While the first three days of the 2014 FIFA World Cup have provided much excitement with attacking football, goals galore and interesting results (Robben AND van Persie with braces against Spain, Costa Rica upsetting Uruguay, the usual stingy Greeks surrendering three goals to Colombia), there is still plenty of transfer, signing and other news from Germany’s Bundesliga clubs as the upcoming club season grows closer..
Billy Goats Nab Kalas, Add Zoller
Newly promoted 1. FC Köln have brought in Chelsea youngster Tomas Kalas on loan for 2014/2015 and have signed Simon Zoller from 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Kalas played in four matches for Chelsea last season after spending two seasons on loan with Eredivisie side Vitesse. A central defender, the 21 year-old was born in the Czech Republic and began his career with Sigma Olomouc before signing with the London club in July, 2010 for a reported fee of over 5 million euros. He has one senior cap for the Czech Republic and featured in 66 matches in Dutch football. Kalas remarked that
My goal is to play as many games here as possible. I hope that I can help the club steer clear of the relegation battle and finish as high up in the table as possible.
Zoller, 22, signed a three-year contract last summer with the Red Devils and is now contracted to the Billy Goats for the next four seasons. The 5’10” striker, a native of Friedrichshaven, has scored 26 goals in German football since 2010 with Karlsruher SC, VfL Osnabrück and the Red Devils. The Billy Goats have also recently added 6’3″ defender and Albanian international Mërgim Mavraj, 28, from Greuther Fürth along with Augsburg’s Kevin Vogt, 22, and 1860 Munich striker Yuya Osako. Vogt played 15 matches for German national youth teams along with almost 100 matches for VfL Bochum and Augsburg, while Osako, 24, was a starter for Japan in their World Cup opener Saturday against the Ivory Coast. Osako joined 1860 last January from the J-League Kashima Antlers, scoring six goals in 15 matches for Die Löwen.
Mike Frantz Heads to Freiburg
Veteran midfielder Mike Frantz has signed a contract with SC Freiburg. Another refugee from relegated 1. FC Nürnberg, the 27 year-old began his career with hometown side 1. FC Saarbrücken in 2006 before moving to Der Club in 2008. Frantz played in 125 matches at Nürnberg, scoring 10 times. The midfielder commented
SC Freiburg are a club who have established themselves in the Bundesliga in recent years. I hope to be able to help with my experience. The way in which Freiburg play football has always impressed me – it was always uncomfortable playing against them, and that makes it all the more comforting for me to know that I’ll now be playing on their side
In other Freiburg news, the club signed two goalkeepers in late May to compete for the number one position following Oliver Baumann’s departure. Coming to the Black Forest are Werder Bremen’s Sebastian Mieletz, 24,along with Grasshopper keeper Roman Bürki. Mieletz played in 62 matches for Bremen while former Swiss youth international Bürki played in over 90 matches for Grasshopper after beginning his career with BSC Young Boys.
“After nine years at Bremen it was time for a change of scenery,” Mielitz said of the move. “I had very good, in-depth talks with the management here and I’m looking forward to the fresh challenge of playing for Freiburg.”
Hoffenheim Sign South Korean Left Back
Hoffenheim have inked Kim Jin-su, 22, to a four-year deal, signing with the club on his June 13 birthday. The 5’9″ left back has played since 2012 for J-League side Albirex Niigata, featuring in 66 games, and was expected to be a member of South Korea’s World Cup squad this month before being sidelined by an ankle injury. Kim has nine senior caps for South Korea and also represented his country at the U-17 and U-20 levels.
Hoffenheim, who finished ninth in the Bundesliga table last season, had earlier signed Eintracht Braunschweig central defender Ermin Bičakčić, 24, as well as Eintracht Frankfurt’s Pirmin Schwegeler and goalkeeper Oliver Baumann of SC Freiburg. Bičakčić, who is a member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s World Cup squad. grew up near Sinsheim and began his career in the VfB Stuttgart youth system before moving to Braunschweig, where he featured in 72 matches.
“Ermin is going to give us more stability in our defence,” said Hoffenheim’s sporting director Alexander Rosen, who highlighted the 24-year-old’s “passion, which he has underlined impressively in 31 appearances for Braunschweig in the season just ended”. His call-up to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s World Cup squad “is just a logical consequence of his performances,” added Rosen.
Emre Can, Mame Diouf head to the EPL
Bayer Leverkusen’s Emre Can has left the Bundesliga after signing with Liverpool FC, while Mame Biram Diouf and Stoke City finally worked out a deal that will bring the former Hannover man to the second oldest professional football club in the world. Can, 20, played in 29 matches last year in his only season with Die Werkself, scoring three goals after coming over from Bayern Munich. Diouf, whose departure was no surprise as he refused a contract extension with Hannover, is no stranger to the EPL, having played for Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers. The Senegalese international scored 25 goals for the 96ers since 2012.
