That was one of a number of deals in the 2. Bundesliga on Wednesday as clubs scramble for late deals ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline. One of the other standout moves sees Takashi Usami join Fortuna Düsseldorf on loan.
Ingolstadt strengthen their goalkeeping options
Austrian Knaller had been with Sandhausen since 2013, initially as back up to Manuel Riemann, and made 72 2. Bundesliga appearances in that time. However following the arrival of Marcel Schuhen from Hansa Rostock in the summer he had become the club’s second choice, with club and player mutually agreeing to dissolve his contract to allow the move to Ingolstadt to take place.
Sporting Director at Ingolstadt, Angelo Vier, said that the 30-year-old had “proven in recent years in the 2. Bundesliga that he is a strong and reliable support player for his team.” Knaller believes he is joining “an ambitious club that wants to continue developing” and that he can “identify completely with the philosophy of the club.”
He has signed a contract until the summer of 2019, but will face plenty of competition in goal, with Örjan Nyland and Martin Hansen having duelled amongst themselves for the gloves over the past year.
Sandhausen also announced on Wednesday that they have extended the contract of Erik Zenga until 2020. However the 24-year-old midfielder has been loaned out to 3. Liga club Hallescher FC for the rest of the season.
Usami brought in as Düsseldorf prepare for Bebou departure
Japanese winger Usami has meanwhile joined Düsseldorf on loan from FC Augsburg. He is likely to act as a replacement for Ihlas Bebou, who appears set to join Hannover 96.
After previous loan spells in Germany with Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, the 25-year-old joined Augsburg last year from Gamba Osaka, however he only played an intermittent role for the Fuggerstädter last season, playing 11 times without contributing to any goals. He was not including in the matchday squad for either of their opening games this season.
Head coach Friedhelm Funkel said that Usami has “excellent technique and dribbling skills” and also had plenty of experience to call upon. He did add he would need extra training time before being ready to appear for the first team.
Usami revealed that he had been “impressed by the fans and the stadium” when he played at the Esprit Arena for Hoffenheim, and he is looking forward “to being back on the pitch.”
Kaiserslautern and Darmstadt with one eye on the future
Elsewhere, 1. FC Kaiserslautern have signed 19-year-old defender Joel Abu Hanna on a permanent deal from Bayer Leverkusen, with the youngster awarded a three-year contract. He is seen by the club as one for the future and may not be immediately involved with the first team.
SV Darmstadt 98 have also signed up a young defender in the form of João Renato da Cunha, who has signed a professional deal after impressing on a trial basis during pre-season. Coach Torsten Frings says that the Brazilian had “already shown his potential” during that period. His contract also lasts until 2020.
Also on Wednesday, Erzgebirgue Aue pair Simon Handel and Fabio Kaufmann have left the club, after they had been suspended from first team duties by interim coach Robin Lenk. Handel joins Viktoria Köln on loan, with Kaufmann being released outright.
Earlier in the week, 1. FC Nürnberg completed the signing of veteran Tobias Werner on loan from VfB Stuttgart, whilst 19-year-old midfielder Luke Hemmerich joined VfL Bochum for the rest of the season from Schalke 04, after extending his contract with the Royal Blues until 2020.
Quotes via FC Ingolstadt 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf and SV Darmstadt 98.