Mesut Özil (Arsenal, EPL) The amazing Ozil had yet another assist for Arsenal Sunday in their 2-0 away win over Aston Villa. After an Oliver Giroud penalty goal put the Gunners up 1-0 in the 8th minute of the match, Ozil earned his 13th assist of the EPL season when he selflessly passed up a shot and passed to Aaron Ramsey, who netted to insure the win that put Arsenal alone atop the league. As usual, former Hannover and Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker joined Ozil in Arsenal’s starting lineup, as they both also started Wednesday in Arsenal’s CL win over Olympiakos. Born in Gelsenkirchen, Özil, the former Schalke and Werder Bremen German international has two league goals and two CL goals for Arsenal this season.
Daniel Royer (FC Midtjylland, Danish Super League) The 25 year-old midfielder was in the starting XI for the Danish side in their Thursday Europa League matchup with Club Brugge. Royer, who has six caps for the Austrian national team, played in three Bundesliga matches for Hannover 96 during the 2011/2012 season. The next year he was loaned to 1.FC Köln, scoring three goals while featuring in 26 Bundesliga 2 matches before joining Austria Wien. For Club Brugge, former Nürnberg man Timmy Simons was in the starting lineup.
Sejad Salihović (Guizhou Renhe, China Super League) The Bosnian-Herzegovina veteran international joined Guizhou Renhe at the end of the summer, and has made 15 appearances for the Chinese club, scoring once and adding five assists. The longtime Hoffenheim midfielder played seven full seasons in the Bundesliga while scoring 56 league goals after helping the village side gain promotion from both Regionalliga Sud in 2006/2007 and from the Bundesliga 2 the next season. Salihović has also represented his country on 47 occasions. Among his teammates in China is fellow Bosnian international Zvjezdan Misimović. The Munich-born attacking midfielder joined Guizhou Renhe in 2013. He began his lengthy professional career with a brief spell on the Bayern Munich senior squad in 2002, but followed with much longer stays at VfL Bochum, 1.FC Nürnberg and VfL Wolfsburg, helped the Wolves to the Bundesliga title in 2008/2009 with a club-high 20 assists. His 25 international goals are second only to the 45 scored by former Wolfsburg teammate Edin Džeko for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Heung Min-Son (Tottenham, EPL) The South Korean international was in the starting lineup for Spurs in their Europa League match against AS Monaco Thursday. Son had an early shot on goal called back for offside. The 23 year-old has one goal and one assist in seven league games for Spurs this season after coming over from Bayer Leverkusen this summer. In six seasons in Germany, Son scored 59 goals in all competitions for Die Werkself and, previously, for Hamburger SV. Also starting for Spurs Thursday was former 1.FC Koln man Kevin Wimmer. The Austrian played in 67 matches for the Billy Goats, beginning in 2012, before also joining Tottenham this summer. Neither Son or Wimmer were starters for Spurs in their loss to Newcastle and starting attacker Papiss Demba Cisse, although Son came on as a substitute and had two shots.
Mohammed Abdellaoue (Vålerenga, Norway Tippeligaen) Acquired by Vålerenga at the end of August from VfB Stuttgart, Abdellaoue had one goal in four matches for the Norwegian side in his second stint with the Oslo side. The Norwegian international, now 30, left Vålerenga for Hannover 96 in 2010 following a season where he had scored 15 times in 20 Tippeligaen matches. Abdellaoue had success with the 96ers, scoring 35 goals in almost 100 competitive matches during a bright spell in Hannover’s history that included European football. He joined the Swabians for the 2013/2014 season, but never could get untracked with the side, featuring in only twelve senior squad matches and scoring once. Also featuring for Vålerenga this season, on loan from Hertha Berlin has been goalkeeper Sascha Burchert, 26, who played in 14 matches this season, splitting time with Austrian Michael Langer, who came up in the VfB youth system. Langer also played in Germany for SC Freiburg, FSV Frankfurt and SV Sandhausen.
Luca Toni (Hellas Verona, Serie A) The ageless striker scored from the penalty spot as Hellas Verona drew away at AC Milan Sunday 1-1. It was the second league goal of the season for Toni, who has started seven of the Italian side’s 16 league matches this season. Toni had a brilliant 2007/2008 campaign in his first season at Bayern Munich, scoring a total of 39 goals for the double winners. He scored 24 times in league play and five more goals in the Pokal, including the opening goal in Bayern’s 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the final. That year Toni also notched 10 goals in 11 UEFA Cup matches before Bayern were eliminated by Zenit St. Petersburg in a 4-0 2nd leg in which future VfB Stuttgart striker Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the opener for the Russian side. Toni, now 38, has now scored 302 goals in his professional career in Italy, Germany and briefly in the UAE after starting out in Serie C with Modena in the 1994/1995 season.
Diego (Fenerbahçe, Turkish Super Lig) 30 year-old Diego came off the bench for Fenerbahçe in their 1-0 win over visiting Basaksehir. It was the Brazilian’s 13th appearance for the Istanbul side after playing in 25 games for the club last season. Diego played in 84 Bundesliga matches for Werder Bremen and another 76 for VfL Wolfsburg, scoring a total of 57 league goals despite seemingly always being involved in one contoversy or another. In the starting XI for Fenerbahçe Sunday was former VfL Wolfsburg defender Simon Kjær. The Dane played in almost 60 league matches for the Wolves. Former Bayer Leverkusen defender Michal Kadlec was an unused substitute.
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