Mainz steal Balitsch
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Hanno Balitsch will leave Bayer Leverkusen to join League Rivals FSV MainzIn a controversial move, midfielder Hanno Balitsch will leave Bayer Leverkusen to join fellow Bundesliga side FSV Mainz for an undisclosed fee.
This news comes only days after the 24-year-old pulled out of a transfer to join FC Nurnberg, the apparent result of a failure to agree a compensation package with Leverkusen.
Balitsch, who has one full German international cap, has found himself out of favour with boss Klaus Augenthaler at the BayArena and had seemed to have found an escape route with Nurnberg.
However Leverkusen sporting director Michael Reschke confirmed on Thursday that in fact Mainz, one place above Nurnberg in the Bundesliga, is the midfielder's preferred destination.
"We respect Hanno's decision to go and wish him the best for his stay at Mainz," said Reschke.
Mainz have also further boosted their squad by re-capturing 28-year-old Michael Thurk. The striker scored twice on the final day of last season to secure promotion to the Bundesliga for Mainz, and then subsequently departed.
Ironically the team he had already agreed to join, Energie Cottbus, were denied a promotion spot by his heroics and now Thurk has belatedly joined his old team-mates in the top flight.
Both players have signed deals until 2008, and Mainz manager Jürgen Klopp expressed his delight at the double capture.
"Both players are huge signings and I am really happy that they have decided to join us," Klopp told Uefa.com