Bayer 04 Leverkusen have signed defender Manuel Friedrich from relegated Bundesliga rivals 1. FSV Mainz 05 for an undisclosed fee.
Friedrich played 180 league games during two stays with Mainz, scoring 16 goals, while he also made a single appearance for Werder Bremen while at the Weserstadion between summer 2002 and January 2004. Mainz general manager Christian Heidel said: "He has done a lot for our club and will always be welcome."
The 27-year-old has penned a contract until summer 2010 with the side who finished fifth in Germany's top flight, thus ensuring a return to the UEFA Cup. Leverkusen will join that competition in the first round as they bid to better their quarter-final exit this time around. "I am looking forward to the challenge of Leverkusen. I want to play in Europe and help my chances with Germany," said Friedrich. The centre-back, who is in his country's squad for the UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifiers against San Marino and Slovakia, has seven caps and one international goal to his name.
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