FC Augsburg have begun their summer business with the signings of Rani Khedira and Fabian Giefer, two players with a point to prove.
Khedira joins on a free transfer after being released by RB Leipzig, and has signed a four-year deal with die Fuggerstädter.
27-year-old goalkeeper Giefer meanwhile arrives from FC Schalke 04 for an undisclosed fee, and comes after he spent the last few months on loan with Bristol City. He has also signed until 2021.
Khedira looking forward to playing more games
Khedira, the youngster brother of Germany international Sami Khedira, was a free agent after deciding to end his three year stay with Leipzig. He had joined the club from VfB Stuttgart in 2014, and was a regular in midfield during his first two seasons as the club plotted their rise from the 2. Bundesliga into the Bundesliga.
However his opportunities were far more limited in their first Bundesliga campaign, with the 23-year-old making just 10 appearances, all but one being from the bench. In total he played 51 times in league matches for the Saxony side.
Speaking to the club’s website after his move was confirmed on Wednesday, Khedira explained the reasons for joining. He said that they had given him “a very good opportunity” and that he was hoping to “play a lot of Bundesliga games” with his new club.
Head coach Manuel Baum will most likely see him as a like-for-like replacement for Dominik Kohr, who has returned to Bayer Leverkusen after they activated a buy-back clause.
Giefer a possible replacement for Hitz?
As for Giefer, after failing to break into the first team as a youngster at Leverkusen, he joined Fortuna Düsseldorf for the 2012-13 season. He was an ever-present for Fortuna as they were ultimately relegated from the Bundesliga after just one season, keeping eight clean sheets in the process.
He remained at the Esprit Arena for a further season, before embarking on what would turn out to be a frustrating three years with Schalke. He made just two Bundesliga appearances, back-to-back in early 2015, as he struggled with muscle and hernia injuries. He moved on loan to Bristol in January, appearing 10 times before losing his place in goal to Frank Fielding.
Giefer said he was “thankful” for the club in putting their “faith” in him, and that he was “looking forward to a successful time” with the Bavarian club. Meanwhile sporting director Stefan Reuter believes they have signed “a goalkeeper in his prime” and one who “already has a lot of experience.”
They could need that experience too, with rumours surrounding the future of current first choice keeper Marwin Hitz. He has been linked with a move away from the WWK-Arena, with Liverpool amongst the clubs thought to be interested.