When Max Kruse was signed by SC Paderborn in July, it looked like an astute signing by the 2. Bundesliga side. The German international brought experience and goals — 97 Bundesliga goals, to be exact — to the club, which has been in the second tier since relegation in 2020. For Kruse, this offered a chance to help Paderborn return to the top flight. Instead, less than five months later, Kruse is departing.
After starting the club’s opening two matches, Kruse suffered an injury, keeping him out of the next two. He then returned to the field against Holstein Kiel for less than 30 minutes but missed the next three matches. He was subbed on for two of their next five matches but struggled with injuries once more before Kruse and Paderborn agreed to terminate the contract. His final stats in Paderborn: five games, zero goals, and one assist.
Judging by some of Kruse’s comments afterward, it doesn’t look like things ended happily.
This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, almost exactly a year ago, Wolfsburg terminated his contract, announcing the end of his forgettable stay with a 50-word statement. Injuries had again plagued the German striker, but manager Niko Kovac’s public criticism sealed his fate, questioning his focus and concentration.
Wolfsburg signed Kruse for his second stint at the club after a successful stay with Union Berlin, where he scored 16 times in 38 Bundesliga matches. However, Union was only able to sign him because he was once again a free agent, having terminated his contract with Turkish giants Fenerbahce in June 2020 after alleging that they did not pay his wages. The matter eventually ended up in court.
Now 35, Kruse is going to have to find a new club once again. With his recent track record, some clubs may be hesitant to sign the former star.
Image Courtesy of https://www.bundesliga.com/de/2bundesliga.