Vedad Ibisevic has left Hertha Berlin for Schalke on a free transfer. - © imago images / Jan Huebner
Vedad Ibisevic has left Hertha Berlin for Schalke on a free transfer. - © imago images / Jan Huebner

Vedad Ibisevic joins Schalke from Hertha Berlin

Schalke have strengthened their attack ahead of the new Bundesliga season by adding experienced former Hertha Berlin captain Vedad Ibisevic on a free transfer.

Ibisevic, 36, scored seven goals and got two assists in the Bundesliga for Hertha last season, but he was out of contract at the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

The veteran Bosnia and Herzegovina attacker had impressed under new coach Bruno Labbadia, but he has ended his five-year stay in the German capital by signing a one-year deal with Schalke.

"Vedad is a real asset to our squad," said Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider. "He's an experienced, offensive goal-threat who is still burning to for every single Bundesliga appearance.

"Vedad convinced us with his attitude in the talks: he simply wants to keep playing football at the highest level, and his qualities are undisputed. We look forward to working together."

Watch: Ibisevic's long road to the top

Ibisevic’s nose for goal will provide a much-needed boost to the Royal Blues, who were the third-lowest goalscorers in the 2019/20 Bundesliga. David Wagner’s side found the net only 38 times in 34 league matches, slumping badly in the second half of the season to finish 12th in the table.

Hertha, in contrast, improved greatly after Labbadia was appointed in April, rising to 10th in the standings thanks in no small part to four goals from Ibisevic in the final nine games of the season.

In total, the veteran scored 56 goals and had 22 assists in 159 games in all competitions for the Old Lady. That followed similar goal-laden spells with Hoffenheim and then VfB Stuttgart, meaning the former Paris-Saint Germain frontman boasts a Bundesliga career tally of 127 goals and 52 assists in 340 games.

For the moment Hertha should have the firepower to compensate for Ibisevic’s departure in the shape of January signings Matheus Cunha and Krzysztof Piatek as well as Belgian attacker Dodi Lukebakio.

There is no doubting, however, that Ibisevic is a welcome addition to Schalke’s squad, since midfielder Suat Serdar was their top goalscorer last season with seven league goals. The new arrival will join fellow attacking players like Guido Burgstaller, Amine Harit, Benito Raman, and Mark Uth in Gelsenkirchen.

Ibisevic could make his league debut for Schalke when they visit reigning champions Bayern Munich in the opening game of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season on Friday 18 September.

"Schalke are a really cool club," said Ibisevic. "So you don't have to think twice. I'm very motivated and want to be successful with the team. With my experience and my quality, I want to do my part. "