20.07.2020Bayer 04

Schmidt on Jedvaj: Not big enough

From Brandt to Schreck: Nine players left the Werkself in the summer of 2019 or before the second half of the season. We take a closer look at the achievements of loanees and transferred players over recent months. In part one: the loan trio.

Tin Jedvaj (FC Augsburg)


Like Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), the central defender enjoyed the highly-rated youth development at the top Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. At the age of 17, Tin Jedvaj joined AS Roma who loaned him to Bayer 04 a year later. Jedvaj knew how to impress at Leverkusen and he was signed on permanent terms in January 2015. The Croatia international (24 caps) went on to play for the Werkself for four and half years – until he was loaned out to Augsburg last summer.

From matchday 2 to 24 there were only two games where he did not go the full distance: Jedvaj became an irreplaceable first choice in defence in the south-west of Bavaria. He can look back at 31 appearances and two goals for FCA where he has been coached by former Werkself boss Heiko Herrlich since March. There was praise for Jedvaj from Herrlich’s predecessor Martin Schmidt, who talked about the possible retention of the central defender at FCA beyond the summer last December: “If he carries on playing like that then we aren’t big enough. He’s a regular starter for Croatia and set to play in the Euros in the summer (Euro 2020 has been put back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, ed.). Not just the Bundesliga is licking their lips about him.”

Joel Pohjanpalo (Hamburg sV)


After a hat-trick of league titles between 2011 and 2013 with the top Finnish club HJK Helsinki, the likeable striker joined Bayer 04 on loan in the summer of 2013 but went straight out to VfR Aalen to get match practice with the then second division club. Joel Pohjanpalo went back to Helsinki on loan in the following season and then he played – also on loan – for Fortuna Düsseldorf up to the summer of 2016. After three and a half years at Bayer 04, which were unfortunately marred by a number of injuries, he was signed in January of this year for the second half of the season by Hamburg SV.

The Finn has been battling for promotion to the Bundesliga with Hamburg. Pohjanpalo scored nine goals in 14 games for HSV and this impressive return in just half a season saw him become the second-highest goalscorer (along with Lukas Hinterseer). The North German club missed out on promotion on matchday 34 with a 5-1 defeat against SV Sandhausen.

Panos Retsos (Sheffield United)


Born in Johannesburg, Panagiotis Retsos – usually called ‘Panos’ – moved to Greece at an early age. He started his playing career at the age of five with a club just outside Athens. When he was ten, the versatile defender joined the youth section at the top-flight Greek club Olympiakos. Retsos broke through to the first team in 2015. He then played for all the Greece youth teams. Bayer 04 signed him in the summer of 2017 and Retsos won five caps for Greece during his time in Leverkusen. At the end of January, Bayer 04 and the defender agreed to him going out on loan.

The destination: Sheffield United. Premier League. The newly promoted club were the surprise team of the season and they are in a race for a European spot along with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton. While the northern English team are still in with a chance of qualifying for the Europa League, Retsos has already finished his stint in Sheffield. After just 14 minutes in the FA Cup and no time on the pitch in the league, the loan deal for the Greek ended on 30 June although the season is still going in England.

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