The winter transfer window has slammed shut in the German Bundesliga. Eurosport looks at the biggest transfers in a dramatic frenzy of last minute activity.
Lewis Holtby has left Schalke to join Tottenham Hotspur for 1.75 million euros. The 22 year old attacking midfielder rejected the Royal Blues’ contract extension after three and half seasons at the club. Holtby, whose father is English, was initially going to leave at the end of the season as a free agent but Tottenham brought forward the deal after an injury to Brazilian midfielder Sandro. Holtby will team up with another German, former Eurosport consultant Steffen Freund who’s assistant head coach at the London club.
“Tottenham are a top club and I’m fulfilling my dream. Negotiations with Schalke were initially advanced, but then I looked over it all carefully again. I have spoken to André Villas-Boas and I am confident in his plans.”
A small consolation for Schalke is they’ve made some money from the deal and they’ve signed Brazilian international left winger Bastos on loan from French club Olympique Lyonnais until the end of next season. Another option is to play 19 year old Julian Draxler down the middle.
The immediate challenge for Schalke under new coach Jens Keller is their Champions League last 16 tie against Galatasaray in two weeks time. Their prospects look much tougher now that the Turkish champions have signed Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder. The Royal Blues faced similar upheaval two years ago when they replaced coach Felix Magath with Ralf Rangnick and still managed to reach the semi finals. However it’s hard to see lightning strike twice.
He’s agreed to take a substantial pay cut during his 18 month loan after an unsuccessful 18 months at first Real Madrid and then on loan at Liverpool. It’s been an emotional homecoming for the man who inspired Dortmund to the title under Jurgen Klopp in 2011 and who was voted the Bundesliga’s Player of that season by his fellow professionals.
“It’ s overwhelming to be back home. My contact with the club officials, players and coaches never stopped in the past year and a half. This is my club, my home.”
The prodigal son is still only 24 year old and boasts two Bundesliga records. He’s the youngest man to play and score in the Bundesliga. Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is now spoilt for choice in midfield.
One man who’s left Dortmund is Croatian attacking midfielder Ivan Perisic to join the Wolfsburg revolution under new sporting director Klaus Allofs and new coach Dieter Hecking. The 23 year old who’ s signed a four and half year contract, cost eight million euros making him the most expensive signing of the German transfer window. He only started five league games for Dortmund this season and left the Champions for first team football.
“I was in a tricky situation at Dortmund because I wasn’t getting enough games. Everything else was perfect there, we had great results but I just wasn’t happy with my playing time. Four years ago Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga but since then it’s been difficult. However with the new coach and sporting director they’re building something new and everything is possible.”
The biggest transfer for Bayern Munich was not of course a player but a coach, Pep Guardiola who takes over next season and who’ s allegedly been given a war chest of 280 million euros. Top of his list are rumoured to be two South Americans, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid.
Also joining the record Bundesliga Champions next summer will be highly rated Mainz defender Jan Kirchoff. The 22 year old joins Bayern as a free agent after five seasons at Mainz. The German under 21 international will replace Belgian defender Daniel Van Buyten who will be out of contract. So the competition for places in Bayern’s defense will be stiff.
The busiest club in the transfer window has been relegation threatened Hoffenheim who dropped into the relegation zone after their defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Hoffenheim had to react and just before the transfer window deadline, they signed Brazilian goalkeeper Heruelho Gomes on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season. Gomes hasn’ t started a first team game since May 2011 and will face a baptism of fire when he starts Saturday’s derby against Freiburg.
This move comes just a day after Sporting director Andreas Muller claimed there would be no more deals.
Muller explained “We need to protect Tim Wiese. He’s in a no-win situation because the fans are putting too much pressure on his shoulders. They expect him to give one hundred and fifty per cent in every game which is just not human.”
24 hours earlier they signed Belgian international striker Igor de Camargo on loan from Borussia Moenchengladbach until the end of season. Polish international Eugen Polanski made his debut last Saturday after signing on a two year deal from Mainz. The 26 year old defensive midfielder wasn’t getting enough playing time at Mainz and will add steel to midfield as Muller explains.
“Eugen brings a lot of Bundesliga experience. He’s well trained tactically and we will use him to regain a bit of stability that we need in the relegation battle”
Hoffenheim have also snapped up Peruvian international Luis Advincula a 22 year old defender from the Ukrainian League, Argentine David Abraham from Getafe in Spain and Ghanaian international midfielder Afriyie Acqua from Palermo in Italy.
Saying ‘Aufwiedersehen’ to the Bundesliga :-
Renato Augusto, Bayer Leverkusen to Corinthians, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Stuttgart to Inter and Emmanuel Pogatetz on loan to West Ham after just six months at Wolfsburg.
Eurosport Bundesliga commentator
We kick off Eurosport 2 weekend action on Friday with a Northern Derby, struggling Werder Bremen against Hannover (20.30). On Saturday, Mainz host runaway leaders Bayern Munich (15.30) followed by Hamburg against Eintracht Frankfurt (18.30). The action continues on Sunday when Nurnberg host Borussia Moenchengladbach (15.30). In the match of the weekend, it’s second place against third as Bayer Leverkusen host the champions Borussia Dortmund (17.30).