Hakan Çalhanoğlu

Hakan Çalhanoğlu

Çalhanoğlu with Turkey in 2016
Personal information
Full name Hakan Çalhanoğlu
Date of birth (1994-02-08) 8 February 1994
Place of birth Mannheim, Germany
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Bayer Leverkusen
Number 10
Youth career
1. FC Turanspor Mannheim
Polizei SC Mannheim
2001–2009 SV Waldhof Mannheim
2009–2011 Karlsruher SC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2013 Karlsruher SC 50 (17)
2013–2014 Hamburger SV 32 (11)
2014– Bayer Leverkusen 74 (15)
National team
2010 Turkey U16 6 (1)
2010–2011 Turkey U17 11 (1)
2011–2013 Turkey U19 15 (5)
2012–2013 Turkey U20 8 (1)
2012– Turkey U21 2 (0)
2013– Turkey 26 (8)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:57, 3 December 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 01:15, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈhaːkan ˈt͡ʃaɫhanoːɫu], born 8 February 1994) is a Turkish professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for German club Bayer Leverkusen and the Turkey national team. He is known for his ability of scoring from free kicks.[1]

He began his career at Karlsruher SC in 2010 and moved to top-flight side Hamburger SV two years later, spending another season back at his first club on loan. His performance in his first Bundesliga season earned him a €14.5 million transfer to Leverkusen in 2014. Born in Germany, Çalhanoğlu opted to represent his ancestral Turkey at international level, making his senior debut in 2013.

Club career

Karlsruher SC

Born in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Çalhanoğlu began his career with Karlsruher SC in the 2. Bundesliga, although they were relegated to the 3. Liga at the end of his first season. He signed a four-year deal to join Hamburger SV in the 2012 summer transfer window, being loaned back for his first season.[2] In that season on loan, he helped the team win the league and return to the second tier.

Hamburg SV

Çalhanoğlu made his Hamburg and Bundesliga debut on 11 August 2013, as the team opened the season with a 3–3 away draw at Schalke 04. He started the match, and was replaced by Dennis Aogo after 74 minutes.[3] He scored his first goals for the club on the 31 August, in a 4–0 home win over Eintracht Braunschweig; after replacing goalscorer Rafael van der Vaart in the 79th minute, he scored a minute later and then netted again with a free kick.[4]

On 5 February 2014, Çalhanoğlu signed a two-year extension to his Hamburg contract, to keep him at the club until 2018.[5] On 20 February, Hakan scored an outrageous 41-yard free kick, against Borussia Dortmund in a 3–0 win, which ended Hamburg's bad run. As he saw no defensive wall or teammates to pass, he struck a shot that swerved viciously to find the back of the net. A delighted Çalhanoğlu said afterwards: 'I hit the free-kick the same way I do in training all the time. I'm delighted that I pulled it off!'.[6] He was sent off for the first time in his career on 22 March, for his second booking in the 53rd minute of a 1–0 defeat away to VfB Stuttgart.[7]

In his only full season at Hamburg, the team finished in 16th, and won a play-off against SpVgg Greuther Fürth on away goals to maintain their honour as the only team to feature in every season of the top flight.[8]

Bayer Leverkusen

Çalhanoğlu warming up with Leverkusen before a friendly in July 2014

Hamburg initially wanted Çalhanoğlu to only be sold to a foreign club, but their purchase of Pierre-Michel Lasogga from Hertha BSC made such an exception no longer financially viable.[9] On 4 July 2014, he left Hamburg for league rivals Bayer Leverkusen, signing a five-year contract[10] for a transfer fee of €14.5 million.[11] His transfer was controversial for him taking sick leave from Hamburg; he justified this by saying that he was stressed by aggression from fans, including vandalism of his car. He also criticised Hamburg's director Oliver Kreuzer, accusing him of betrayal.[12] The move was later criticised by Son Heung-min, as a response to Çalhanoğlu calling his former Leverkusen teammate's transfer to Tottenham Hotspur "badly advised".[13]

He made his debut for the club on 19 June, starting in a 3–2 away win at FC Copenhagen in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League qualification playoff.[14] Four days later he played his first league game for his new club, a 2–0 win away to Borussia Dortmund on the opening day of the new season.[15] On 27 August he scored his first Leverkusen goal, netting his team's second in a 4–0 win in the second leg of their European playoff.[16] He scored his first league goal for the club on 12 September, Leverkusen's second in a 3–3 home draw against Werder Bremen. It was the first game in any competition that season which they did not win.[17] Çalhanoğlu was nominated for the 2014 Golden Boy Award in October.[18]

Çalhanoğlu with Leverkusen in 2015

On 25 February 2015, he scored the only goal as Leverkusen defeated Atlético Madrid in the last 16 first leg in the Champions League.[19] However, three weeks later in the second leg, he took their first attempt in a penalty shootout and had it saved by Jan Oblak, as Atlético went on to win.[20] On 2 May, Çalhanoğlu opened a 2–0 home win over newly crowned league champions Bayern Munich, with a free kick.[21]

He opened his second season at the club by scoring a penalty on 8 August in a 3–0 win at fourth-tier Sportfreunde Lotte in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.[22] Two weeks later, with a free kick, he scored the only goal of a league win at Hannover 96.[23] On 26 August, he opened a 3–0 win over Lazio as Bayer came back from a first-leg deficit to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League.[24] In their first game of the group stage, Çalhanoğlu scored twice — including a penalty earned by a handball of his free kick — in a 4–1 home rout of BATE Borisov.[25]

He opened his 2016–17 goalscoring account on 14 September in the 2–2 home draw against CSKA Moscow in a Champions League group stage game — the 50th goal in his senior club career.[26]

International career

It's thanks to the Germans that I became a footballer. But playing for the Turkish national team is an honour. I want to be Turkey's Mesut Özil.

