Moritz Leitner makes return to Augsburg
Photo: FC Augsburg.

Moritz Leitner makes return to Augsburg

The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder returns to the club he helped get into the Bundesliga in 2011, after a brief spell with Lazio.

James Rees

FC Augsburg completed their only signing on the January transfer window before Tuesday’s deadline by bringing in midfielder Moritz Leitner from Lazio.

He returns to Germany after just six months in Italy, having joined the Eagles in August from Borussia Dortmund. He previously played for Augsburg on a loan spell in 2011.

He has signed a four-and-a-half year contract, running until 2021. Neither club has disclosed the transfer fee, but it is reported to be around €1.5 million.

Return to Augsburg for promotion-winner

The now 24-year-old started his career in his native Bavaria with 1860 Munich. He was signed by Dortmund in early 2011, before immediately being sent out on loan to Augsburg.

The club was then in the 2. Bundesliga however the youngster helped them to promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history, although an elbow injury during his spell limited him to nine appearances.

He made frequent appearances for Dortmund in the following two seasons, including 45 in the Bundesliga, mostly from the bench. He was then sent out on a two-year loan to VfB Stuttgart, where he made 40 appearances and scored twice.

However he struggled to get back into the Dortmund team on his return, with Thomas Tuchel having replaced Jürgen Klopp as head coach, and after appearing just nine times last season he signed for Lazio in the summer.

Things proved little better in Italy, as he saw action in just two Serie A games, two substitute appearances amounting to a total of 12 minutes of football.

Leitner reunited with former teacher

Speaking on the club’s website, Leitner described his first spell with the club as “terrific” and said that he had only “positive memories” of it, which convinced him this was the perfect time to return to the Bundesliga. He added that he was looking forward to “being able to wear the FCA shirt for a long time.”

Augsburg head coach Manuel Baum said he was “delighted” about Leitner’s arrival. He described him as “versatile,” said that he showed “a lot of football intelligence and worked hard on and off the ball.

Baum had also in fact been one of Leitner’s teachers as a youngster, and described him from that time as “a very creative and intelligent lad”, just as he is on the pitch. Speaking to Kicker, Leitner said he has “matured” since his schooldays, and was “looking forward” to working with him again.

He could make his second debut for the club against Werder Bremen on Sunday afternoon.

Quotes via FC Augsburg and Kicker.