Bundesliga News

Mainz confirm surgery for Hanche-Olsen, Guilavogui signed as replacement

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Two big pieces of news relating to the Bundesliga's last-placed club broke on Monday afternoon. 
Joshua Guilavogui
Joshua GuilavoguiFSV Mainz 05
FSV Mainz 05 - currently dead-last in the Bundesliga table with just one point from five match-days - first had some bad news to report on Monday afternoon. Norwegian defender Andreas Hanche-Olsen's persistent ankle problems led to club and player deciding that the 26-year-old should undergo surgery. The Palatinate club confirmed on Monday that the procedure would sideline the central defender for four to six months.

Hanche-Olsen joined the Rheinhessen from KAA Gent last January and immediately proceeded to become an indispensable part of head-coach Bo Svensson's back-three. The ankle issues this season had limited him to just two relief appearances. Hanche-Olsen's absence was widely considered one of the reasons the Pfaälzer were struggling at the back.

As a means of plugging the gap, Mainz confirmed on Monday that they had picked up former VfL Wolfsburg captain Joshua Guilavogui as a free-agent. The 33-year-old was available after his contract with Wolfsburg was not renewed last season. Guilavogui made 27 appearances across all competitions for the VfL last season and still maintains an estimated market worth of €2 million in the latest transfermarkt listings.

Guilavogui - heavily linked with a move to Stuttgart last January - can play as both a defensive midfielder and central defender. Mainz have already picked up a club-less player available on a free after the transfer window closed a little over three weeks ago. Attacker Anwar El Ghazi joined Svensson's side on Friday. FSV sporting director Martin Schmidt praised Guilavogui, whom he worked with at Wolfsburg.

"Josuha is a trained central defender," Schmidt noted in a statement, "with his signing we were able to react to the injury to Andreas Hanche-Olsen. Joshua is a great personality. He has held the captaincy for many years and led Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, Champions League and Europa League, speaks many languages and is an open and warm person to boot."

"He is also an outstanding personality and absolute leader," Svensson added, "In addition to his sporting qualities, he is a top addition to our team with his commitment and mentality during in this difficult phase."

"We have similar ideas about football and what I can bring to the team," Guilavogui said of Svensson, "I love defending and that's what I came for. Now I want to work my way into the team as quickly as possible through team training and help with my experience."

Germany's Kicker Magazine reports that the Bundesliga veteran has signed a one-year-deal with a renewal option. Guilavogui has scored nine league goals during 207 German top flight appearances over his long and illustrious career.

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