He joins until the end of the season, and follows the arrivals of centre-back Patrick Banggaard from Danish club FC Midtjylland and former 1. FC Nürnberg man Wilson Kamavuaka, who joins from Greek side Pantetolikos Agrinio.
On the way out are Florian Jungwirth, who is joining San Jose Earthquakes after two-and-a-half years with Darmstadt, and Victor Obinna, who has been released after a short spell with the Lillies.
Altintop looking to achieve the “impossible”
Altintop, twin brother of FC Augsburg’s Halil Altintop, joins the struggling side on a free transfer, having recently terminated his contract with Galatasaray SK.
The Turkish international, who was born in Germany, has previous Bundesliga experience with both Schalke 04 and Bayern, appearing 176 times in total in the league. He is also a former title winner, having been a champion with Bayern in 2008 and 2010.
He left Bavaria for Real in 2011, but after playing only a bit-part role with the Spanish giants he joined Galatasaray in 2012. Despite winning eight trophies in his time there, he suffered a number of injuries and parted company with the club after a series of poor performances.
Coach Torsten Frings called Darmstadt’s capture of Altintop “something special,” and said the club hope he can “make the supposedly impossible” feat of escaping relegation for a second season “possible.”
For his part, Altintop believes it is possible as the team has “already proved in the past what it is capable of.” He added that he is “looking forward” to trying everything in the next 16 games to keep the club up.
Banggard and Kamavuaka further strengthen the side
The deals to bring in Banggaard and Kamavuaka were announced within minutes of each other by the club earlier on Tuesday afternoon.
Banggaard was part of the Midtjylland side that won the Danish Superliga in 2014-15 and had made 110 league appearances for them over four years. He also amassed some experience of European competition with his old club and has won 19 under-21 caps for Denmark.
Frings describes the 22-year-old as an “extremely talented player,” and he believes the experience he has also acquired makes him “ready for the next step.”
Kamavuaka meanwhile returns to Germany, having been a Nürnberg player between 2011 and 2013. However in that time he only made five first team appearances, and spent his second season on loan with SSV Jahn Regensberg, before going on to play for KV Mechelen, SK Sturm Graz and most recently Pantetolikos.
Frings said that Kamavuaka is “exactly the type of player” they needed, given the departure of Jungwirth. He also cited his combat and running abilities as well as his physically strength. The Congolese-German himself said he was looking forward to “helping” the club.
Jungwirth and Obinna on the way out
Kamavuaka arrives following the completion of Jungwirth’s move to San Jose. A member of the squad that won promotion to the Bundesliga in 2015, he had been a regular starter throughout 2016 under Dirk Schuster and Norbert Meier, and made 64 appearances for the club in total.
However he was left out of the squad for the 6-1 defeat to 1. FC Köln last weekend, with Frings critical following the game of the player’s attitude in trying to force through a move.
He used a more conciliatory tone though in the statement announcing the player’s departure, saying that the club had promised to allow him to leave if “we found an alternative,” and he wished him the best for the future.
The club have also released Obinna after just six months. The one-time Inter Milan and West Ham United striker signed for Darmstadt from MSV Duisburg in the summer. He made only three appearances for the club, with his only start in the DFB-Pokal defeat against FC-Astoria Walldorf.
The two parties mutually agreed to terminate his contract, which had been due to expire in the summer. It was reported that he was set to join Dinamo Bucharest, however Romanian broadcaster Dolce Sport are reporting that he has failed his medical.
Quotes via SV Darmstadt 98.