Borussia Dortmund have made their first signing for next season by recruiting Germany youth international Leonardo Bittencourt from second-division Energie Cottbus. The 17-year-old midfielder is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in German football.
"Leornado will be playing for us from July 1," confirmed BVB´s sporting director Michael Zorc in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "We are pleased to have brought another big prospect to BVB." The signing of Bittencourt, who has agreed to a four-year-contract, is right in line with the German champions´ policy of bringing young talents to the club.
After talking to the 17-year-old a few weeks ago for the first time, with his agent and his father also present, Jürgen Klopp found himself very impressed by the "bright and confident boy." He said: "We are happy that he decided to join us and we intend to get his full potential out of him." The BVB coach praised the game intelligence and versatility of the midfielder. "He is quick, technically gifted and advanced in his development. Leo fits perfectly into our squad."
A product of Energie´s youth scheme, Leonardo Bittencourt debuted for Germany´s Under 17 team in 2009. He made his professional debut against Duisburg in April 2011, and scored two goals in 15 appearances in the second division for Cottbus so far.Bittencourt, who holds a dual citizenship with Germany and Brazil, has also picked up 15 caps for Germany´s youth teams (U17/ U19), scoring one goal.
Marc Kruska, Markus Brzenska, Uwe Hünemeier and Dimitar Rangelov, all members of the current Cottbus squad, joined the second-division side from Dortmund, now Bittencourt is doing it the other way around.
His father, Franklin Bittencoirt (42), made 22 appearances for VfB Leipzig (1 goal) and 39 appearances for Energie Cottbus (5 goals) in the Bundesliga. The Brazilian is assistant coach and talent scout for Cottbus.