Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham, Kevin Keegan, Owen Hargreaves and Reece Oxford: the best English players in the Bundesliga
Courage, determination and a preference for playing frontline football have traditionally been the characteristics associated with England players, but as Jadon Sancho, Kevin Keegan and Jude Bellingham have shown in the Bundesliga over the years, they don’t offer no bit of trickery either. , aplomb and know-how.
Ahead of the UEFA Nations League tie between Germany and the Three Lions, bundesliga.com takes a look at the top five Englishmen to grace Bundesliga pitches…
Appearances: 90 (32 goals)
club: Hamburg (1977 – 1980)
Honors: Bundesliga (1978/79), Ballon d’Or (1978, 1979)
Sancho was perhaps the most famous England in Germany during his spell at Dortmund (more on that later), but Keegan was actually the first of his compatriots to lace up his boots in the Bundesliga.
Hamburg hit it big when they signed the prolific striker in 1977, with Keegan arriving having won three English Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two UEFA Cups and ultimately the European Cup in six seasons at Liverpool.
Yet despite his impressive collection of trophies and even more intimidating reputation, HSV and Keegan struggled initially, both needing time to adapt. The England captain showed his true colors in the second half of the season, however, and while the team only managed to finish 10th, he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world.
look: From Keegan to Sancho: England in the Bundesliga
The following season was much better collectively, with Keegan helping HSV to their fourth German league title, and first in the Bundesliga era, by contributing 11 goals in the final 12 games of the season. Not only that, but he also defended his throne as world number one footballer with a second consecutive Ballon d’Or.
His third and final tenure in Hamburg ended in the bitterest of disappointments as Hamburg narrowly missed out on winning the Bundesliga and European Cup in the space of a week. Keegan returned to England after that, but still fondly remembers his time in Germany: “I enjoyed playing in the Bundesliga, football. I learned a lot. Without a doubt, those were my best three years of football. .”
Appearances: 145 (five goals)
club: Bayern Munich (1997 – 2007)
Honors: Bundesliga (2000/01, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2005/06), DFB Cup (2003/03, 2004/05, 2005/06), UEFA Champions League (2000/01)
The same goes for Hargreaves, who had a silver-laden time in Munich. The most decorated Briton of all time in the Bundesliga, the midfielder joined Bayern’s youth academy aged 16.
The Calgary-born youngster gradually worked his way into the first team and won a Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League double in his first season with the senior pros in 2000/01, before becoming a regular the team for years to come.
Hargreaves won three more Bundesliga titles and a trio of DFB cups during his time in Germany, during which he amassed 145 Bundesliga appearances and made his debut for the Three Lions in 2001. He was named England’s Player of the League. year in 2006, but never fully recovered from a broken leg suffered the same year. After stop-start spells with Manchester United and Man City, a chronic injury forced him to retire in 2012.
Appearances: 104 (38 goals)
club: Borussia Dortmund (2017 – 2021)
Honors: DFB Cup (2020/21)
The growing number of British players in the Bundesliga in recent years can largely be attributed to Sancho. After being frustrated at Man City’s academy, where he saw limited first-team opportunities, Sancho joined Dortmund aged 17 in 2017.
The London native scored one goal in 12 Bundesliga appearances in his first season as a professional, before bursting onto the scene a year later. The attacking midfielder registered a goal and six assists in the first seven games of the 2018/19 campaign, earning himself a first senior cap for England, and finished the season with 12 league goals and as many assists decisive.
“It’s crazy what happened,” he said bundesliga.com. “I kept believing and working hard and I got the opportunity to play for this great club. I’m just happy with the way it went. For me it’s just about competing with myself. That’s what makes me want to win and do well for the team and do what I do on the pitch.
Sancho proved he was no one-season wonder in 2019/20 and before that campaign was halted in March he had provided 14 goals and 15 assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances – the first player in the five top European leagues to hit double the double digits. .
The highlight of his BVB career – apart from the showreel of films, tricks, dribbles, goals, assists and general mischief – helped Dortmund win the DFB Cup in 2021, with the England international scoring a brace in the triumph 4-1 against RB Leipzig in the final.
look: The best of Sancho in the Bundesliga
Appearances: 81 (two goals)
clubs: Borussia Mönchengladbach (2017 – 2018), Augsburg (2019 – present)
As a defender, there’s less fanfare about Oxford as his performances can’t be measured in goals and assists, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that the London native is a seriously accomplished centre-back. With 81 Bundesliga appearances (and counting) to his name, he sits fifth in the all-time list of England’s top German players.
Oxford first arrived on Bundesliga shores on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach from West Ham in 2017, the first of two temporary spells at the club. He made eight competitive appearances for the Foals, showing his versatility as a right-back, centre-half and defensive midfielder, before finding his true calling in the heart of defense with Augsburg.
Since joining the Bavarian side in January 2019, initially on loan, he has played almost 70 times in all competitions and was rewarded with a shiny new four-year contract at the club in October 2021.
“Reece has become an absolutely key player for us,” said Augsburg sporting director Stefan Reuter. “Not only is he very important for our game defensively, but he is also extremely dangerous from set pieces.”
Silverware can be hard to come by at Augsburg, who are more used to fighting relegation than finishing in the top six, but with the 23-year-old in their ranks their chances are far greater than they seem. would be without him.
Head and shoulders above the rest: Oxford have become one of the most accomplished defenders in the Bundesliga. – Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Appearances: 61 (four goals)
club: Borussia Dortmund (2020 – present)
Honors: DFB Cup (2020/21)
A pro at 16. Dortmund’s first team at 17. The England international at 18. At this rate, Bellingham will walk on the moon at the age of 25, such has been his meteoric rise in the game.
A former box-to-box midfielder, the Birmingham-born teenager can do it all. A strong-willed runner who never shirks a tackle, Bellingham has the pace and stamina to help in the final third as well, often contributing with goals and assists.
“Jude Bellingham’s development comes as no surprise to anyone here,” Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic said of his young charge in 2021. “We see how he trains and works. He’s a huge talent and a fantastic player, but he is still very young, we are giving him all the support he needs and trying to develop him as well as possible.
look: The best of Bellingham
They certainly do. Bellingham helped Dortmund win the DFB Cup title in 2020/21, and their performances were so good that season that more experienced midfielders such as Axel Witsel and Mo Dahoud were forced to stay on the bench , while Thomas Delaney left the club altogether in search of more regular players. playtime.
Dortmund’s No.22 ended the season with a place in England’s UEFA Euro 2020 squad and continued those performances in the 2021/22 campaign. He started 32 of BVB’s 34 league matches, going the full distance in 27 of them, while also scoring three goals and eight assists. If that’s what he can do while still a relative rookie, imagine how good he’ll be in his prime!