St. Pauli are dreaming of a return to the Bundesliga, and their pursuit of promotion has benefitted from the assistance of Ghana international Daniel Kofi Kyereh.
bundesliga.com runs the rule over the attacking midfielder whose assists and goals have helped transform the northern Germany club's fortunes…
Club: St. Pauli
Position: Attacking midfielder/winger
Country: Ghana (5 caps)
Wolfsburg picked up the 5'10" forward from Eintracht Braunschweig when he was just 16, but injuries limited his opportunities at U17 level. He was nevertheless promoted to the U19s and played in a team which also featured Germany international Julian Brandt, although a serious injury left his career hanging in the balance.
Kyereh tore his cruciate knee ligaments and was released from Wolfsburg's U19s, but TSV Havelse in Germany's fourth tier took a gamble on him. Although the after-effects of that injury hampered him during his first season at Havelse, once he regained full fitness and - above all - confidence, his career took flight.
After scoring 11 goals in 29 games in 2017/18, Kyereh left Havelse to join Wehen Wiesbaden in the third division and stormed to the top of the scoring charts with five goals in his first seven appearances. He ended that year with a personal best 15 goals in 34 games, and promotion to Bundesliga 2, thanks to his two more goals in the promotion play-off win over Ingolstadt.
The goals continued at the next level up, but Kyereh started to deliver more and more assists from a hybrid deep and wide position.
He moved to St. Pauli on a free transfer from Wiesbaden in the summer of 2020 and continued supplying goals and assists, ending his first season with nine and ten respectively.
With five goals and nine assists, he continued to inspire Pauli during the first half of the 2021/22 season, helping them rise from a mid-table conclusion to the previous campaign to leading the way heading into the new calendar year.
Those performances also saw him earn his first caps for Ghana, for whom he earned a place in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, and he was named in the Bundesliga 2 Team of the Season so far.
Watch: Kyereh scored two and set up another in Pauli's 3-1 win over Sandhausen in November
Plays a bit like: Leroy Sane
A burst of pace, dip of the shoulder, dribble past your marker and a cut-back from the goal line – sound familiar? Like Bayern Munich and Germany winger Leroy Sane, Kyereh likes little more than racing forward with the ball glued to his feet, using a combination of excellent close control and skill to carve gaps before either providing a finish or supplying an assist for a better-placed teammate.
Did you know?
Kyereh was born in Accra, Ghana, but was brought up in Germany and would have been eligible to play for either nation. When he was scoring with regularity in Germany's third division, the question was first put to him, where his footballing allegiances lied.
"My friends are often asking me this and I've not had any contact from either federation yet, but I would certainly love to play for a national team. Both countries would be an option for me – I would play for the first country to show an interest in me."
That was Ghana, who handed Kyereh his debut in September 2021, in a 1-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Ethiopia, and later included him in their squad for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
What they are saying
"Kofi always had the talent, but it is own hard work and ambition that have got him to where he is now, and I'm delighted to see it." – Christian Benbennek, Kyereh's coach at Havelse.
"He's a laid-back lad who gives a lot to the group, not just on the field but also away from it. Kofi's in great shape and his statistics alone show that, and he's far from peaked." – St. Pauli coach Timo Schultz.