Cologne - The Bundesliga welcomes back an old familiar this season, in the form of Kevin Kuranyi. After five years in the service of FC Dinamo Moskva, the 33-year-old former Germany frontman acknowledged, “It's a great feeling to be home again,” and, fresh on the books at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, he is “itching to get back in the thick of things here.”
In terms of serious silverware, Kuranyi's time in Russia was marked by little success. His personal record of 56 goals in 151 competitive outings for Dinamo was, however, more than respectable – as was only to be expected from a player who had hit the net 111 times in 261 league appearances for VfB Stuttgart and FC Schalke 04.
Returning to Germany after his contract with the Moscow club expired, Kuranyi had been keeping himself fit at fourth-flight 1. FC Saarbrücken and says he had "a few offers" from Bundesliga clubs before penning a one-year deal with Hoffenheim. "It was clear pretty quickly that 1899 Hoffenheim was the best choice," the Rio-born sharpshooter explained.
Clear on the sporting front, at a club with "excellent prospects – I want to do my bit to help maintain the positive development here." Clear, as well, on the personal front: Kuranyi spent eight years at Stuttgart, from 1997 onwards, and Hoffenheim is "in the broad sense, still in my own neck of the woods." Both parties have potentially much to gain from the initial season-long arrangement. For his part, Kuranyi aims to "show I'm still up to the job. I want to carry on where I left off in Russia and confirm Hoffenheim's faith in signing me."
The ambitious south-western club have meanwhile gained a battle-hardened veteran capable of leading the Bundesliga's youngest squad – average age 23.9 – from the front. "The team can profit, on and off the pitch, from his many years' experience playing at the top level," Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen said. A vital aspect to the deal for head coach Markus Gisdol was that the 52-time Germany international "totally identifies with our philosophy and style of football." If past form is anything to go by, Kevin Kuranyi's days as a Bundesliga goalscorer are far from numbered yet.