Hamburg sign Emir Spahic, ex-Bayer Leverkusen, to one-year deal

HAMBURG, Germany -- Bundesliga side Hamburger SV announced Sunday they were signing Emir Spahic on a one-year deal, giving the Bosnia-Herzegovina defender another chance after Bayer Leverkusen terminated his contract for fighting with security personnel.

"We discussed the incident in Leverkusen and his confrontation of the issue internally. Then we decided on the signing," Hamburg chief executive Dietmar Beiersdorfer said.

Hamburg said the veteran defender was joining on a free transfer subject to a medical. Spahic injured his knee in his last game for Leverkusen.

"We're delighted that we could win a seasoned defensive force for our team in him," Hamburg sporting director Peter Knabel said. "Thanks to his experience, his sporting quality and presence on the pitch, Emir can become an important leader for our team."

The 34-year-old Spahic will be expected to compensate for the departure of former Hamburg captain Heiko Westermann, whose contract was not renewed after five seasons at the club.

Spahic had been without a club since April, when he was released by Leverkusen after being filmed fighting and aiming a headbutt at the club's security personnel following a German Cup defeat to Bayern Munich. The incident reportedly happened after security refused to allow his friends entry to the locker room area.

As Cologne's public prosecutor got involved, Spahic apologized and agreed to the termination of his contract, which had been due to run to 2016.

Spahic played 49 Bundesliga and 14 Champions League games for Leverkusen after joining from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013. He previously had spells at Spanish side Sevilla, French side Montpellier, Russian clubs Lokomotiv Moscow, Torpedo Moscow and Shinnik Yaroslavl, as well as Croatian sides GOSK Dubrovnik and NK Zagreb, and Bosnian club Celik Zenica.

He has made 81 appearances for Bosnia-Herzegovina.