Fortuna Düsseldorf and Union Berlin sign reinforcements
Havard Nielsen poses with his new Fortuna Düsseldorf shirt. | Photo: Fortuna Düsseldorf.

A quiet week of transfer activity in the 2. Bundesliga ended with two big moves on Saturday.

Fortuna Düsseldorf have confirmed the capture of SC Freiburg’s Havard Nielsen, whilst 1. FC Union Berlin have strengthened their defence with the arrival of Christoph Schösswendter.

Another striker for Fortuna

Capped 14 times by Norway at international level, striker Nielsen has joined Düsseldorf on a three-year deal, and he flew straight out to Austria to join his new teammates in their ongoing training camp at Maria Alm.

The 24-year-old had his first spell in Germany during an 18-month loan to Eintracht Braunschweig between 2014 and 2015, where he scored 12 goals in 48 appearances. He then left Red Bull Salzburg on a permanent basis to join Freiburg in January 2016, however he failed to score in just 11 matches, and he was not helped by a succession of injures.

Nielsen said that he was “very happy” to join the club that he had “only heard good things about,” especially with its “excellent fans.” He is keen to get to know his new team, “and the way which we would like to play,” as quickly as possible, and he hopes that it will not take long for him to settle at his new club.

Meanwhile Düsseldorf’s coach Friedhelm Funkel called Nielsen “a huge enrichment for our attack,” pointing to his “experience of over 150 professional games” and the evidence of “his marksmanship” in four different leagues. He will compete for the centre forward’s role with Rouwen Hennings, who has re-joined the club permanently after his loan last season.

Christoph Schösswendter in Union colours. | Photo: 1. FC Union Berlin.
Christoph Schösswendter in Union colours. | Photo: 1. FC Union Berlin.

Austrian to reinforce Union’s defence

Schösswendter, who turned 29 on Sunday, joins Union Berlin from SC Rapid Wien, marking the first time he has left his native Austria. He has signed a contract until 2019.

It had been his second spell with Rapid, having returning in 2016 from FC Admira Wacker Mödling after five years away, during which time he also played for SCR Altach. He had not played a first team game for Rapid in his first spell, but he appeared 22 times in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, scoring four times, as well as playing in seven UEFA Europa League matches.

Schösswendter is naturally delighted to join Union, revealed that he had thoughts about playing abroad “for a long time.” After having “a really good time in Vienna,” he is looking forward to embracing his new challenge “with all my strength.”

Helmut Schulte, the club’s head of first team football, said they had “long stressed the need” for another reinforcement in the heart of their defence, at that Schösswendter was “a good solutuion.” He called him “a seasoned defender,” whose strengths include “heading and one-on-one duels,” which would help to “provide additional stability” at the back.

Quotes via Fortuna Düsseldorf and 1. FC Union Berlin.