Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (West Ham United, EPL) It wasn’t a fairytale beginning for the former Bayer Leverkusen striker in his return to England against his former club, Manchester United. The Red Devils beat the Hammers 4-0, outshooting the visitors 22-9. Chicharito had two of those shots for Slaven Bilic’ side, as did former Werder Bremen striker Marko Arnautovic, but it was far from enough to worry Manchester United. Meanwhile, former BvB midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a much better time of it for the winning side in the EPL season opener, providing two assists and passing at a 90% success rate.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax Amsterdam, Dutch Eredivisie) The former Schalke star was a 75th minute substitute for Ajax Saturday, and although he attempted two shots, one on target, it wasn’t enough to prevent Ajax losing 2-1 to Heracles Almelo. The Dutch international, now 34, scored 126 goals in his seven years in Gelsenkirchen, including 31 goals in 49 European matches. Huntelaar began his pro career with PSV, and has played for Real Madrid and AC Milan. He won two KNVB Cups during his first stint with Ajax a decade ago, and won the Pokal and DFL SuperCup with Schalke. One of Ajax starters was Amin Younes, who had three shots and five key passes for the Amsterdam club. Younes, who played for Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1.FC Kaiserslautern, starred in Germany’s Confederations Cup triumph this summer, scoring two goals.
Lukas Podolski (Vissel Kobe, J League) Prinz Poldi was unable to duplicate his sparkling J-League debut when he scored twice for Vissel Kobe, as the club lost 1-0 to FC Tokyo Sunday. But the World Champion, who has 49 international goals, brings star power to the J-League as it is being challenged as top Asian domestic league by the Chinese Super League and their big foreign signings. Podolski has won the a Bundesliga title, the Pokal, a Bundesliga 2 title, an FA Cup and trophies with Galatasaray in Turkey and hopes to bring glory to Vissel Kobe. The club finished 7th in the J-League last season, its best campaign to date, and also made it to the quarterfinals of the J-League Cup. Podolski, 32, has played for 1.FC Koln, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Inter Milan in addition to Galatasaray and began his career with ten goals in 19 Bundelsiga matches for the Billy Goats in his first Bundesliga campaign back during the 2003/2004 campaign.
Ciro Immobile (SS Lazio, Super Cup) The former BvB striker scored twice in a winning effort against Juventus in the Italian SuperCup match Sunday, a week before the Serie A season kicks off. Immobile is ready for the season to start — he scored a brace a few weeks back in a friendly against Bayer Leverkusen. For defending Serie A champions Juventus, former Bundesliga stars Mario Manduzkic (Bayern, Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Stuttgart) and newcomer Douglas Costa of Bayern found beating Lazio a bridge too far.
Serdar Tasci (Spartak Moscow, Russian Premier League) Tasci was on the wrong end of the scoreline Saturday as Spartak lost 2-1 to CSKA Moscow, leaving Spartak 11th in the table after six league matches this season. Now 30, the defender came up in the VfB Stuttgart youth system and played in over 180 league matches for the Swabians between 2006 and 2013, when he joined Spartak. The former German international spent half a season on loan with Bayern during 2016 when the Bavarians suffered a series of injuries to their backliners, but Tasci only appeared three times for Bayern before returning to Moscow.
Jimmy Briand (EA Guingamp, Ligue 1) Briand was a starter for the French club in their 0-3 loss to Neymar and PSG. The 32 year-old spent a year at Hannover, where he scored three Bundesliga goals in 30 matches. The Frenchman came to Hannover from Lyon after beginning his career with Stade Rennes, and has scored 86 professional goals in France and Germany.
Russell Canouse (DC United, MLS) Just signed by DC United from Hoffenheim, Canouse made the bench but did not play in Sunday’s loss to Real Salt Lake. The 22 year-old joined Hoffenheim in 2013. but made all of his appearances with the club’s reserve side. Last year Canouse spent the season on loan to VfL Bochum. While Canouse is excited about joining DCU, a club whose games he attended as a youngster, he credits his year in Bundelsiga 2 as very beneficial to his career. The native of Lancaster, PA stated “I don’t know how many people around the world understand, but it (Bundesliga 2) is a good league. There’s a lot of clubs with a lot of tradition. The pressure in those games are high. Everyone wants to get back up to the Bundesliga, where they used to be. Everyone has those aspirations, and it’s not easy. It was a good experience there, I learned a lot from Bochum.”
Joelinton (Rapid Vienna, Austrian Bundesliga) The young Brazilian notched Rapid’s only goal Sunday as they lost to Admira Wacker 3-1. It was the first of the season, in three matches, for the 20 year-old Hoffenheim loanee as he tries to find his footing in European football after very little senior squad experience in Brazil when he signed with Hoffenheim two summers back for a 2.2M euro transfer fee.
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