Mavraj moves to Hamburger in mission to save club from first-ever relegation

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 28, 2016 10:44
Mergim Mavraj

Mergim Mavraj poses with his new jersey

TIRANA, Dec. 28 – Albania’s international center back Mergim Mavraj has moved to Hamburger from Cologne on a two-and-a-half-year deal for a €1.8 million fee in a surprise move as the defender was playing one of his best seasons, having made it to the surprise Bundesliga team after an injury that kept him off the pitch for 20 games last season.

One of the best Bundesliga teams and the only side to have never been relegated, Hamburger find themselves in one of the most difficult moments of their century-long history this season when they currently rank 16th out of 18, being in the relegation play-off.

Meanwhile, Cologne has been one of the Bundsliga surprise teams this season ranking seventh through halfway stage.

“To many people, this move was a surprise, but the Cologne contract coming to an end and huge interest by the Hamburger coach and staff made me make this step,” Mavraj has said.

“I am happy I will have the opportunity to play for Hamburger from the start of the second stage. I am proud I was chosen to help this club and look forward to joining the team in January,” he added.

Mavraj played 46 games with FC Cologne since joining in summer 2014, being a key player, especially this season when he was in the starting XI in every match.

“For Mergim, the offer from HSV [Hamburger] was an attractive one. We spoke openly about his situation after he informed us about the HSV offer,” said Cologne General Manager Jörg Schmadtke. “For Cologne, Mergim was a reliable pro and a team player, who contributed to the success of this team. We would like to thank him for his time in the FC jersey,” he added.

The 30-year Germany-born Albanian defender of Kosovo roots, joined the Albanian national team in 2010 and has since become a regular starter. He had a key contribution to Albania’s historic Euro 2016 campaign also scoring two goals against Armenia and France.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 28, 2016 10:44