Ivan Perišić (Inter Milan, Serie A) The former BvB and Wolfsburg striker scored the game-winner, and two more, against Chievo Verona Sunday in a 5-0 win that put Inter atop Serie A, one point ahead of Napoli and two ahead of Juventus. The 28 year-0ld Croatian international had 27 playing Bundesliga fussball while winning a league title with BvB and the Pokal both at BvB and Wolfsburg. He is in his third season at Inter and has 63 caps for Croatia.
Emre Can (Liverpool FC, EPL) The German international had the opener for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds Saturday in their 1-5 win away over Brighton & Hove. Former Hoffenheim striker Roberto Firmino, who had 38 goals in 140 matches for the village club, joined in the fun with a brace while Ragnar Klavan (formerly of FC Augsburg) and goalkeeper Loris Karius (ex- Mainz 05) were on the bench for Kloppo’s side. Can began in the Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich youth systems, but played only in four league matches for the rekordmeisters before spending a season at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Besides his goal, Can had six clearances and three interceptions for LFC while passing at a 93% success rate in 90 attempts. Longtime FC Ingolstadt midfielder Pascal Groß was a starter for the home side.
Lukas Podolski (Vissel Kobe, J League) Started in the season finale for Kobe, which lost 1-3 Saturday to Shimizu S-Pulse, The former Bayern Munich and 1.FC Koln man ended the J-League season with five goals in 15 starts for his club that finished 9th in the 18 team league. Born in Poland, the German international with 130 caps scored 94 goals in the Bundesliga. Prinz Poldi intends to return to Vissel Kobe for the upcoming season.
Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew, MLS) A year ago, Steffen was with SC Freiburg’s reserve side after signing from the University of Maryland. Wednesday evening, he was in goal for Gregg Berhalter‘s Crew side, and despite allowing only one goal in the two-legged playoff series against former Gladbach midfielder Michael Bradley and FC Toronto, it was one too many as the Crew were eliminated by Toronto. Berhalter, who played almost 200 hundred matches between 2002 and 2009 for Energie Cottbus and then 1860 Munich, is considered one of the best tacticians in MLS and switched his formation to a 3-4-2-1 to frustrate Toronto’s attack, but couldn’t get goals from his club. Steffen, a potential USMNT #1 goalkeeper, was considered the best player in 2017 MLS Playoffs by the MLS website
Luuk de Jong (PSV, Dutch Eredivise) De Jong came off the bench to score the only goal in PSV’s 1-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam. The former Gladbach striker had eight goals for the Foals between 2012 and 2014 in 45 matches in all competitions after coming over from FC Twente, but has been a prolific scorer for PSV since joining the club three seasons ago. Also in the starting XI for the Dutch side was Daniel Schwaab, the defender who played 90 plus games in each stint at SC Freiburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart. Nick Proschwitz, 31, the forward who played for the reserve sides of Hoffenheim, Hamburg, Wolfsburg and Hannover after coming up in Greuther Fürth’s youth system, started for Rotterdam Sunday. He played with SC Paderborn’s senior squad during the 2015/2016 season, scoring five goals in 19 matches.
Pedro Geromel (Grêmio, Brazilian Premeira) The former 1.FC Koln man was a starter for Gremio this week in the Copa Libertadors Final against Argentine side Lanus, helping Gremio become crowned champions of South America. The 32 year-old defender featured in 116 league matches for the Billy Goats between 2008 and 2014, with loan stints at Mallorca and Grêmio. He signed permanently with Porto Allegre club in 2015. For Grêmio, it was their third Copa Libertadores trophy, and another former Bundesliga player, Lucas Barrios, was also a starter for the Brazilian side. The former Borussia Dortmund striker had 49 goals in 101 matches in all competitions for the yellow-blacks, winning two league titles and a Pokal trophy.
Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russian Premier League) The longtime Schalke man scored a late game-winner for Lokomotiv Saturday against FK Rubin Kazan, lifting the Moscow side to a six point lead in the Russian title race over Zenit St. Petersburg. The Peruvian international’s strike was his sixth goal on the season for Lokomotiv in 14 starts. The native of Lima featured in 228 matches for the Royal Blues in seven seasons beginning in 2008 after coming over from PSV Eindhoven. Farfan, 33, scored three important goals in 2018 World Cup qualifying to help Peru reach the tournament for the first time in 36 years.
Robert Mak (PAOK, Greek Super League) The Slovakian international scored the 2nd goal in PAOK’s 0-3 win over FC Xanthi Saturday. The 26 year-old came up in the Manchester City youth system before transferring to 1.FC Nurnberg, where he featured in 77 matches for Der Club between 2010 and 2014. scoring six times. He currently is on loan at PAOK from Zenit St. Petersburg after an earlier stint with the Salonika side, and has earned 41 caps for Slovakia, scoring nine international goals.
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