FC Ingolstadt 04 today confirmed the signings of Robert Leipertz and Sonny Kittel, from FC Schalke 04 and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively, bringing die Schanzer's summer business up to seven new signings in what has proven to be a period of rampant change in the Bavarian city. The pair were presented hours before Ingolstadt's inaugural public training session and start of pre-season.
Kittel offered hope in Bavaria
Kittel comes from the Commerzbank Arena side, Eintracht Frankfurt, after spending seventeen years with die Adler and signs a two year contract with the Audi Sportpark side. The midfielder also arrives on a free transfer.
It has proven to be a frustrating few seasons for Kittel, once touted as one of Germany's brightest talents. Indeed, he also won silver in the coveted Fritz Walter Medal presented by the DFB at age 17. However a number of injuries, including two cruciate ligament ruptures, have significantly curtailed his growth and limited him to twenty six appearances over the past two seasons. Kittel was subsequently deemed to be surplus to requirements at Eintracht Frankfurt, yet the fan favourite in Hessen has been handed a second chance with the Danube club.
Kittel himself commented on the move and told the club website how momentous a move it was for him. "After a long time at Eintracht Frankfurt, I'm looking forward to the next step in my footballing development", he said, adding "the discussions i've had with the officials here in Ingolstadt convinced me and I'm now very pleased to show my skills on the pitch."
It wasn't just Kittel who was pleased over the move, FC Ingolstadt 04 Sporting Director Thomas Linke also exuberated the pleasure surrounding the transfer. He said, "We are delighted that he is on board with us and are convinced that he will enrich our game".
Linke also sung the praises of Ingolstadt's new man, "Sonny Kittel is a technically gifted offensive player, who is gifted with speed and a great ability in one on one situations," he added "Sonny is an attacking midfielder and knows how to effectively resolve close game situations".
Leipertz make the step up
Die Schanzer struggled to score last season managing only thirty three goals, only worsened by that of relegated Hannover 96, and so the arrival of Robert Leipertz will go someway to potentially rectifying that problem. The twenty three year old right midfielder spent last season with 2. Bundesliga side 1. FC Heidenheim and managed an impressive total of twelve goals and ten assists in the second tier and Heidenheim's impressive DFB Pokal run, that only ended in the quarter final.
Leipertz was subsequently resigned by Schalke, who activated a buy back clause they had after selling the midfielder to the Baden-Württemburg club in 2014. The Gelsenkirchen side then opted to accept a bid thought to be around €1.3 million from the Audi Sportpark side; Leipertz has signed a four year contract with the Bavarian club.
The well articulated attacker told the club website about his joy in joining die Schanzer, especially with the chance to play in the Bundesliga. "I was very pleased with the interest of FC Ingolstadt 04 and the associated opportunity to play in the Bundesliga," said Leipertz whilst also commenting on the superb infrastructure in place in the Danube city, "The club has great potential, modern structures and excellent conditions. I would like to make my contribution and I'm eager to get going!"
Once again, Thomas Linke also commented on the move and explained how their new man will fit in. "He [Robert Leipertz] fits in very well with our requirements. Discussions with Robert have shown that his character fits in perfectly with our team," the Ingolstadt Sporting Director told the official club website.