FC Augsburg have signed Ji Dong-Won from Sunderland for an undisclosed fee on a contract until the end of the season.
Ji, 22, had already featured for Augsburg during the first half of 2013 when, during a loan spell, he became a key to their securing Bundesliga football for a third year running.
Upon his arrival, Augsburg were 10 points off the pace, but 24 points during the second half of 2012-13 lifted the Bavarian side out of the relegation zone at the end of the season. Ji contributed five goals, featuring in 17 games.
His return to Sunderland in the summer saw the South Korea international back on the bench, and Augsburg have now taken the attacking midfielder back to Germany as he bids to make the World Cup squad.
“I wanted to make the switch in the winter to win more minutes and put myself in the window for the World Cup in Brazil,” Ji told Augsburg's official website. “I had a super time at Augsburg last season and it was clear to me that I wanted to join Augsburg and Augsburg only for the rest of the season."
FC Augsburg officials were delighted to have him back in the squad. “It’s nice that Ji Dong-Won is back in Augsburg. We are hoping that he can pick up on his performances for us last season, because we had a lot of fun with him back then,” Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl said.
Sporting director Stefan Reuter added that Ji knowing the club inside-out was one of the reasons for signing the midfielder.
Augsburg currently sit eighth in Bundesliga, having picked up 24 points and, contrary to several experts' opinions before the season started, seem certain to secure another top-flight season.
Ji had also been linked with several other Bundesliga clubs, with Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt only recently dropping out of the race.