Marko Marin – Finally finding a home

Footballing careers can take on many strange twist and turns. Marko Marin’s path is a prime example of that. At the age of 16 Marin joined Borussia Mönchengladbach and quickly became one of the hottest commodities within German football after joining the senior side in 2007. Werder Bremen decided to splash out €8.2 million to secure the winger’s services back in 2009.

The youngster quickly established himself as one of Germany’s best attacking players after joining Werder. Alongside Aaron Hunt and Mesut Özil he became known as part of the Green and White’s trio of magic dwarfs. A call up to the national team for the 2010 World Cup was Marin’s reward for his brilliant performances in the Werder jersey.

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However, after Özil left the team in 2010 both Marin and Werder started to struggle. Two meagre seasons followed, and in the end Marin decided to leave the sinking Werder ship. The man who was labelled as “The German Messi” had to make a wise choice to bring his career back on track, but as it turned out his career wouldn’t  take him to the same heights as the Argentinian superstar.

Loan soldier

In 2012 he joined Chelsea on an €8 million transfer. Marin never found his feet again, resulting in one ill fated loan spell after another. During his time as a Chelsea player the winger was loaned out to four clubs between 2012 and 2016 (Sevilla, Fiorentina, RSC Anderlecht and Trabzonspor).

Even though he was on The Blues books for four years, Marin only managed to get sixteen apperances in the Premier League. His loan spell in Italy ended with no matches at all. He was quickly moved on to RSC Anderlecht, where he fell out of favor after getting injured. That season, the 2014/15 campaign, is one of Marin’s worst memories. He told t-online.de:

“I wasn’t happy during the year where I was first loaned to Fiorentina before being moved on to RSC Anderlecht. Especially Anderlecht: I arrived at a club with a lot of tradition, played a few matches, got injured and then I’m left out.”

Re-inventing himself

However, things turned around in Marin’s last loan spell. During his time at Trabzonspor the winger avoided injuries. These days the 30-year-old looks fondly back on the days he spent in Turkey:

“I’m convinced today that the transfer to Trabzon got me back on track. I wasn’t injured, I played a lot. Before then things went downhill, but that year turned things around. The club and its surroundings were a spot of good luck for me.”

After 29 matches (2 goals and 5 assists) for the Turkish side, Chelsea decided to sell the winger to Olympiacos. During his time in Greece Marin managed to play a lot of first team football, performing well over the two years he stayed at the club (59 matches, 12 goals and 10 assists).

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Finding a new home in Belgrade

Despite his great performances Marin decided to move on in 2018. Red Star Belgrade came knocking on the attacker’s door, allowing him to complete a homecoming of sorts. Even though Marin has played 16 times for the German national team, he was born in Serbia.

Things have gone smoothly for Marin after joining the club he supported as a little boy. The 30-year-old is now the captain of the side and is the most highly valued player going after his move to Serbia according to transfermarkt.de.

These days Marin is a key player for his club and his contract was extended until the end of the 2020/21 season in March.

Great European nights ahead

Red Star Belgrade have once again qualified for the Champions League, after eliminating such teams as Young Boys Bern and FC Copenhagen during the qualifying rounds. Team captain Marin told t-online.de that few things come close to competing in the Champions League for the young side he is currently marshalling:

“Most players are coming from our youth ranks, there’s nothing bigger for them. I’m also saying: What our generation is currently going through hasn’t been around for some time. Champions League football, matches against great opponents in front of a sell out crowd.”

Last season Red Star managed to pull off a surprise 2-0 win against Liverpool in front of their home crowd at the Rajko Mitić Stadium, also known as the Marakana. The stadium itself can put the fear of death into opponents according to Marin:

“It takes about ten minutes to get from the dressing room to the pitch. The tunnel simply gets longer and longer, and outside you can hear the fans screaming. Liverpool arrived here thinking: We come from the Anfield Road, is there anything here that should impress us? But, when they walked through that tunnel you could see that they were impressed. When we took the lead and then increased it to 2-0 there was no holding back. I don’t think that there’s anything like that anywhere else in Europe.”

Marin contributed two assists for Milan Pavkov’s two goals during that match. In the end the win against Liverpool wasn’t enough, as Red Star went out of the competition bottom of their group.

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However, this time around Red Star have a more favorable draw as their group includes Bayern, Tottenham and Marin’s former side Olympiacos. The German record champions in particular are remebered with fondness by the fans according to Marin:

“Red Star won the Championse League back in 1991. But, there is more talk about the semi finals against Bayern than about the final. There was a 2-1 win in Munich with a briliant Dejan Savicevic, but Bayern turned things around in the second leg, even hitting the post. But, Klaus Augenthaler scores an own goal to make it 2-2 during the added on time shortly before the final whistle. The final was also somehow won after a penalty shoot out, but really, there’s only ever talk about that semi final against Bayern. But, the Bundesliga is also often times discussed, because it is broadly followed and many games are shown live on television.”

Plans for the future

Given that Marin once again has blossomed, some fans might wonder if he is looking for a return to Germany. That is not the case, unless a very special club comes knocking on the door according to the winger:

“It’s not really a goal. I’m stating this openly: Right now there’s no place else I’d rather be. I want to return to Germany after my career and live in Frankfurt. But, I’ve always stated that I’ve had two dream clubs as a child: Red Star Belgrade and Eintracht Frankfurt. If a move back to the Bundesliga is on the cards, my preferred option would be Eintracht.”

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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