Bochum bring Robbie Kruse back to Germany
Robbie Kruse in training with Bochum. | Photo: VfL Bochum.

VfL Bochum have made their first signing since the arrival of new head coach Ismail Atalan, bringing Robbie Kruse back to Germany after a spell in China.

He was a free agent after being released by Liaoning FC. There is no indication how long a contract the 28-year-old has signed with Bochum.

Former Düsseldorf start back in his natural habitat

A pay dispute in May had seen Kruse and fellow Australian James Holland quit Liaoning in May. Both had only joined the club in January, with Kruse playing just the four matches in China.

Bochum sees Kruse return to more familiar territory, having spent five-and-a-half years in Germany before ending an injury-troubled spell with Bayer Leverkusen at the beginning of the year.

His biggest success came with Fortuna Düsseldorf in the Bundesliga campaign of 2012-13, when he scored four and assisted nine more, although they were ultimately relegated. He moved on to Leverkusen the following summer, but injuries blighted his time there, and he also saw an unproductive loan spell with VfB Stuttgart in that time.

He has remained a key player for Australia, when fit, and earned his 50th cap earlier in the year against the United Arab Emirates. He also played in all three of their matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June.

Kruse aims high with Bochum

Speaking on the club’s website about Kruse, Bochum’s sporting CEO Christian Hochstätter said that he is “a very fast player” whose tendency to play on the wings made him “perfect for our requirements.”

Kruse also had some positive things to say about Bochum. “The club is absolutely professional, the stadium is great, the atmosphere here is really good,” he said, recalling previous encounters at the Ruhrstadion with his former clubs. He added that he “hopes” that he can help the club to reach its “high goals.”

Kruse has already taken part in his first training session, and has been assigned the number 17 shirt. He could make his debut in the club’s opening 2. Bundesliga game of the season next Friday against FC St. Pauli.

Quotes via VfL Bochum.