It is a well-repeated statement that the Premier League is the most unforgiving league in the world, and even the best of players take a fair amount of time to adapt to the rigours of the league. There are some world class players who have hardly set the Premier League stage alight but gone on to other leagues to do great things. Here, we take a look at such players who did so in the Bundesliga.
Note: Players like Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa have not been included in this piece. This includes players who first flopped in England and went on to have a distinguished career in Germany. Also, the list is not in any particular order
#1 Jerome Boateng
After signing for Manchester City just before the 2010 World Cup commenced, Boateng had a very forgettable time at the City of the Manchester Stadium. He did make 24 appearances that season, but could never really nail down a spot in the team. The likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Alex Kolarov, Wayne Bridge and Micah Richards were ahead of him in the full-back pecking order. At centre-back, Roberto Mancini preferred Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure and even Dedryck Boyata.
It did not help the German’s case that midway through the season, he had a training ground bust-up with Mario Balotelli, with the two men having to be separated after coming to blows with each other. Boateng eventually left City to join Jupp Heynckes’s Bayern Munich at the start of the 2011-12 season.
The big defender said it was a move that would help him play more regularly for the Germany national team. And boy, has it helped him or what? He is now probably the first name on Joachim Low’s team-sheet for Germany and on Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern teamsheet as well.
Since he left City, Boateng has won the Bundesliga on four consecutive occasions, having lost the title to Dortmund in his first season. He won the Champions League in 2013, but apart from that, reached the final in 2012, and on the last three occasions, Bayern have been losing semifinalists.
Apart from that, with Germany, he has been an integral part of the squad that has reached two European Championship semifinal and won the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, Germany’s first in 24 years.
For Boateng, the Premier League didn’t quite bring the best out of him, but his move back to Germany has helped him become one of the best defenders of his time.