Munich - Jan Kirchhoff will spend the next 18 months with FC Schalke 04 after a loan deal was struck with his current employers FC Bayern München.

Kirchhoff, who joined the record German champions from 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the summer, is then expected to return to Bavaria, where he is still contracted for a further year.

Best option

"I think that this is the best decision for all three parties," said FC Bayern's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "Jan will certainly get the match practice at Schalke that he has not been able to get so far in Munich. We wish him all the best and hope that he develops well there that he will then return to FC Bayern in 2015."

The German under-21 international has been limited to just 11 appearances for Bayern this season in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League, finding himself regularly behind Dante, Daniel van Buyten and Jerome Boateng in the pecking order. He was involved in 18 Bundesliga appearances for Mainz in 2012/13, missing their other games due to injury.

Versatile defender

"We're delighted to have been able to complete this loan deal because I'm convinced that Jan can help us," said Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt. "He can play both in the centre of the defence and in defensive midfield. Jan is particularly strong in the air, with his passing and with his tackling."