Hamburg complete signing of Mergim Mavraj
Photo: Hamburger SV

Hamburg complete signing of Mergim Mavraj

The Albanian international joins the club from Köln to strengthen their defence ahead of the Rückrunde.

James Rees

Hamburger SV have completed the transfer of Albanian defender Mergim Mavraj from 1. FC Köln.

The 30-year-old, who had been with the Billy Goats since 2014, has signed a deal until June 2019 with the Red Shorts.

Hamburg are hoping that he will help to solidify their defence as they battle to avoid the drop in the second of the Bundesliga season.

Moves after failure to agree new contract

Mavraj leaves Köln despite having played in every minute of the league campaign so far, having been more of a fringe player in the previous two seasons. In fact, the only action he has missed this season was the first round DFB-Pokal tie against BFC Preussen 1894 in August.

However his contract had been set to expire in the summer, and having not already agreed an extension, Hamburg swooped to capture his signature, with the promise of a more senior role for him in their set-up.

He joined Köln following the promotion back to the Bundesliga in 2014 from SpVgg Greuther Fürth. He had been part of the Shamrocks side that played in the Bundesliga in the 2012-13 season, and he also played at the highest level for VfL Bochum, having started his profession career with SV Darmstadt 98, then in the Regionalliga Süd, in 2006.

In total he made 43 league appearances for Köln. He has also won 34 caps for Albania to date, scoring three goals, despite representing Germany at youth level.

New responsibility for Mavraj

Speaking on the club’s website, Mavraj said he was “delighted” to join Hamburg, and added that he was “proud” to be trusted with a greater role to help the side battle relegation. “I’m burning to join the team from January,” he also said, adding he would “give everything” to help the club avoid relegation.

Speaking on behalf of Köln, managing director Jörg Schmadtke said that the new contract offered by Hamburg had been “an attractive prospect” for Mavraj. He described him as someone who had been “a reliable pro and a real team player.”

The transfer will officially go through once the transfer window opens on New Year’s Day, and Mavraj will begin training with his new side on 3 January.

Quotes via Hamburger SV and 1. FC Köln.