August 19, 2022
Venezia FC are pleased to announce the acquisition of Finnish international striker Joel Pohjanpalo, 27, from Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. Pohjanpalo has signed personal terms through the 2024/25 season with an option for two more years.
Born in Helsinki, Pohjanpalo came through the academy of his hometown club HJK and made his first team debut at the age of 17 in the 2011 season. In the following two seasons, Pohjanpalo would help HJK win the 2012 and 2013 Veikkausliiga league titles, scoring 16 goals and adding seven assists in 49 total league appearances. He would make his debut in European competition in July 2012, scoring two goals with two assists in a UEFA Champions League qualifying match against KR Reykjavík, and following that with a goal in the UEFA Europa League against Athletic Bilbao.
Leverkusen acquired Pohjanpalo in September 2013, and would loan him out to the 2. Bundesliga over the next three seasons. Pohjanpalo scored 5 goals in 22 league appearances for VfR Aalen in the 2013/14 season, then 13 goals in 55 total league appearances for Fortuna Düsseldorf over the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, before getting his chance with Leverkusen in summer 2016.
Pohjanpalo finally made his Bundesliga debut for Leverkusen in August 2016 against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the opening weekend of the 2016/17 season, and he would have a coming out party the following weekend with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Hamburger SV. Over the course of the season, Pohjanpalo would make just one start and 10 substitute appearances but proved effective when called upon with six goals in total. He would also make his debut in the UEFA Champions League proper with appearances against CSKA Moscow and Atlético Madrid.
Since then, Pohjanpalo featured sparingly for Leverkusen, making 23 total appearances with seven goals over the last seven seasons, while going back out on loan in each of the last three seasons. Pohjanpalo scored 9 goals in 14 appearances for Hamburger SV (2. Bundesliga) in the 2019/20 season, 6 goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances for 1.FC Union Berlin (Bundesliga) in the 2020/21 season, and 16 goals in 33 appearances for Caykur Rizespor (Turkish Süper Lig) last season.
This season, Pohjanpalo made one appearance for Leverkusen as a late substitute against FC Augsburg in the second round of the Bundesliga season.
At international level, Pohjanpalo has earned 56 caps for the Finland senior national team with 13 goals. On 12 June 2021, he scored in a 1–0 win over Denmark at UEFA Euro 2020, which marked Finland’s first goal and first win in a major international competition.