Cologne – 1. FC Köln have completed their fifth signing of the summer transfer window after snapping up Germany U-21 international Leonardo Bittencourt from Hannover 96 on a four-year contract.

Comfortable on either flank or in an attacking midfield role, Bittencourt adds further depth to the Billy Goats frontline and, according to executive director Jörg Schmadtke, provides “an additional flexible option in our offensive game plan”. The winger has put pen to paper on a contract lasting until 30 June 2019.

‘Köln really impressed me’

Part of the German U-21 squad who got knocked out of this summer’s European Championships in the Czeck Republic at the semi-final stage, the 21-year-old believes Cologne will be “the optimal setting” to take the next step towards fulfilling his potential.

“The way 1. FC Köln made their mark in just their first season back in the top flight really impressed me,” claimed Bittencourt, who provided three assists to go along with his sole Bundesliga strike in the 2014/15 campaign. “[Head coach] Peter Stöger and Jörg Schmadtke are all about consistency, and they have got a clear plan on how to lead this incredible club towards a successful future. They have put together a great team and play in a superb environment with fans that support the club very passionately. I am convinced that we will fit together really well.”