Toni Kroos (Real Madrid, La Liga) The German international started for Los Blancos Saturday in their 1-2 win over Atletico Bilbao. Kroos completed 85% of his 68 pass attempts against Bilbao, with two key passes, three tackles, two accurate crosses, two accurate long balls and a clearance while picking up a yellow card. The 27 year-old has started 21 La Liga matches for the table toppers this season, contributing a goal and a league-leading 10 assists. Kroos can look forward to meeting his former team, Bayern Munich, in the Champions League as the two titans clash at the Allianz April 12. The midfielder appeared in over 200 matches for Bayern between 2007 and 2014 while featuring in almost 50 more during a loan stint to Bayer Leverkusen. The East German-born Kroos has 74 caps for Germany and has been called up for next week’s matches against England and Azerbaijan. Kroos’ younger brother, Felix, is currently helping Union Berlin in its quest to earn promotion to the Bundesliga.
Robert Huth (Leicester City, EPL) The German defender was a goal-scorer for Leicester City in the 2-3 win away to West Ham United Saturday. Huth, 32, is a native of East Berlin and has played in England ever since 2001, when he was signed from the Union Berlin youth system by Chelsea and has the most EPL appearances by a German player, featuring for the Blues, Middlesbrough and Stoke City before coming to Leicester City on loan in 2015 and then signing a permanent deal with the Foxes. The defender earned 19 caps with the German NT between 2004 and 2009. Also starting for Leicester City were former Bundesliga players Christian Fuchs (Bochum, Mainz, Schalke) and Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart, Mainz) while longtime Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zeiler was on the bench. Huth, Fuchs and Okazaki also started for the Foxes in huge midweek Champions League win over Sevilla that sees the team that has struggled so much this season into the Champions League quarterfinals, where they will face formidable Atletico Madrid in the first leg on April 12. For the Hammers, former Gladbach and Nurnberg midfielder Håvard Nordtveit was an unused sub.
Eduardo Vargas (Tigres UANL, Liga MX) Former Hoffenheim striker was a starter Saturday night for Tigres and their vaunted attack, but they were held to a scoreless draw by Cruz Azul. The 27 year-old Chilean international played in 24 matches for Hoffenheim before moving to Liga MX this winter, but only scored twice and has generally been unable to match his international scoring prowess (32 goals in 68 matches) not only in Germany but with Napoli and on loan with Gremio, Valencia and QPR. Vargas has one goal in four starts and two substitute appearances with Tigres, arguably the most talented side in the Americas. Former Stuttgart central defender Francisco (Maza) Rodriguez is still on the roster of Cruz Azul, but the 35 year-old hasn’t seen the pitch for La Maquina since November.
Bas Dost (Sporting Clube Portugal, Liga NOS) The tall Dutch striker scored two first half goals Saturday to give SCP all they needed for a 2-0 league win over Nacional, raising his goal total to 24 in 23 league matches since coming over from VfL Wolfsburg in late August. With a goal in the Pokal before he transferred, along with a Champions League netting and another goal in Portuguese Cup action the Dutch international with 12 caps has scored 27 times this season in four different competitions. Dost, 27, had a magical Ruckrunde a few years back with the Wolves to help them to a second place finish behind Bayern Munich and totalled 48 goals during his time in the Volkswagen City.
Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City, MLS) The former Hamburg man scored the opening goal in SKC’s 2-1 win Saturday over the San Jose Earthquakes. Feilhaber, now 32, played in 49 reserve matches and nine senior squad matches for the red-shorts after playing college ball at UCLA. Defender Florian Jungwirth, who was with SV Darmstadt 98 in the Hinrunde, scored his first MLS goal for the ‘Quakes in injury time.
Carlos Zambrano (FK Rubin Kazan, Russian Premier League) The Peruvian international was a starter Saturday as Kazan lost 0-1 away to Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast. The longtime Eintracht Frankfurt defender, known for his hard-nosed play, featured in over 100 matches for Die Adler between 2012 and his summer 2016 signing with the Russian side. Zambrano came to Germany in 2006, starting with the Schalke youth sides before featuring in 16 matches for the Royal Blues’ senior squad. Zambrano also played for FC St. Pauli before joining Eintracht Frankfurt, and has earned 35 caps for Peru since 2008. He has featured in 17 matches in all competitions for Rubin Kazan this season, while only earning three yellow cards.
Juan Arango (Zulia FC, Copa Libertadores) The veteran midfielder started for Venezuelan side Zulia Wednesday as they beat Uruguayan side Nacional 0-1 in Copa Libertadores group stage action. Arango last played for the NASL champion New York Cosmos and featured for Borussia Mönchengladbach for five seasons between 2009 and 2014, scoring 31 goals for the Foals in 171 matches in all competitions. Now 36, Arango has played club football in Spain, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela in addition to Germany. His Cosmos teammate, Yohandry Orozco, also started for Zulia. Orozco had a brief spell with VfL Wolfsburg.
Bruno Hernrique (Santos, Brazilian Paulista) The former Wolfsburg man started for Santos in their Copa Libertadores win midweek against Bolivia’s The Strongest. The native of Belo Horizonte could never get untracked in Germany, failing to score in 17 matches with the Wolves after being signed in January, 2016 from Goias. Henrique made his Santos debut the week before in South America’s premiere club competition the week before against Peru’s Sporting Cristal.
Latest posts by Gerry Wittmann (see all)
- Damn the Defiant: Darmstadt Live on for another Day - May 3, 2017
- TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Welcome to the Champions League, You’ve Earned It - April 17, 2017
- Bundesliga MatchDay 28: Who Dat? at Ingolstadt … and other thoughts - April 10, 2017