keeper Thomas Kraft as well as a move to help mentor Hertha’s young goalkeepers. Jarstein has claimed the number one spot for the Norwegian national team, having earned 35 caps for his country since 2007.
The 6’3″ keeper has a wealth of experience in the Tippeligaen, having played in over 230 league matches with Odd Grenland, Rosenborg and Viking, and was the starter on Rosenborg’s 2009 title-winning squad.
I’m really looking forward to playing for Hertha as well as in Berlin. The Bundesliga’s a big challenge, and I’m very excited. Hertha have been having a brilliant first half of the season, and I want to help the club achieve its targets
Surprising Hertha hold the sixth spot in the Bundesliga table at the winter break.
Ryu Seung-Woo Joins Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen have made a one-year loan deal with South Korean club Jeju United to bring in forward Ryu Seung-Woo, with the opportunity for the North-Rhine Westphalia club to make the deal permanent. The 20 year-old joins fellow South Korean Heung-Min Son on Die Werkself’s roster.
There was speculation last summer that Ryu would sign with Borussia Dortmund, but that move didn’t come to fruition. Ryu raised his profile by scoring twice in the FIFA U-20 World Cup’s group stage before injury sidelined him from the knockout stages. The 5’7″ striker can also play on the wing or as an attacking midfielder.
Gladbach Sign Australian Youngster
Borussia Mönchengladbach announced the signing of Australian teenaged striker Kwame Yeboah to a four-year contract. The 19 year-old native of the Gold Coast, Queensland has played professionally with the two-time A-League champion Brisbane Roar, scoring twice in twelve games. The 5’11” striker is slated to begin his time with Gladbach on their reserve side.
Yeboah earned a scholarship to the Queensland Academy of Sport in 2009 before joining the Gold Coast United reserves in 2011. He signed a senior-squad contract with the Roar in March, 2013, who currently top the A-League table. The transfer of Yeboah to a German club continues the stream of former A-League players in Germany, a group that includes Eintracht Frankfurt’s Robbie Kruse, goalkeeper Mitch Langerak and midfielder Mustafa Amini in Dortmund and Stuttgart summer-signing Marco Rojas.
There is a potential treat in store for fans at Borussia Park should Yeboah eventually make the first-squad and score a goal…..he celebrates goals with a Capoeira-styled backflip.
Photo courtesy of Suddeutsche.de
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