Hildebrand to join Hoffenheim

AFP - [email protected] • 10 Dec, 2008 Updated Wed 10 Dec 2008 19:28 CEST
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Former Germany goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand has joined Hoffenheim on a free transfer as he looks to relaunch his international career, the Bundesliga leaders announced on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old left his former club Valencia on December 4 by mutual consent after failing to make his mark in Spain and was announced as the new Hoffenheim goalkeeper in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. His contract begins from January 1, 2009 and lasts until June 2010 with the option of a year's extension.

"The type of football Hoffenheim play convinced me, I watched their super football on the television and I thought I would fit in well here," said Hildebrand.

Since he joined Valencia on a free transfer in July 2007, Hildebrand has also dropped out of the Germany squad and won the last of his seven caps in the 3-0 hammering by the Czech Republic in October 2007.

He was dropped completely from the Germany squad for the Euro 2008 tournament even though coach Joachim Loew took three goalkeepers, but the national coach has already backed Hildebrand's return home.

"I am pleased for Timo that he now has some security and some clarity in his situation at Hoffenheim," said Löw. "After things were left hanging up in the air for the last few months at Valencia, he will now work with a coach who plans with him in mind. That is important for a player."

But Hildebrand said any thoughts of a return to the national side are simply premature.

"I just want to play well for Hoffenheim, time will tell for everything else."

After Hoffenheim's game against Schalke on Sunday, their last one before the winter break, Hildebrand will have four weeks of intensive training before he joins the rest of the squad for training on January 3.

"He is the ideal picture of a goalkeeper," said Hoffenheim coach Ralph Rangnick. "He has personality and confidence when dealing with the ball."

It has been rough few months for Hildebrand since he left Stuttgart after they won the German title in May 2007, Hildebrand switched to Valencia and his contract was initially due to expire in 2010.

Hildebrand played 26 league games last season, but this season he has not featured in the first team since the Spanish Super Cup on August 24. But with Hoffenheim top of the Bundesliga, Hildebrand has the very realistic chance of playing Champions League football next season.



AFP 2008/12/10 19:28

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