With the British press all afire concerning the possibility of former Mainz and Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp replacing the just-fired Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, it’s time once again to look abroad to see how a sampling of former Bundesliga players are faring.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, EPL) Sergio Aguero had the game of a lifetime for Manchester City Saturday, scoring five goals early in the second half against Newcastle United, but De Bruyne had a good match, too. The former Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen midfielder scored one goal, his fourth in four games for Citeh, while adding two assists in the beatdown of the Magpies, who actually held the lead at halftime. Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have had difficulty finding their footing in the post-KDB era, losing to previously winless Hannover on Saturday.
Sami Khedira (Juventus, Serie A) The German international scored a 63rd minute goal Sunday as Juventus defeated Bologna 3-1. Earlier in the week, Khedira made his Juventus debut in the Old Lady’s 2-0 Champions League win over Sevilla, with the midfielder having a strong match for the Italian side. The 28 year-old began his career with VfB Stuttgart, contributing in his first season to their 2006/2007 Bundesliga championship side. After four seasons with the Swabians, Khedira joined Real Madrid, where he won a La Liga title as well as the Champions League. Khedira’s younger brother, Rani, is a midfielder with RB Leipzig after also beginning his career with the Swabians.
Georgios Tzavellas (PAOK, Greek Super League) The Athens-born left back was started for PAOK in their Sunday loss to Olympiakos. Tzavellas played for Eintracht Frankfurt from 2010-2012 and is best remembered for his lengthy goal against Manuel Neuer, then of Schalke. The defender lofted a longball towards the Schalke goal from the left at a distance of 73 meters, and the ball took a high bounce with teammate Theofanis Gekas looking to get to it, but the ball eluded Gekas and bounced past Neuer into Schalke’s goal. Although Tzavellas’ record-setting distance goal was not enough for Eintracht to get a result (Schalke won 2-1), the 70th minute goal was Die Adler’s first goal of the Ruckrunde as they were shut out in their first eight matches of 2011 and were eventually relegated.
Tzavellas was also a starter Thursday in Europa League action as PAOK held visiting Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw. Former Bundesliga striker Dimitar Berbatov also started for the Greek side on Thursday, and was a second half substitute Saturday. The Bulgarian international played for Bayer Leverkusen from 2001-2006, scoring 69 Bundesliga goals.
Mario Gomez (Beşiktaş, loan, Turkish Super Lig) Gomez, on loan from Fiorentina, is enjoying footballing life in Istanbul, scoring six goals in seven matches for Beşiktaş thus far. On Sunday he had both goals as Beşiktaş downed Eskisehirspor 2-1, with former Bundesliga striker Theofanis Gekas scoring for the opposition. From 2003-2013 Gomez was a premier goalscorer for VfB Stuttgart and then Bayern Munich, scoring 138 league goals while winning the German title three times, the Champions League and the Pokal. Gomez left Bayern for Fiorentina two seasons ago, but injuries have limited him to seven Serie A goals in 29 matches. The German-born Gomez also earned 60 caps for the national team. Gekas, a Greek international, scored 62 Bundesliga goals while playing for Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Bochum, Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha Berlin. Longtime Hoffenheim defender Andreas Beck, along with Gökhan Töre. who played a season for Hamburger SV, were also in the Beşiktaş starting XI.
Ivan Perišić (Inter Milan, Serie A) The Croatian international had the only goal for Inter in their 1-1 draw Sunday away to Sampdoria. For the match, the former Dortmund and Wolfsburg attacker had four shots, three on frame, and drew a yellow card. The goal was the Croatian’s first in Serie A after scoring 27 Bundesliga goals. Inter hold second place in the Italy, now two points behind surprising Fiorentina.
Alban Meha (Konyaspor, Turkish Super Lig) The former SC Paderborn 07 man scored from the penalty spot on Sunday as Konyaspor downed Trabzonspor 2-1. His 51st minute goal opened the scoring. Born in Kosovo, the Albanian international was a free-kick specialist for Paderborn from 2011-2015 and helped the club gain promotion to the German first division. Former Gladbach and Werder Bremen midfielder Marko Marin was once again in the starting lineup for Trabzonspor. He was held scoreless after nabbing a goal last weekend. German international Lukas Podolski was also a goal-scorer in Turkey this weekend, notching his fourth of the season for Galatasaray in their win Saturday.
Jeffrey Bruma (PSV Eindhoven, Eredivisie) The Dutch centerback was in the starting lineup for PSV as they enjoyed an important win Sunday over Ajax in Amsterdam. Bruma played two seasons at Hamburger SV while on loan from Chelsea, featuring in 40 Bundesliga matches. PSV captain and former Gladbach striker Luuk de Jong, who’s been scoring with regularity for PSV this season, was not onboard for the match, but Mexican international Andres Guardado, who played briefly on loan for Bayer Leverkusen, was back from injury for PSV.
Raul (NY Cosmos, NASL) The 38 year-old former Schalke striker started for the Cosmos in their 1-1 draw with the Atlanta Silverbacks Sunday, firing off two shots in the opening minutes, before being subbed off early in the second half. Raul helped the Cosmos to a first-place finish in the NASL Spring Season … the Cosmos are currently fourth in the league’s 2015 fall campaign.
Renato Augusto (Corinthians, Futebol Brasileiro) The 27 year-old midfielder was a starter for Corinthians Sunday in their 2-2 draw away to AA Ponte Preta. Augusto came up in the Flamengo system and played for their senior team before joining Bayer Leverkusen in 2008. The Brazilian featured in 126 matches for Die Werkself over four seasons.
Per Mertesacker (Arsenal, EPL) The tall German defender featured for Arsenal Saturday in their big win over Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manchester United. Born in Hannover, Mertesacker began his professional career with the 96ers and after three seasons joined Werder Bremen, appearing in over 300 German club matches. He is now in his fourth full season at the London club. His fellow German international, Mesut Özil, was one of the goal-scorers for the Gunners Saturday and was credited for a very strong performance.