VfL Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandžukić put in an early bid for the 2012 Euro Golden Boot Award by scoring two goals in Croatia’s 3-1 win over the Irish Republic on Sunday, putting the Croatian national team atop the Group C standings after one round of matches. In other news, young German-born American international Terrence Boyd has signed with Austrian Bundesliga club Rapid Vienna, while Wolfsburg has added Kevin Pennewitz from Hansa Rostock, while Schalke’s Huub Stevens expressed his interest in bringing Rafael van der Vaart to Die Knappen. We’ll also take a quick look at Bundesliga players performing for their home nations around the world.
Mandžukić Comes up Big for Croatia
Wolfsburg’s 6’1″ striker scored Croatia’s first and last goal in their Sunday win over the Republic of Ireland. Mandžukić has played the last two seasons in the Volkswagen city after transferring on a reported 8 million euro fee in the summer of 2010 from Dinamo Zagreb. He is tied for the lead in 2012 Euro scoring with Russia’s Alan Dzagoev, who scored twice Friday against the Czech Republic.
Last season Mandžukić had 12 goals to share the Wolves club goal-scoring crown with Patrick Helmes, while also adding eight assists, but the Croatians’ performance against Giovanni Trapattoni’s Irish squad should raise his profile in the eyes of the footballing world as Wolfsburg have been a relatively mediocre club since winning the Bundesliga title in 2008/2009.
Mandžukić netted one of the earliest goals in Euro tournament history Sunday when he headed past Ireland’s Shay Givens in the 3rd minute of the match. The Irish responded 15 minutes later with a Simon St. Ledger score to equalize, but a controversial score by Nika Jelavic, Mandžukić’ partner in attack, gave Croatia a 2-1 lead going into intermission. The second goal from Mandžukić came quickly after restart, as he headed a cross from Borussia Dortmund’s Ivan Perišić to create a lead that the Irish couldn’t overcome.
In addition to Mandžukić and Perišić, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Gordon Schildenfeld and Leverkusen loanee Vedran Ćorluka were also in the starting XI for Croatia.
In other Wolfsburg news, the club has signed former Hansa Rostock Kevin Pannewitz to a two-year deal. The 21 year-old defensive midfielder has made over 70 appearances for Rostock, and has been training with Wolfsburg recently.
Wolfsburg’s veteran manager Felix Magath commented.
Kevin has the potential to develop into a Bundesliga-calibre player. Unfortunately Kevin hasn’t necessarily handled his talent in the most professional manner in recent years. Therefore we’re offering him a second chance in coming here. I hope he takes it in this new environment.
Terrence Boyd Heads to Rapid Vienna
Young American international Terrence Boyd is leaving Borussia Dortmund on a three-year transfer deal to Austrian Bundesliga club Rapid Vienna (Sporklub Rapid Wien). The German-American native of Bremen scored 20 goals for the Dortmund reserves last season but has yet to make an appearance for Dortmund’s senior squad, although he did make the bench for Dortmund’s match with FC Koln last October.
Boyd, 21, made his first start for Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT on May 26, 2012 in a friendly against Scotland after making a handful of appearances for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 squads. The 6’2″ striker is now tied to the U.S. squad following his appearance in Friday’s CONCACAF WCQ match against Antigua & Barbuda.
Boyd came up in the Hertha Berlin youth system and played 44 matches between 2009 and 2011 for their reserve squad, scoring 15 times. By joining Rapid Vienna, Boyd will have an opportunity for Europa League play this upcoming season as Rapid finished second in the Austrian Bundesliga. The Rapid club was founded in 1898, and have won 32 Austrian national titles since 1912, with the latest occurring in the 2007-2008 season.
Dortmund’s youth football coordinator Lars Ricken.
We signed Terrence from the Hertha BSC Berlin reserves last season and now he’s playing the U.S. men’s national team. He is yet another example that putting in strong performances for our second team can often lead to excellent future prospects
His qualities are tremendous. Schalke won’t say no to Van der Vaart, I still know him from our mutual stay at Hamburger SV and would like to join forces with him again. We are in contact with his agent. I’m on holiday right now, but I’m in touch with Schalke general manager Horst Heldt on a daily basis about our plans.
I don’t know how Raf himself feels about a return to Germany. I haven’t spoken him yet, he’s with his mind on the Euros. His agreement with Tottenham is still running, so it seems that we have to pay a transfer sum in case he would come.
Let’s be clear: if Raf really wants to come, he’s more than welcome. If we have this opportunity to contract him, which looks quite reasonable, we won’t miss our chance. The attacking midfielder position, it is possible to shuffle within our squad. Julian Draxler, for example, is only 18-years-old, while Van der Vaart is a very experienced player.
The 29 year-old van der Vaart has made 414 professional appearances with Ajax, Hamburg, Real Madrid and Spurs since his senior club debut with Ajax in April, 2000, scoring 150 goals while also earning nearly 100 caps for the Netherlands, netting 18 times. Involved in the 2012 Euros, van der Vaart insists that he has no interest in leaving Tottenham.
Bundesliga Players on International Duty
Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery provided the assist on France’s only goal in their 1-1 draw with England Monday in Euro competition. Ribery, active throughout the match, dropped a short pass back to Samir Nasri, who scorched a low shot past England’s Joe Hart in the 39th minute to equalize for the French. Ribery’s Bayern teammate, Anatoliy Tymoschuk, started for the Ukraine in their 2-1 win over Sweden Monday, as did former Hertha Berlin striker Andriy Voronin. Markus Rosenberg, cast adrift by Werder Bremen after scoring 10 goals in 2011/2012, earned the nod for Sweden.
In CONMEBOL WC Qualifying, Hamburg’s Paolo Guererro scored for Peru in their 4-2 loss to Uruguay Sunday. Mainz’ Elkin Soto started for Colombia in their 1-0 loss to Ecuador, while on Saturday Gladbach’s Juan Arango and Wolfsburg’s Yoandry Orozco were on the wrong end of Venezuela’s 2-0 loss to Chile.
In the African region WC qualifying, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting of Mainz scored for Cameroon but it wasn’t enough as the Indomitable Lions lost to Libya 2-1. Schalke’s Joel Matip was an unused substitute for Cameroon. Stuttgart’s Mamadou Bah and Ibrahima Traore of Guinea lost to Mohamed Zidan and Egypt 3-2 Sunday. Hoffenheim’s Knowledge Musona, loaned to FC Augsburg for the upcoming season, was a starter for Zimababwe in their scoreless draw with Mozambique.
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