Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona, La Liga) The former Dortmund man was among the goals Sunday as Barcelona decimated poor Huesca 8-2. According to Marca, “the Frenchman scored another goal and was impressive, while he’ll look to be a little more patient in some situations.” Dembélé was short of patience only a year after signing with BVB in the summer of 2016 — after a season in which he impressed the world with his speed and attacking flair over 49 matches in all competitions, the youngster was adamant about wanting away despite just being a year into his five-year contract. After enough acrimony and drama to fill a novella, Dembélé signed with Barca in August, 2o17. Also getting into the fun Sunday was former Schalke midfielder Ivan Rakitić, who notched a goal after starring for Croatia in their fine run to the World Cup finals. Former Borussia Monchengladbach man Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the starter in goal. Recently signed Chilean star Arturo Vidal, who played so well at Bayern Munich, Juventus and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, came on as a sub for Rakitić.
Pierre-Emil Højbjerg (Southampton, EPL) The 23 year-old Danish international scored Saturday for Southampton as they downed Crystal Palace 0-2. Højbjerg was able to slide down the left and fire into the net in stoppage time to seal the deal for the Saints. The native of Copenhagen came up with IF Brondby and joined Bayern Munich in July, 2012, playing in over 40 matches for the reserves along with a total of 56 Bundesliga’s first team and while on loans to Schalke and FC Augsburg. He signed a five year-deal with Southampton in July, 2016 and has represented Denmark on 21 occasions. Also starting for Southampton was former Gladbach defender Jannik Vestergaard, also a product of the Brondby youth system. The tall Dane has featured in over 210 matches in Germany, beginning his professional career with Hoffenheim and playing two seasons with Werder Bremen before heading to Borussia Park. Former Stuttgart man Oriol Romeu was a sub for the Saints, while ex-Schalke midfielder Max Meyer also subbed on for Crystal Palace.
Astuto Uchido (Kashima Antler, J League) The longtime Schalke fullback was a starter and played the entire 90 Tuesday in the first leg of the AFC Championship quarterfinals, beating Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian 2-0. Now 30 years old, the right back joined Schalke in 2010 from Kashima and spent seven seasons with the club, making 153 appearances. Unfortunately, his final two seasons were marred by injury and he was unable to compete. He was signed by Union Berlin for last season but played sparingly. The Antlers’ opponents Thursday were the club from which Axel Witsel player for before transferring to Borussia Dortmund weeks ago.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax, Dutch Eredivisie) The Hunter led the line for Ajax Tuesday in their 2nd leg Champions League matchup in Kiev. The match ended up scoreless, sending Ajax through on aggregate 3-1. The former Schalke man Huntelaar spent the main part of his career with Schalke, where he featured in 240 matches and scored 126 goals between 2010 and 2017. The prolific forward began his career with PSV in 2002, and also played for De Graafshap, AGOVW, Heerenveen, Real Madrid and AC Milan before his second stint with Ajax began last season. Prior to Tuesday’s match, Huntelaar, 36, had two goals in three Eredivisie matches to start the 2018/2019.
Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake, MLS) The longtime FC Union Berlin man scored three times Saturday night in RSL’s 6-2 romp over the LA Galaxy. Born in the former Yugoslavia, Kreilach began his career with Croatian side Rijeka, where he played for six seasons before joining Union Berlin ahead of the 2013/2014 campaign. The 29 year-old featured in 149 Bundesliga 2 matches for Union, scoring 33 times. Signing with RSL back in February after playing the Hinrunde in Berlin, the midfielder has scored 10 goals (seven in the last six weeks) over 28 appearances in MLS while providing three assists.
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Sassuolo, Serie A) After featuring in the last edition for scoring a last-minute goal, the veteran this Sunday scored the 34th minute equalizer for Sassuolo to knot things with Genoa at 1-1 before Boateng’s side went on to win 5-3. Boateng totalled three shots, two key passes, won five aerials while helping defensively with a tackle, interception, two clearances and a blocked shot for a Sassuolo side that goes into the international break undefeated and second only to Juve in the Serie A standings. Koray Günter, who came up in the Borussia Dortmund youth system, was an unused substitute for Genoa.
Benedikt Röcker (Brøndby IF, Danish SuperLiga) The 28 year-old defender was a starter for Brøndby Sunday in their 2-2 draw with FC Midtjylland. The 28 year-old German began his career with SG Sonnenhof Großaspach, and made his first team debut with Stuttgart in December, 2012 and played 75 matches with Greuther Fürth before joining Brondby in 2016, where he’s been a regular in the starting XI. That starting XI has a distinct Bundesliga feel, with GK Marvin Schwäbe (Eintracht reserves, Hoffenheim reserves, VfL Osnabrück, Dynamo Dresden) and back Anthony Jung (Eintracht reserves, FSV Frankfurt, RB Leipzig, FC Ingolstadt), Dominik Kaiser (Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig) joining Röcker to kickoff the match while Besar Halimi (Nürnberg reserves, Stuttgart reserves, Stuttgarter Kickers, Mainz, FSV Frankfurt) and Hoffenheim loanee Uffe Bech came off the bench.
Santiago Garcia (Toluca, Liga MX) Defender Garcia came on as a substitute in the 34th minute, replacing the injured Fernando Tobio in Toluca’s 2-1 win over Santos Laguna Sunday. Garcia, 30, played four seasons for Werder Bremen between 2013 and 2017, appearing in 99 matches after coming to the Bundesliga before signing with the Mexican side in June, 2017. Born in Rosario, Argentina, Garcia began his career with Rosario Central, and has also played for Palermo and Novara in Italy.
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