Wolfsburg leapfrogs ‘Gladbach with win, signs its star forward to 4-year deal

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Barring a horrific collapse from Borussia Monchengladbach, we know the three Bundesliga clubs that will move directly to the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and ‘Gladbach.

And one of the Top Three is swiping another’s joint-leading scorer, as Wolfsburg has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with ‘Gladbach striker Max Kruse. The 27-year-old German forward has 11 goals this season, tied for the club lead with Patrick Herrmann, and will join Wolfsburg in the summer.

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The news comes on the same day that Wolfsburg clinched a UCL group stage berth with a 3-1 win at Paderborn, moving back ahead of ‘Gladbach on the table.

From the Associated Press:

Both clubs agreed not to disclose the transfer fee, though German media reported that Kruse had a release clause of 12 million euros ($13.5 million).

Wolfsburg director Klaus Allofs says “we’re very happy that Max Kruse decided on a switch to Wolfsburg. He is the type of forward that was missing from our squad and he increases the quality and variety of our attack.”

With just a point separating the clubs in the table, this is one of those times the “pre-signing” doesn’t mesh well with traditional ideas of competition. Wolfsburg finishes with a pair on the road — at Borussia Dortmund and Koln — while ‘Gladbach heads to Werder Bremen before a home finale against Augsburg.