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Kruse relishing Leverkusen challenge

11 July 2013 01:45

Australia winger Robbie Kruse has described his move to Bayer Leverkusen as a 'massive step up' after his first training session with the club.

Australia winger Robbie Kruse has described his move to Bayer Leverkusen as a 'massive step up' after his first training session with the club.

Leverkusen officially unveiled three new signings on Wednesday in Kruse, South Korean forward Son Heung-Min and Italian right-back Giulio Donati, with the latter two arriving from Hamburg and Inter Milan respectively.

Kruse has joined Leverkusen from Fortuna Duesseldorf, where he spent the past two seasons, and the 24-year-old Australian is thrilled to have joined a club that will be playing in the UEFA Champions League next season.

"Obviously Bayer Leverkusen is a wonderful club, when I found out I was coming here, I was really excited to come to a team that plays really attacking football," Kruse said on Wednesday.

"It's a massive step up to a team that is playing in the Champions League so it's a massive honour for me to come here.

"I get to play with some wonderful players, hopefully I can impress and try and get better and better."

Kruse had a breakthrough season in the Bundesliga with Duesseldorf last season scoring four goals and setting up another nine in his 30 matches in Germany's top flight, although he could not save his team from relegation.

The Socceroos winger is expected to challenge for the vacant spot in head coach Sami Hyypia's starting line-up left by Andre Schuerrle, who has joined Chelsea, but Kruse will face some competition from Son.

The 21-year-old South Korean forward struck 12 goals in 33 Bundesliga games for Hamburg last season but is not interested in being compared to Schuerrle.

"There is no need to speak about Andre Schuerrle, he is now a Chelsea player and I am here," Son said.

"The three of us (Son, Donati and Kruse) are all Bayer Leverkusen players now and therefore, there is no need to speak about Andre Schuerrle.

"All we need to do now is perform on the pitch."

Donati has left Inter having never played a senior match for the Milan-based club and having spent the past three seasons on loan at Lecce, Padova and Grosseto.

The 23-year-old Italian defender agreed with Kruse that the chance to play in the Champions League was critical to his transfer.

"It is an honour and a pleasure to have the chance to be here and challenge myself in a new league for me," Donati said.

"Having the chance to play in the Champions League and the Bundesliga, which is one of the top leagues in the world at the moment, are the main reasons why I chose to come to Bayer Leverkusen."

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Bundesliga table

# Team MP D P
1 2 +4 6
2 2 +3 4
3 2 +2 4
4 2 +2 4
5 2 +1 4

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