Fortuna Düsseldorf Sign Sergio Pinto, Appoint Reck as Manager
Fortuna Düsseldorf have signed former Hannover man Sergio Pinto to a two-year deal through June, 2016, from Spanish side UD Levante. Born in Portugal, Pinto began with the youth teams of FC Porto before moving to Germany at the age of 12. The right winger played in 160 games for the 96ers, and also played for FC Schalke, where he began his senior squad career in 1999, and Alemannia Aachen, with a total of 212 Bundesliga matches and 21 goals over a decade. Last season, the 33 year-old Pinto played in 18 La Liga matches for Levante.
In other recent F95 news, the club announced the appointment of Oliver Reck as team manager as he signed a two-year contract. Reck filled in the latter half of the season for Lorenz-Günther Köstner, who was sidelined by illness. Reck, 49, played goal for Kickers Offenbach, Werder Bremen and Schalke between 1983 and 2005, playing in over 500 matches. He managed MSV Duisburg from October, 2011 to August, 2012 and was goalkeeper coach.
The DFL has announced that this summer’s Supercup preseason match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 13 at Signal Iduna Park. This is the third time in a row that the two clubs have met in the Supercup, with Dortmund winning 4-2 last season. Each club has won the Supercup four times.
The DFL also revealed that the fixture list for the 2014/2015 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 seasons will be unveiled at a press conference on June 24. The second division begins play on August 1, while the first division clubs begin their new campaign on August 22. Furthermore, the organization recently introduced the new adidas torfabrik official Bundesliga ball that will be used in all matches for the 2014/2015 campaign.
More Signings and Contract Extensions
Nürnberg plan to replace the departed Frantz with a new signing, Eintracht Frankfurt’s U-19 player Özgür Özdemir. Born in Frankfurt am Main, the Turkish national is a central defender who can also play at fullback on both sides of the field.
At Bayern Munich, World Cup players Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller both signed two-year contract extensions. Lahm stated that it will be the last contract he signs, as he wants to end his career as a Bayern player and will be 34 when the extension ends.
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said
Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller are both very important building blocks for FC Bayern. Both have remained loyal to the club from the beginning of their careers and will continue to play a significant role in the future. We’re delighted they’ve committed their long-term futures to FC Bayern München. Furthermore, I want to wish them a successful World Cup campaign in Brazil. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for both them and the German national team
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen have all three goalkeepers — Bernd Leno, Dario Kresic and David Yelldell now under contract after inking backup Yelldell, 32, to a two-year extension. German-American Yelldell, who started for MSV Duisburg in the 2011 Pokal final, was born in Stuttgart and earned one cap for the American national team, but has served strictly as a backup to Bernd Leno at Leverkusen.
At Werder Bremen, the club looks to extend the contracts of goalkeeper Raphael Wolf, midfielder Zlatko Junuzović and defender Sebastian Prödl, each for an additional three years. Additionally, the club will begin their tour of China on June 30, playing two friendlies with Chinese clubs before returning home, a trip that will hopefully not only build team unity but also extend the club’s brand.
Things are looking up for the north German club and its brand. After moving up two spots in the table last year in Robin Dutt’s first year as club manager, Werder Bremen also moved up three spots, to sixth place, in the annual rankings by the Technical University of Braunschweig’s survey of the Bundesliga’s club, based on popularity, likeability and authenticity. (Borusia Dortmund, Schalke and Bayern head the rankings). And Werder has also moved up to the 30th spot in the current Brand Finance 50 ranking, rising two spots from the previous year’s rankings due to a seven million euro increase in brand value. Additionally, Bremen fans are in for a preseason treat as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will come to play a friendly at the Weser Stadium on August 3. The visit by Chelsea, who finished 3rd in the Champions League this past season, continues a tradition of English sides visiting the Weser, as Everton, Aston Villa and Fulham have played preseason matches in the last years at the Weser.
Meanwhile, it looks like Canadian international Marcel De Jong, 27, will be ending his time at FC Augsburg, where he originally signed in May, 2010. De Jong has not signed a contract extension offer with the Fuggerstädter as he looks to gain more playing time, with 1860 Munich or Union Berlin being possible destinations.
Finally, kicker.de reports that veteran Bundesliga striker Mike Hanke is being targeted by the Columbus Crew of MLS. Hanke, The 30 year-old began his BuLi career with Schalke in 2001, and has also played for Wolfsburg, Hannover and Gladbach before joining Freiburg last season. Hanke is still under contract at Freiburg but appears to not fit with the club’s future plans. The Brisbane Roar, A-League 2013/2014 champions, showed a good deal of interest in Hanke’s services back in April, but nothing so far has developed between player and club.
Header photo from isport.blesk.cz