Hamburger SV strengthened their defence on Wednesday as they confirmed the permanent signing of Kyriakos Papadopoulos and also brought in Bjarne Thoelke.
Papadopoulos has signed a three-year deal following his loan spell at the Volksparkstadion in the second half of last season, bringing an end to his time with Bayer Leverkusen.
Thoelke, also a centre-back, joins from Karlsruher SC on a one-year contact, and is likely to fulfil a back-up role for the northern club.
Papa stays in Hamburg
The deal to bring Papadopoulos back after his loan spell had looked all but completed last week, especially after the play himself confirmed as such on his Instagram account last Friday, but in the end, it took until Wednesday for the deal to finally be confirmed by the club.
Papadopoulos spent three years with Leverkusen after joining from Schalke 04, but it was an injury-hit spell that saw him play just 30 times before being loaned out to RB Leipzig last summer.
He played just 26 minutes of football for the newly-promoted side though, and after his loan there was cancelled in January he secured another temporary move, this time to Hamburg. That was a much bigger success for him, playing 15 Bundesliga games as he helped to solidify Hamburg’s notoriously-leaky defence, as well as contributing goals against both of his two previous club.
As a result, there was little surprise that they wanted to keep him on a permanent basis, and speaking on the club’s website, sporting director Jens Todt described the transfer as “an absolute win for us.” He said that Papadopoulos had given the team a “push” after his arrival in January “with his winning mentality and passion.”
Thoelke another defensive reinforcement
In a more surprising move, Hamburg have also brought in Thoelke from Karlsruhe, who were relegated from the 2. Bundesliga at the end of last season. He played 33 times in the league for Karlsruhe, with 21 of those last season. He scored his only goal for the club in what turned out to be his final game against Eintracht Braunschweig in May.
He is reunited with Todt, who was sporting director at Karlsruhe until joining Hamburg late last year. Todt describes him as a “physically strong player” who will be “a useful reinforcement” for their defence. He added that the club “absolutely trust him” to be able to perform at the higher level.
His only previous Bundesliga experience came with his first club VfL Wolfsburg, where he played six games in late 2011. He will be hoping to add to that with Hamburg, but as per Kicker, he is likely to be a back-up behind Papadopoulos, Mergim Mavraj and a potential further new centre-back.
Quotes via Hamburger SV.