In a transfer move absolutely nobody saw coming, the club has announced that Leonardo Bittencourt has become the latest acquisition by Jörg Schmadtke in his midsummer flurry of personnel moves.
“With Leonardo Bittencourt, we have yet another flexible option and present our offensive play as capable of being even more variable,” said Jörg Schmadtke in the club’s announcement. “Leo has already demonstrably proven his great talent and his qualities in the Bundesliga. We are confident that he will take the next step in his development with out team.“
Bittencourt seemed to echo Schmadtke’s sentiments in his comments about his joining EffZeh.
“It impressed me how the 1. FC Köln presented itself after the promotion to the Bundesliga,” explained Bittencourt of his deciding to move to Köln. “The intensive discussions with those in charge make me optimistic that I can optimally further develop myself here. Peter Stöger and Jörg Schmadtke stand for consistency and have a clear plan to lead this special club to a secure and successful future. There also is a very well put-together team, a great environment, and the fans who support their team with passion. I am convinced that we will fit together well.”
The 21-year-old, a fan favorite at Hannover 96 for both his persona and for the eye-appeal of his offensive play, never quite became a regular for the red shirts, but arrives with some international experience with the Germany U-21 side. He even logged a few minutes in Champions League play, coming on late for previous employer Borussia Dortmund in a group-stage match against Manchester City.
Bittencourt delivered a message of “farewell” to his Hannover fans via his Twitter page, saying, “It is always difficult to leave a club in which you feel comfortable. But nevertheless I have decided to take on a new challeng. I thank Hannover 96 and the fans for the great support. Now I look forward to the 1. FC Köln and the exciting league battles of both these clubs.
Bittencourt will reportedly wear number 21 on his back for the Billy Goats.