Made in Germany: The Former Bundesliga World Cup XI

Bundestrainer Joachim Löw has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal as Germany looks to defend its World Cup title in Russia, but there are plenty of ex-Bundesliga stars appearing at this summer’s finals tournament. Those made in the Bundesliga combined would probably have an excellent shot at going far in the tournament.

So who makes it into our all-star ex-Bundesliga World Cup XI? (German nationals have been omitted).

1: Jonas Lössl

One of Denmark’s back-ups to Kasper Schmeichel is none other than former Mainz custodian Jonas Lössl, who has just spent a successful season in the Premier League with Huddersfield. After helping keep David Wagner’s side retain their place in the English top division with ten clean sheets, he has made his move permanent from the Nullfünfer.

Lössl signed for Mainz in 2016 from Guingamp as a direct replacement for Loris Karius, who had joined Liverpool. He made 27 first-team appearances at the Opel Arena.

2: Vedran Corluka

The Croatian right-back has just helped Lokomotiv Moscow to the Russian league title (their first since 2004) and makes the team courtesy of a short loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen in 2012. During his time at the Bay Arena he played just seven Bundesliga matches and once in the Champions League.  

3: Pedro Geromel

C’mon Köln fans, you must remember Pedro? The Brazilian defender was a regular during his four seasons in the Bundesliga, but couldn’t prevent the Billy Goats from relegation in 2012.  So impressive had he been that he was linked with Real Madrid at one stage before going on loan at Mallorca.

He returned to Brazil in 2014 with Gremio helping them win the Copa Libertadores in 2017. New Brazil national coach Tite called him up and handed him his first Selecao cap in January last year.

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4: Vincent Kompany

Like much of the rest of his career, the Belgian centre-back was injured for large spells of his spell at Hamburg, but when fit proved an outstanding defender. Signed for €10 million to replace Daniel van Buyten who had joined Bayern, Kompany departed for Manchester City after two seasons at the Volksparkstadion.

At the Etihad, he’s won three Premier League titles and one FA Cup.

5: Ricardo Rodriguez

Rumour has it that the former VfL Wolfsburg left-back might be on his way back to the Bundesliga, but for now the Swiss international makes it onto the team courtesy of playing for AC Milan.

Capped 52 times by his country, he was the hero of the play-off win over Northern Ireland scoring the only goal in the first-leg and then pulling off a vital clearance off the goal line in the second-leg.

He played 149 times for Wolfsburg helping them win the DFB Pokal in 2015.

6: Ivan Rakitic

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has been such a success in Spain (he also played for Sevilla) that many people forget his time in the Bundesliga with Schalke between 2007 and 2011.

The Croatian international made 97 Bundesliga appearances scoring 12 goals over his three-and-a-half seasons with the Königsblauen. He played for Switzerland (the country of his birth) at youth level before switching the country of father. He has a Bosnian mother, is married to a Spaniard and so is very much a cosmopolitan player.

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7: Gylfi Sigurdsson

The Icelandic midfielder is another player, who has gone on to bigger and better things after a short spell in the Bundesliga. In his first full season at Hoffenheim after joining from Reading in England, he was  voted ‘Player of the Year’ by the fans having scored ten goals in his 13 starts for the club.

He left in 2012 having fallen out of favour under Holger Stanislawski. He’s since had successful stints in the UK playing for Swansea, Tottenham and Everton.

8: Son Heung-Min

Son left Korea to join HSV’s youth ranks as a 16-year-old and his career has been on an upward trajectory ever since. After impressing at the Volksparkstadion over three seasons, he joined Bayer Leverkusen, where he became a firm fan favourite scoring 21 goals in 62 appearances.

He was a prime candidate to be snapped up by the Premier League and Tottenham paid the Werkself €30 million in 2015.  He’s scored 21 international goals for South Korea and this past season netted 18 times for Spurs in all competitions.

9: Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira, to give him his full name is another player, who graced the Bundesliga all-too briefly before being lured away to England. It is fair to say that when he arrived at Hoffenheim in 2010 from Figueirense few people knew much about him, but by the time he left for Liverpool in 2015 he was a real Bundesliga star.

He played 140 times for Hoffenheim, with his best season coming in 2013–14. His 16 goals tied him as the fourth highest league scorer, and he was named the league’s ‘Breakthrough Player’.

Now with Liverpool, he forms one of Europe’s most potent attacking trios alongside Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

10: Mario Mandžukić

In two seasons with VfL Wolfsburg and two with Bayern Munich, the Croatian striker scored over 50 goals in the Bundesliga and was a key-part of Bayern’s treble winning season in 2012-13.

He has since carried on banging in the goals for both Atletico Madrid and now Juventus. Mandžukić won the 2016-17 UEFA Goal of the Season award for his overhead kick against Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

11: Kevin De Bruyne

Probably Jose Mourinho’s biggest mistake- deeming Kevin de Bruyne not up to scratch and sending him first on loan to Werder Bremen and then selling him to Wolfsburg.

Arguably one of the best players in the world and enjoying working under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, it was in the Bundesliga that the Belgian maestro honed his talent and made the giant strides he wasn’t able to at Chelsea.

Wolfsburg signed him for €22 million back in 2014- and his departure pretty well corresponds with the Volkswagen team’s fall from Champions League play to relegation playoffs the past two seasons.

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Sub: Pepe Reina

The Spanish understudy to David De Gea may have only played three times for Bayern during his brief spell at the Allianz Arena, but we’re struggling for ex-Bundesliga keepers at this summer’s World Cup tournament.

Sub: Konstantin Rausch

Despite appearing for Germany at every level from U-16 to U-21 ‘Kocka’ Rausch will be at the World Cup playing for Russia thanks to his dual nationality. Born to German parents in Kozhevnikovo, he emigrated as a 6-year-old before playing for the likes of Hannover, VfB Stuttgart, Darmstadt and Köln.

Sub: Ivan Perišić

How Wolfsburg could use a player of Ivan Perišić’s quality nowadays. The Belgian Footballer of the Year for 2011 had two seasons at Borussia Dortmund before two more at Wolfsburg, with whom he won the DFB Pokal in 2015.

He now plies his trade at Inter having been signed for €16 million in 2015, and scored 11 goals, with 11 assists, in Serie A this past season.

Sub: Xherdan Shaqiri

It is a case of what might have been with Shaqiri. A member of Bayern’s historic 2013 treble-winning squad, his career stalled at the Allianz Arena as he failed to fulfil his full potential.

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Sub: Javier Hernández

Chicharito scored goals for fun at Bayer Leverkusen with 17 in his debut season and then 11 in his second. Destined for greatness when he started out at Manchester United, he never really established himself as a first-team regular until his time at the Bay Arena.  With both his father and his maternal grandfather having represented Mexico at past World Cups, Chicharito has the pedigree and skills that has seen him score 40 goals for El Tri aince his 2009 senior squad debut while playing his club football at Chivas Guadalajara.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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