Sandro Wagner (Tianjin Teda, Chinese Super League) The German striker scored the first goal for the Tigers ofTianjin Saturday in route to a 2-0 win over Henan Jianye. The 31 year-old native of Munich began his career in the youth system of Bayern Munich and made his professional debut with the club before embarking on a journey that took him to MSV Duisburg, Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin, Darmstadt 98 and TSG Hoffenheim before returning to Munich for the 2018/2019 season. The uptick in his productivity at Darmstadt and Hoffenheim earned him eight appearances for the German national team. Wagner joined the Chinese club in January and Saturday’s goal was his fourth in 17 Super League matches, but the tall striker also was ejected late in the match for a 2nd yellow card, taking some of the luster off of the win. Also on the roster is Bochum native Felix Bastians, also 31, who began his professional career with Nottingham Forest and has played for SC Freiburg, Hertha Berlin and VfL Bochum. Bastians also appeared in 19 German national youth sides before 2010.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire, MLS) The longtime Bayern Munich and German national team star was a starter for the Fire in their 0-1 win against the Houston Dynamo Saturday. It was the 22nd start of the season for the 35 year-old, who won a World Cup, the Champions League title, eight Bundesliga championships, seven Pokal Cups and the FA Cup with Manchester United. On Saturday, Schweinsteiger had two shots, three clearances, blocked two shots and passed at a 78% success rate. Earning the clean sheet in goal for the Fire was Virginia-born German-American Kenneth Kronholm, 33, who played for the VfL Wolfsburg youth and with twelve different German clubs, including most recently Holstein Kiel, where he appeared in 135 matches before joining Chicago recently. German Fabian Herbers, who played in the Preussen Munster youth system before playing college soccer at Creighton University, did not play for the Fire Saturday but former Hannover man DaMarcus Beasley was in the starting XI for the Dynamo.
Thilo Kehrer (PSG, Ligue 1) The former Schalke man was a starter for PSG in the French Super Cup match Saturday with Stade Rennes, despite rumors that he will be returning to the Bundesliga soon. Also starting for PSG in their win was former Bayern Munich man Juan Bernat and ex-Dortmund and Mainz defender Abdou Diallo, while GK Kevin Trapp, also rumored to return to the Bundesliga after playing last season on loan for Eintracht Frankfurt, was on the bench, while Julian Draxler, formerly of Schalke, did not play for German coach Thomas Tuchel’s French champions. PSG begin their Ligue 1 campaign at home next Sunday at Nimes.
Benedikt Höwedes (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russian Premier League) Höwedes was a starter on the Lokomotiv backline Saturday in their road win over Krylia Sovetov. The longtime Schalke defender and captain joined the Russian club in July, 2018 after being deemed as surplus by then Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco. Höwedes played in 355 matches in all competitions for Schalke between 2007 and 2017, winning a Pokal championship for the Royal Blues. His former Schalke teammate, Jefferson Farfan, is on the Lokomotiv roster but has yet to appear in any of the club’s first three league matches.
Valentin Stocker (FC Basel. Swiss Super League) Former Hertha Berlin midfielder Stocker scored the game-winner Saturday in Basel’s 2-3 win over FC Thun. The native of Lucerne played four seasons for the Old Lady between 2014 and 2018, scoring eight league goals in 65 Bundesliga matches before rejoining Basel. Also scoring for the 20 time Swiss champions was former Mainz man Fabian Frei. The Swiss international (14 caps) played two and a half seasons in Germany, featuring in 62 matches for Mainz in all competitions and scoring 3 goals. Frei is also the 8th leading scorer in Basel history, scoring 74 Super League goals.
Sami Allagui (Mouscron, Belgian First Division) Longtime Bundesliga midfielder Allagui was a starter for Royal Excel Mouscron Sunday in their home fixture against RSC Anderlecht. The Tunisian international (27 caps), now 33 years old, joined the Belgian side on July 1 on a free transfer 2after two years with FC St. Pauli. The native of Dusseldorf began his pro career with Anderlecht before joining FC Carl Zeiss Jena in 2007. Allqagui also played for SpVgg Greuther Furth, 1.FSV Mainz 05 and Hertha Berlin prior to joing St Pauli in July, 2017. His most memorable season came during the 2010/2011 campaign with Mainz, where he scored 1o league goals for the exciting ‘boys band’ club directed by Thomas Tuchel.
Zlatko Junuzović (RB Salzburg, Austrian Bundesliga) It wasn’t a great Sunday for the former Werder Bremen free kick expert, as he had to exit the match 75 minutes in wiht a red card, but on the other hand Salzburg notched a 4-1 win over SV Mattersburg in week 2 of the Bundesliga season, putting them atop the league with six points (tied with LASK Linz and Sturm Graz). Junuzović, however, did have many productive matchdays during his seven seasons with Bremen, as he featured in nearly 200 matches for the green-whites in all competitions, scored 22 goals, but mainly contributed as a provider of deadly chances. Born in Yugoslavia, Junuzović had established himself with Austria Wien before heading to Germany and has earned 55 caps for Austria. Also featuring in the starting XI for Salzburg Sunday was Brazilian Andre Ramalho, who featured in 40 Bundesliga matches for Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Mainz between 2013 and 2017.
Riechedly Bazoer (Vitesse Arnhem, Eredivisie) The striker, who was a ballyhooed signing for VfL Wolfsburg a few years back, scored Saturday in his club’s 2-2 home draw with Ajax. Signed in the winter transfer window from Ajax for a reported 12 million euros, the Dutchman made his Wolves’ debut in February, 2017 against TSG Hoffenheim, but was never able to get untracked in Germany, playing in 25 matches for Wolfsburg without scoring a goal and was subsequently loaned out twice before signing with Vitesse less than a month ago. Still only 22 years-old, scoring against Ajax may help the youngster get his confidence back and get his career going again. Schalke icon Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was an unused sub for the Amsterdam side on the Eredivisie’s opening weekend of 2019/2020.
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