Marko Marin (Olympiacos, Greek Super League) Marin, 28, scored the game-winner for Olympiacos last Tuesday in their 1-0 Champions League play-in leg over Croatian side HNK Rijeka. The well-travelled attacker began his career in Eintracht Frankfurt’s youth system, playing there for almost a decade before joining Borussia Monchengladbach’s youth setup, eventually making his Foals’ senior squad debut in March, 2007 against Die Adler. Marin played in 72 matches for Gladbach before joining Werder Bremen for three seasons in the summer of 2009, featuring in 116 matches before being signed by Chelsea. He spent one season, a rather unproductive one, at Stamford Bridge before successive loans to Sevilla, Fiorentina, Anderlecht and Trabzonspor. He signed with Olympiacos in the summer of 2016. Coming in as a sub for the Greek side Tuesday was former Kaiserslautern attacker Kostas Fortounis. Featuring for Rijeka was former Swiss international Mario Gavranović, who played in ten matches for Schalke and five on loan with Mainz between 2010 and 2012.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool FC, EPL) The former Hoffenheim man scored LFC’s first goal in their 4-0 beatdown of Arsenal. Jurgen Klopp, former Borussia Dortmund title-winning coach, started three additional former Bundesliga players versus the Gunners — former Mainzman Loris Karius in goal, Joel Matip of Schalke on the backline and Emre Can, who played for Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, in the midfield. Arsenal had German international Mesut Ozil and former Gladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka in their starting lineup, with German international Shrokdan Mustafi and ex-Schalke fullback Sead Kolasinac in the squad but unused during the match. Thus an easy explanation for LFC’s win — four former Bundesliga players on the field, to only two for Arsenal. Ah, match analysis is so easy.
Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russian Premier League) The longtime Schalke winger scored the first goal in Lokomotiv’s 2-1 win Saturday over FC Ural Yekaterinburg. His 29th minute goal was his 3rd in his first season in Russia after last playing for Al-Jazira in the UAE. Now 32, the native of Lima, Peru began his pro career with Allianz Lima before joining PSV in 2004, where he scored 57 league goals in four seasons. From there he went to Gelsenkirchen, where he played in over 225 matches in all competitions over seven full seasons, scoring 53 times. Farfan won three league titles with Allianza, four with PSV, a Pokal championship with Schalke and the Russian Cup since joining Lokomotiv.
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid, La Liga) The German international started in Real Madrid’s midfield Sunday as they played to a 2-2 draw against Valencia. Beginning his fourth season in Madrid, Kroos had 96 touches, passed at a 93% success rate, had 2 key passes, two tackles and an interception against Valencia in 83 minutes before being subbed out for former Wolfsburg loanee Borja Mayoral. The 27 year-old Kroos played in 205 matches for Bayern Munich and another 48 on loan to Bayer Leverkusen before joining La Madristas. He has won many trophies, including three Champions League titles, three Bundesliga titles, three Pokal championships, one La Liga title, three FIFA Club World Cups and, of course, the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Not too shabby, Toni !!!
Lukas Podolski (Vissel Kobe, J League) Germany’s man in Japan, Prinz Poldi, scored Saturday but it wasn’t enough to keep Vissel Kobe from dropping their match at Jubilo Iwata 2-1. The 32 year-old’s goal this weekend was his 3rd in six J-League matches, but the Polish-born German international scores anywhere — 49 goals for Germany, 86 for his hometown club 1. FC Koln, 26 for Bayern Munich, 31 for Arsenal, 1 for Inter Milan on a short loan spell and 34 for Galatasaray over two seasons in Turkey.
Fallou Diagne (FC Metz, Ligue 1) The Werder Bremen loanee, now 28, started on the backline for Metz in their Saturday match with Caen. The defender from Senegal began his career with the Maroons a decade ago, and played well for SC Freiburg between 2012-2014. He went to Stade Rennes after his seasons in the Black Forest before being signed by Werder Bremen in the summer of 2016, but never gained any traction with the club and barely played before his loan to the Ligue 1 side. Diagne has earned one cap for Senegal and has been a regular for Metz so far this season.
Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor, Turkish Super Lig) The longtime Hamburg defender was a starter for Antalyaspor in their 1-1 road draw Saturday against Yeni Malatyaspor after Samir Nasri had given the visitors a 0-1 lead. Djourou joined the Turkish side this summer after being with Hamburg since 2014 and featuring in 94 Bundesliga matches and also had a 2013 loan spell at Hannover, where he featured 14 times while under an Arsenal contract. Born in the Ivory Coast, the 30 year-old backliner has made 65 appearances for Switzerland since 2006.
Felix Wiedwald (Leeds United, English Championship) The former Werder Bremen keeper kept a clean sheet as Saturday as Leeds United downed Nottingham Forest 0-2. Wiedwald has started all five league matches thus far for the English side, allowing only two goals and earning four sheets as Leeds are third in the Championship table. The 27 year-old came up in the Bremen’s youth system, playing in 39 reserve matches, but played for MSV Duisburg and Eintracht Frankfurt before returning to Werder Bremen in the summer of 2015 and played in 64 matches for the north German side over two seasons before leaving for England.
Tim Matavž (Vitesse Arnhem, Dutch Eredivisie) The former FC Augsburg striker scored Saturday for Vitesse, but it wasn’t enough to get a win against AZ Alkmaar, who prevailed 1-2. Born in the former Yugoslavia, Matavž played for Slovenian side Gorica before signing with Dutch side Groningen at the age of 18. A three-year stint at PSV, where he scored 44 goals in all competitions, earned him a Bundesliga contract with FCA in the summer of 2014. The Slovenian international could not quite get untracked in Germany, however, and played in only 27 Bundelsiga matches in his two seasons at FCA, while going on loan with Genoa of Serie A and Kaiserslautern of Germany’s second division. Matavž, though, has found his groove since returning to the Eredivise this summer — he’s scored three goals in the first three matches of the new season for Vitesse.
Kevin Kerr (Pittsburgh Riverhounds, USL) The veteran midfielder scored the game winner for the Riverhounds Saturday night in the 75th minute, four minutes after Bethlehem Steel had equalized. Born in Münster, the son of a Scottish father and English mother, Kerr grew up playing fussball in Germany, eventually making Arminia Bielefeld’s senior squad in 2009, featuring in 15 matches over two seasons. He also played for Dutch side AGOVV and back in Germany with SC Wiedenbrück before joining the Riverhounds in 2015. In a fascinating 2015 Bundesliga Fanatic interview with Kerr, the midfielder talked about the joy of coming up in the youth system and playing for the first squad at Bielefeld, where his family had moved when he was 11 and was a season ticket holder.
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