While the start of the 2016/2017 Bundesliga season is a month away, there are former Bundesliga players all over the world earning their paychecks right now in league play. Here are some from this weekend.
Anthony Ujah (Liaoning Whowin, Chinese Super League) Former Werder Bremen striker Anthony Ujah scored Saturday in Liaoning Whowin’s 3-1 victory over Shanghai SIPG Saturday. Ujah scored the insurance tally with a left-footed shot to the upper corner of the far post. It was Ujah’s second goal, along with two assists, in four appearances in China since leaving Werder Bremen a few weeks ago. The Nigerian, 25, began his European career in 2010 with Lillestrom, where he scored 27 times in 36 league matches. He was signed by Mainz for the 2011/2012 season, and was loaned to 1.FC Koln, where he had his greatest Bundesliga success, scoring 36 goals in 103 competitions in both Germany’s first and second divisions. His one year at Werder Bremen saw him net 14 times in 35 matches before he surprisingly left for China. Ujah has also earned seven caps for Nigeria.
Teemu Pukki (Brondby, Danish SAS) The 26 year-old was in the starting XI for Brondby in their 2-0 win Sunday over Silkeborg IF. Pukki played two seasons for Schalke after impressing them by scoring three goals for HJK Helsinki in two Europa League qualifiers against the Royal Blues, who signed the Finn quickly to begin the 2011/2012 Bundesliga season. Pukki played in 46 matches for the Gelsenkirchen club, scoring eight goals. He featured for Celtic before joining Brondby, where he is in his third season. Also a starter on the winning side was central defender Benedikt Röcker, who came up with VfB Stuttgart. He had difficulty breaking into the Stuttgart lineup, but found stability when he transferred to SpVgg Greuther Fürth, where he featured in 75 matches. This is the 26 year-old’s first season in Danish football.
Luis Robles (NY Red Bulls, MLS) Robles was in his usual spot between the posts for the Red Bulls Sunday as they defeated New York City FC 4-1 in a derby matchup. Robles has been a fixture in goal for the Red Bulls since 2012, when he joined the club from Karlsruher SC. The Arizona native signed with 1.FC Kaiserslautern in 2007 despite being drafted by DC United after his career at the University of Portland and worked his way up to FCK’s first squad before transferring to Karlsruher, playing a total of 49 senior squad club matches in Germany. He’s been in 128 matches since joining the Red Bulls. Also starting for NYRB was Sal Zizzo, who was with Hannover from 2007/2010, playing most for the 96er reserves but making the pitch for the senior side eight times.
Arthur Boka (FC Sion, Swiss Super League) The former Stuttgart man was on the wrong end of the scoresheet Sunday as FC Sion was defeated 3-0 by league power FC Basel. Now 33, Boka was with VfB from 2006 through 2014, featuring in over 200 matches in all competitions after coming over from Strasbourg. Generally featuring at left back, Boka also played some matches as a defensive midfielder for the Swabians. After leaving Stuttgart, Boka played for Malaga in Spain and joined FC Sion this season. The defender also has over 80 caps for the Ivory Coast.
Robert Almer (Austria Wien, Austrian Bundesliga) Almer, 32 was the goalkeeper in Austria Wien’s Sunday 2-1 Bundesliga win over St. Pölten. The Austrian keeper played for Fortuna Dusseldorf and Energie Cottbus, earning him a contract with Hannover in the first division for the 2014/2015 season, but he saw no Bundesliga action as a backup to Ron-Robert Zieler. The 6’4″ Almer is in his second stint with iconic Austria Wien…he played for the club previously between 2008 and 2011.
Bryan Arguez (Ft Lauderdale Strikers, NASL) Arguez was a starter for the Strikers Saturday in their 3-1 loss against Minnesota United. Now 27, the Miami-born defensive midfielder was drafted by DC United out of IMG Academy but instead signed with Hertha Berlin in early 2008. Arguez played in 10 matches for BSC’s reserve side, and had one Bundesliga appearance in a match against Eintracht Frankfurt. Arguez made a combined 42 appearances for the US U17 and U20 squads between 2005 and 2009, but since has bounced between clubs in the lower divisions of American soccer. His story is quite similar to that of Strikers’ teammate Gale Agbossoumonde, who also started Saturday. The 26 year-old had a very brief stint with Eintracht Frankfurt reserves in 2011 and actually has one senior USMNT cap, but the tall defender has bounced around quite a bit, as both he and Arguez were managed by Traffic Sports. Hopefully the two have found a home in the NASL with the Strikers, who made it to the US Open Cup quarterfinals before losing in Chicago to the MLS Fire last week.
Denni Avdić (AIK, Swedish Allsvenskanliga) The 6’4″ Swedish striker was in the starting XI for AIK Sunday in their 3-0 win over Hammarby. After beginning his career with IF Elfsborg, Avdić signed with Werder Bremen in January, 2011, but was never able to get untracked with the green-whites, playing in only 11 matches for the club’s senior side and scoring but one goal, that in European competition. Avdić was loaned to PEC Zwolle the next season before signing a permanent deal with AZ Alkmaar.for the 2013/2014 season. The striker has three goals in 13 matches in all competitions for AIK in 2016.
Olivier Occéan (Odd BK, Norwegian Tippeligaen) The 34 year-old native of Quebec scored a goal in Odd’s 2-2 draw with Viking FK Sunday. Occéan is in his second stint with the Norwegian club, where he started professionally in 2004. He joined Kickers Offenbach in 2010, scoring 16 goals in 30 3.Liga matches, earning himself a contract with SpVgg Greuther Fürth in the second division for the next season, scoring 17 times in 33 matches. That performance moved him another step up, to the Bundesilga with Eintracht Frankfurt, but the Canadian international could only launch one goal in 18 appearances in first-division play. Occéan also played on loan with 1.FC Kaiserslautern before returning to Odd. He represented Canada on 28 occasions, and had a lengthy spell at Lillestrom before playing in Germany.
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