Rothosen clinch loan deal for Joel Pohjanpalo
The 25-year-old striker moves from Bayer Leverkusen to Hamburg for the rest of the 2. Liga season.
Finnish striker Joel Pohjanpalo becomes HSV’s third signing of the January transfer window, just a week before the 2. Bundesliga gets underway again against 1. FC Nürnberg at the Volksparkstadion. The 25-year-old, who has been at parent club Bayer Leverkusen since 2016 and is under contract in the Ruhr valley region until June 2022, joins the Rothosen on loan until the end of the season, strengthening Dieter Hecking’s options in attack. The Finn passed his medical at the university hospital in Eppendorf on Thursday (23rd January), before signing on the dotted line on Friday morning. Pohjanpalo himself couldn’t wait to get started: “I can hardly wait to walk out for the first time in a HSV kit. It’s a big club with great fans, and their support will give me the opportunity to hit top form. For me it’s a win-win situation because I want to help the club achieve it’s aim by scoring goals. At the same time, I need game time to play a role for Finland at the Euros in the summer.”
Born and raised in the Finnish capital Helsinki, Pohjanpalo made his first steps in the footballing world at HJK Helsinki, one of Finland’s most successful sides. The now-1.86m blonde bombshell progressed through the ranks at his hometown club, making a statement when scoring 33 goals in 26 games on loan at third division side Klubi 04. That prolific campaign thrust Pohjanpalo into the limelight at HJK, scoring 16 goals in 50 games as he played an important role in the club’s next three title-winning seasons, also attracting the attention of Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Having signed at the Ruhr valley club, Pohjanpalo was first loaned out to VfR Aalen and Fortuna Düsseldorf before signing permanently for the Werkself in 2016/17. Injury problems plagued the Finn during his time at the BayArena, only managing to play in 22 games and scoring eight goals. Without doubt the best moment in Pohjanpalo’s career came against the Rothosen on 10th September 2016, as he sealed his hat-trick inside 15 minutes to turn the game on its head and secure a 3-1 win for Leverkusen.
Name: Joel Pohjanpalo
Date of birth: 13th September 1994
Place of birth: Helsinki, Finland
Position: Centre forward
Previous clubs: Klubi 04 (2011), HJK Helsinki (2012-16), VfR Aalen (2013-14, loan), Fortuna Düsseldorf (2014-16, loan), Bayer 04 Leverkusen (since 2016)
Bundesliga games/goals: 19/7
2. Bundesliga games/goals: 77/18
International appearances/goals: 28/6 for Finland