Berlin (AFP) – Neven Subotic confirmed Thursday he has joined Cologne on loan from Bundesliga rivals Dortmund until the end of the season, as he looks to regain form after injury.
The 28-year-old has been with Dortmund since 2008 and was a key part of the side which won the 2011 and 2012 German league titles.
He lifted the 2012 German Cup after Dortmund’s 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the final, but then lost the 2013 Champions League final against the Bavarians.
But Subotic has fallen out of favour with Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, who took over for 2015/16, after being blighted by injury and his loan deal lasts until June.
“I have a smile on my face and I am really looking forward to the new challenge at a new club,” said the Serbia international before training with Cologne.
“I am very grateful for the fantastic years at Borussia Dortmund.
“As an ambitious professional, my focus from today on is 100 percent on FC Cologne.
“I want to play in the Bundesliga again and that’s what drives me on.”
A rib injury, which needed an operation, scuppered Subotic’s plans to join Middlesbrough before the start of the season at the last minute.
He then suffered a knee injury, which restricted him to just two reserve team games for Dortmund this season.
Dortmund are currently fourth in the Bundesliga table, Cologne are seventh, and the clubs will meet in Dortmund in June in the league.
Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc says Subotic has only been sent on loan “to get a high level of match practice” while Borussia’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says they will welcome him back.
“Neven’s degree of identification with Borussia Dortmund is really exceptional in professional football today,” said Watzke.
“He is a friend for all time, Dortmund remains his home and he will always be welcome back here.”