Friday night sees the German Bundesliga kick-off again as live football finally returns to our screens (if you have BT Sport). So, if you’re going to be watching, who should you support?
In our great anticipation of there being some football to watch, we decided to dive head-first in to researching this article. Sadly, we soon found that links between German football’s top flight and Tranmere are somewhat vague.
However, we’ve put together a brief dossier of six teams with some sort of link – and yes, at least half of this list is stretching it in the extreme.
So, here goes.
RB Leipzig have become a regular in the Champions League in recent years. Part of the Red Bull stable of clubs, Leipzig are once again in the thick of a title challenge as they currently sit third, five points behind Bayern Munich. The Tranmere link?
Well, it’s a decent one. Their goalkeeper is Peter Gulacsi. the Hungarian international who played 17 games for Rovers in 2010 while on loan from Liverpool. He was excellent for Rovers and played a key part in the club’s narrow escape from relegation, culminating in that amazing day at Stockport.
This is probably the most obvious link with Tranmere, which is pretty weird to say in itself. The main link is the sensational transfer of Rovers youngster Dale Jennings to Bayern in 2011. Let’s not forget though, Bayern used Prenton Park as their training base before a Champions League game at Liverpool last season, so the likes of Lewandowski, Muller and Neuer know all about the charm of the Wirral.
Bayern are currently top of the Bundesliga.
FC Koln are another Bundesliga club with a couple of links to Tranmere, believe it or not. Cast your mind back to 1997; Tranmere signed Portuguese midfielder Mauro and German player Dirk Hebel. Well, Dirk never made a first team appearance for Tranmere – though we vaguely recall him making the bench for a game at Stockport. Similarly, Dirk didn’t make an appearance for Koln either, but he did start his career there.
However, that is not the only player to spend time at Tranmere and Koln. There is one player who has actually played for both. Cast your mind back to August 2012, Tranmere took Spanish central defender Romain Golobart on loan from Wigan. He played one game for Rovers, a 4-0 win over Colchester. In 2012, Golobart would end up moving to Koln and played a handful of games before moving down to their second team.
Okay, we’re starting to get somewhat tenuous now. The link between Hertha Berlin and Tranmere was indirectly made in 2013. In July, a German winger by the name of Sebastian Stachnik turned out for Tranmere in a 5-0 pre-season friendly win over Rhyl. However, despite impressing, he got injured and his hopes for a move to England evaporated.
Stachnik had a decent career in Germany and was at a couple of Bundesliga teams. We’re not able to find evidence of him having actually played a Bundesliga match, but he did play a lot of games in the second tier for some decent size clubs (including Hannover and Kaiserslautern).
This is stretching things somewhat as well, for which we apologise. Schalke have young Welsh forward Rabbi Motondo in their squad having signed him from Man City for £11million last summer. Born in Merseyside, Motondo actually played four ‘competitive’ games in a Man City shirt, all of which came in the EFL Trophy. He netted the winner for City at Prenton Park in October 2018.
So, we’re throwing them in here for that rather vague reason.
Okay, we’re struggling now so we will make this the final name on the list. There isn’t really a Tranmere link here. However, there is one thing in common with Rovers and that is that Fortuna sit third bottom of their division. They’re managed by Uwe Rosler who once won Manager of the Month in League One during the same month that Ryan Lowe won Player of the Month at Tranmere.
We’ll give up now. If you have any better suggestions, feel free to let us know on Twitter @roversrearguard or on our forum.