Filip Daems (KVC Westerlo, Belgian Jupiler League) Longtime Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Daems was on the wrong end of a 5-0 beatdown Friday administered by Club Brugge. The 37 year-old came to Westerlo after playing for the Foals from 2005-2015, making 210 league appearances and scoring 10 goals — he was a featured penalty-taker for Gladbach during some of his tenure with the club. Daems, 37, began his professional career in his native Belgium with Lierse in 1999 before heading to Turkey in 2001 for Ankara side Gençlerbirliği SK, where he featured before joining Gladbach. He also earned seven caps for Belgium. Former 1. FC Nürnberg man Timmy Simons was an unused substitute for Club Brugge, but has featured in over 100 matches in his second stint with the Belgian side after leaving Der Club in 2013. Besides being the second-most capped player in Belgian national team history, the 39 year-old won three domestic titles with PSV along with two domestic championships and three Belgian Cups with Club Brugge.
Jakub “Kuba” Błaszczykowski (Fiorentina, Serie A) The 30 year-old Dortmund winger, currently on loan, registered an assist Thursday in Fiorentina’s 1-1 Europa League draw with Tottenham. Kuba played in over 250 matches in all competitions for BvB after coming over from Wisla Krakow in 2007, and is still very popular with Dortmund fans. Injuries hampered Kuba over the last few seasons, and his year-long loan in Italy could turn into a permanent move if Fiorentina utilize their ‘option to buy’ clause. The Polish international has two goals and an assist in 11 Serie A appearances this season, and has scored 15 goals in 75 appearances for his country.
Edin Džeko (AS Roma, Serie A) The former Wolfsburg sniper had two goals and two assists Sunday as he fired off five shots in Roma’s 5-0 Olimpico Stadium win over Palermo, but is instead getting more notoriety for the sitter he missed from two yards out, as it is being hailed as the miss of the year. Džeko came to Roma last summer on loan from Manchester City, but the Bosnian international’s deal in Italy was made permanent in October. He played for Wolfsburg from 2007 until transferring to City during the 2010/2011 winter transfer window. During that time, Dzeko scored an incredible 85 goals in 142 matches for the Wolves in all competitions. The 29 year-old scored 50 league goals for City and 45 international goals for Bosnia and Herzegovina, helping his country to their first World Cup appearance in 2014.
Baba Rahman (Chelsea, EPL) The former FC Augsburg left-back was in the starting XI for Chelsea in their 5-1 win over Manchester City in FA Cup action Sunday. The 21 year-old Ghanian began his career in his homeland with Asante Kotoko before joining Greuther Fürth in June, 2012. After two seasons with the Cloverleaves Rahman played for FCA last season, leading the Bundesliga in tackles as he was a major contributor to FCA’s best-ever Bundesliga season. He signed a five-year deal with Chelsea this summer, and also has been capped 13 times for Ghana. Long-time Bayern defender Martin Demechelis was a starter for Citeh, who are still without the injured former Werder/Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
Tim Matavž (Genoa, Serie A) FC Augsburg loanee Matavž was in the starting lineup and launched two shots Sunday in Genoa’s 2-0 win over Udinese. The 27 year-old Slovenian joined FCA in the summer of 2014 from PSV, where he’d scored 24 goals in 70 matches. He found the Bundesliga more difficult, only scoring three times in 27 league matches before being loaned out this winter. He has netted 10 times for Slovenia, though, in 31 international matches. Former Hamburg man Tomas Rincon was also in the starting XI for Genoa.
Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax, Eredivisie) The former Bayer Leverkusen youngster, still just 22 years old, scored twice for Ajax Sunday as they downed Excelsior 3-0 in Eredivisie play. The Polish international opened the scoring in the 41st minute, and added his second goal ten minutes after intermission. The native of Tichy, Poland only appeared in a handful of matches for Die Werkself, and also played in 18 matches, scoring twice, while on loan to FC Augsburg during the 2013/2014 campaign. Milik was loaned out to Ajax for the 2014/2015 season, and was inked to a permanent deal by Ajax last summer.
Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray, Turkish Super Lig) Prinz Poldi scored again this week, hitting the equalizer for Galatasaray as they went on to win 2-1 Sunday over Trabzonspor and former Gladbach/Werder Bremen man Marko Marin, who is on loan in Turkey from Chelsea. The victory sees Galatasaray in the third league berth in Turkey, but well behind fellow Istanbul sides Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. The continued success of Podolski in Turkey certainly helps increase his chances to represent Germany in this summer’s Euros. The veteran has earned an incredible 126 caps for Germany since 2004.
Marcus Berg (Panathinaikos, Greek Super League) The former HSV striker scored in the 10th minute Sunday for the Greek club in their 2-2 draw with PAOK Salonika. The Swede played for Hamburg from 2009-2014, appearing in more than 50 league fixtures but only scoring five times for the red-shorts, and is in his 3rd season with Panathinaikos. Berg, 29. scored twice in Euro qualifying for Sweden last year.
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