Leverkusen/Gelsenkirchen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen have taken Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos on loan from Bundesliga rivals FC Schalke 04 until the end of the season.

The 22-year-old, who has laboured with injury over the past 18 months, will be looking to gain more match practice during his year with die Werkself.

New chapter

"I'm really pleased that this transfer has worked out," Papadopoulos told bayer04.de. "Bayer 04 are, just like Schalke, a club with great European ambitions. Unfortunately I was often injured last season, but now I am fully fit again and highly motivated to reach my personal and the club's aims this season."

Although only 22, Papadopoulos already has a wealth of Bundesliga experience, even if he could have featured far more frequently but for misfortune. "Before his injuries, he was a regular for Schalke and he proved he can take a leading role in the team," said Leverkusen's sporting director Rudi Völler. "His pace as well as his strength in the tackle and in the air, in addition to a strongly defined will to win make him a highly interesting player."

Gains all round

"With Kyriakos Papadopoulos, we have further bolstered the quality in our defence. As a result, we feel we are well equipped right through our team and ready for the tasks to come," added Völler.

The Royal Blues will also hope to benefit, with Papadopoulos able to pick up some much-needed match practice before returning for the final year of his contract with them next season. "It was Kyriakos' wish to be able to play more after his long injury break and that is why we agreed to this loan," said Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt. "We hope his wish is fulfilled."