Granit Xhaka (Arsenal, EPL) The Swiss midfielder was a substitute in Wednesday’s Arsenal match against the MLS All-Stars, as the Gunners won 2-1. The Swiss international signed with the London club in May after spending the previous four seasons for Die Fohlen of Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he raised his profile enough that Arsenal paid 3an estimated 30-35 million euros for his signature this summer. Xhaka began his career with FC Basel and has featured 44 times for his country, scoring six goals.
Raphael Holzhauser (Austria Wien, Austria Bundesliga) The former Stuttgart man started for the iconic Austrian club in their Europa League qualifier Thursday, but was on the losing end as his club lost 1-0 to Spartak Trnava. THe 23 year-old spent time in the Rapid Wien youth system before joining Stuttgart in 2009. Working his way up from the VfB youth and reserve sides, he made 23 appearances for the Swabian’s senior squad before being loaned to FC Augsburg in July, 2013. He joined Austria Wien the next season and has played almost 50 matches for Austrian national youth sides, though has yet to represent his country at the senior level.
Theofanis Gekas (FC Sion, Swiss Super League) The 36 year-old striker was a starter for FC Sion in their 2-1 win Saturday over St. Gallen. The Swiss club is the 14th that Gekas has played for in a career that began with AEL in his native Greece back in 1999. Gekas played for four clubs in Germany — Vfl Bochum, Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha BSC and Eintracht Frankfurt between 2006-2012, scoring 68 goals in league play and leading the league in scoring in 2006/2007. He also has netted 24 times for Greece in 78 appearances. Also starting for Sion Saturday was former Stuttgart man Arthur Boka.
Juan Arango (NY Cosmos, NASL) Arango is a former teammate of Xhaka at Gladbach, and was on the winning side in NASL play and scored a goal Saturday for the Cosmos as they downed expansion side Puerto Rico FC 3-0 (Puerto Rico FC are owned by NBA star Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks). Arango began his career in his native Venezuela iwth Zulianos in 1999 and also played for Caracas FC before heading to Mexico, where he played for two seasons for the Rayados of Monterrey and three years with Puebla. In 2004 he began a five-year stint in Spain with Mallorca before joining Gladbach, where he was a regular starter and spot kick specialist. The 36 year-old spent last season back in Liga MX with Xolos de Tijuana before joining the Cosmos in the offseason, where he’s scored seven goals in 16 league matches.
Marcus Berg (Panathanaikos, Greek Super League) Thursday’s Europa League qualifier saw Berg and the Greek club defeat AIK 1-0. Berg played in 70 matches for Hamburger SV a few years back, scoring 13 times. He has played in over 100 fixtures for Panathinaikos in the last three seasons, while representing Sweden 41 times in his career. Former HSV man Denni Advic started for AIK in Thursday’s match.
Michal Kadlec (FC Sparta Prague, Czech First League) Kadlec started Tuesday for the Prague side in the Champions League qualifier against Steau Bucuresti, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Kadlec, 31, was born in Vyškov in the Czech Republic, but grew up in Germany as his father Miroslav played for 1.FC Kaiserslautern. Michal played in the Red Devils’ youth system before his father returned home to play. Michal began his pro career with 1. FC Slovácko in his native country before joining Sparta Prague in 2005. He joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2008, where he featured in over 150 matches in five seasons with Die Werkself at left back and central defense. Kadlec played three seasons with Fenerbahçe before recently re-joining Sparta Prague.
Martin Hinteregger (FC Salzburg, Austrian Bundesliga) The defender featured in Salzburg’s 1-1 draw with RZ Pellets WAC. The 23 year-old played in 10 matches for Gladbach last season in a loan move before returning to the Austrian Red Bull side this summer. Working his way up the Austrian national youth system, Hinteregger already has 17 caps for his native country.
Gonzalo Jara (Universidad de Chile, Chile Premier League) Jara was a starter but on the losing end Saturday as UdC lost 1-0 to Santiago Wanderers in Chilean first division action. The 30 year-old began his career with Chilean side Club Deportivo Huachipato before winning a league title with Colo Colo. In 2009 he headed to England and West Brom Albion, playing also for Brighton & Hove and Nottingham Forest. He played for Mainz during the 2014/2015 season, featuring in 23 matches. A two-time champion with Chile in the last two Copa America tournaments, Jara gained noteriety in the 2015 Copa tournament with his antics involving Uruguay’s Edison Cavani, which saw Jara earn a three-game suspension afterwards.
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