In 2011, 19-year-old Marcel Halstenberg left Hannover 96 II for Borussia Dortmund II. Now, after twelve years, 165 Bundesliga appearances, nine Germany appearances, and two DFB Pokal trophies, he is returning to his former club. The reported transfer fee is around €500k.
After over a decade with Hannover’s youth teams, Halstenberg left the club, having never played for Hannover’s senior side. He spent two years with Dortmund II, again making no appearances for the senior team, before joining St. Pauli. He spent another two-year stint with St. Pauli before joining a fellow 2. Bundesliga side, emerging club RB Leipzig.
Halstenberg made an instant impact, helping Leipzig earn promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016. The following season, he helped Leipzig finish 2nd and made his first appearance for the German national team. However, in early 2018, he tore his ACL during training — as a result, he missed the World Cup and most of the Bundesliga season.
Over the next two seasons, Halstenberg was mostly injury-free, and he was a regular in Leipzig’s side. He even helped RB Leipzig reach the Champions League semifinals, although he was benched in the semis against PSG (the only match in the UCL knockouts that he didn’t play all 90 minutes). They lost 3-0, with all goals coming before he was subbed on.
He was called up for Germany for the 2021 European Championship — his first (and only) major international tournament. He only made one appearance, coming on as a substitute in a win over Portugal.
Unfortunately for Halstenberg, injuries remained a big problem. He missed almost all of the 2021/22 season with an ankle injury, and, while he remained an important part of Leipzig last year, he saw his minutes decrease.
Now 31, Halstenberg is back at his childhood club, Hannover 96. They will be aiming to return to the Bundesliga with a squad full of both experience (like World Cup winner Ron-Robert Zieler) and young talent (prospects Bright Arrey-Mbi and Nicolò Tresoldi). Halstenberg is already a hero in Hannover for choosing to return — but if he can take them to the Bundesliga, he could become a club legend.