Cologne extend contracts of Hector, Bittencourt

Cologne : Cologne have extended the contracts with Germany international Jonas Hector and midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt, the football club has said in an official statement. Both contracts have been extended until June 2021 as Cologne want to bind "two key players ahead of schedule", reports Xinhua. "Jonas made an outstanding development at Cologne," Cologne's head coach Peter Stoeger said on Saturday. "He was a player of our Under-21 team and became then, with a lot of motivation and hard work, a regular in the Bundesliga and in Germany's national team. He just recently staged top performances at the 2016 Euro in France." The 26-year-old left back made his debut for Cologne's senior team in August 2012 and quickly became the skipper of their defence. His Bundesliga performance earned him spot in Germany's squad as Loew appointed the defender for his international debut against Gibraltar in November 2014. His team-mate Lenonardo Bittencourt, who played his way through Germany's youth teams, stays until 2021 as well. "Leonardo has shown his great potential many times in his first year with us," Stoeger said. "We are pleased that both have extended their contracts." The 22-year-old offensive midfielder joined Cologne from Hannover in July 2015. In his first seasons, he scored three goals in 29 outings. Cologne play against Darmstadt in the first round of Bundesliga on August 27. IANS