— Çalhanoğlu explaining his decision to represent Turkey to Milliyet.[27]

Born in Germany, Çalhanoğlu opted to play for Turkey, qualifying for them through his family's origins in Trabzon.[2] He played for the country at youth international level, including the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup on home soil.[2] Turkey reached the last 16 before elimination by France. In their second group game on 28 June, Çalhanoğlu scored Turkey's equaliser in a 2–1 win over Australia at the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium in his ancestral city.[28]

Çalhanoğlu playing for Turkey in 2016

He made his senior international debut on 6 September 2013 in a World Cup qualifier in Kayseri, replacing Gökhan Töre for the last eight minutes of a 5–0 win against Andorra in Fatih Terim's first match back in charge.[29] He made his first start on 25 May 2014 in a 2–1 friendly win against the Republic of Ireland at Dublin's Aviva Stadium, making way for Olcan Adın after 61 minutes.[30]

Çalhanoğlu was sharing a hotel room with national team defender Ömer Toprak in October 2013 after a World Cup qualifying defeat to the Netherlands, when Gökhan Töre and an unknown armed friend entered the room, and threatened both roommates at gunpoint, ostensibly due to Töre's ex-girlfriend dating a friend of Toprak.[31] The incident was hidden from Turkish media, but Çalhanoğlu revealed it to Germany's ZDF television channel.[31] Töre did not return to the national team until October 2014, when both Çalhanoğlu and Toprak were injured. The following month, with both players back to fitness and form, both were left out by Terim for a friendly against Brazil and a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Kazakhstan while Töre remained. Çalhanoğlu questioned his omission from the team, while Terim defended his own decision and said that Töre deserved to be forgiven.[31] In June 2015, Çalhanoğlu and Töre reconciled.[32]

On 31 March 2015, Çalhanoğlu scored his first international goal in a 2–1 friendly win away to Luxembourg, a 30-yard strike with three minutes remaining.[33] He scored two more in a 4–0 home friendly win over Bulgaria on 8 June, the latter being a free kick.[34] His first competitive goal came on 10 October, a cross which secured a 2–0 away win over the Czech Republic in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.[35]

Çalhanoğlu became the first Turk to score against England, in the 11th match between the two nations, a friendly at the City of Manchester Stadium on 22 May 2016. He equalised in the 2–1 defeat.[36]

Style of play

Çalhanoğlu has been likened to Mesut Özil, another German-born midfielder of Turkish ancestry.[1][37][38][39][40] He expressed a desire to be the equivalent of Özil in the Turkish national team.[27]

He is known for scoring from free kicks,[41] and models his set-piece technique on those of Cristiano Ronaldo and especially Juninho Pernambucano.[1] In December 2013, Talksport called him "a playmaker destined for the top", praising his dedication and passing ability.[1] Former England international Owen Hargreaves said on BT Sport in August 2015 that Çalhanoğlu's style of play would fit Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur.[42]

Career statistics


As of match played 3 December 2016[43]
Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Karlsruher SC 2011–12 140 20 160
2012–13 3617 30 3917
Total 5017 30 205517
Hamburger SV 2013–14 3211 40 20 3811
Bayer Leverkusen 2014–15 338 42 103 4713
2015–16 313 31 124 468
2016–17 10 4 1 0 5 1 165
Total 7415 83 278 10926
Career total 15643 153 278 40 20254


As of match played 12 November 2016[44]

International goals

As of match played 12 November 2016. Turkey score listed first, score column indicates score after each Çalhanoğlu goal.[43]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 31 March 2015Stade Josy Barthel, Lëtzebuerg, Luxembourg8 Luxembourg2–12–1Friendly
2 8 June 2015Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Stadium, Kasımpaşa, Turkey9 Bulgaria1–04–0Friendly
3 2–0
4 10 October 2015Generali Arena, Prague, Czech Republic13 Czech Republic2–02–0UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying
5 29 March 2016Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria16 Austria1–12–1Friendly
6 22 May 2016City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England17 England1–11–2Friendly
7 5 September 2016Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia23 Croatia1–11–12018 FIFA World Cup qualification
8 6 October 2016 Torku Arena, Konya, Turkey 24 Ukraine 2–2 2–2 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification


  1. 1 2 3 4 Mannion, Damian (11 December 2013). "Arsenal transfer news: the starlet being compared to Ozil". Talksport. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "Calhanoglu: A great opportunity". FIFA. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  3. "Schalke make point". Sky Sports. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  4. "No problems for Hamburg". Sky Sports. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  5. "Calhanoglu pens new Hamburg contract". Four Four Two. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  6. "VIDEO: Hamburg's Calhanoglu scores outrageous 50-yard free-kick". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  7. "Take it to the Maxim". Sky Sports. 22 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  8. Raish, Dave (18 May 2014). "Hamburg secure Bundesliga survival over Greuther Fürth in relegation playoff". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
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  24. "Champions League roundup: Bayer Leverkusen ease past Lazio". The Guardian. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
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