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Shaqiri joins Switzerland's Bundesliga tradition

Published: Thursday 9 February 2012, 18.46CET
When FC Basel 1893's Xherdan Shaqiri joins FC Bayern München this summer, he will follow a strong tradition of Swiss stars in the Bundesliga. UEFA.com looks back at his predecessors.
by Philip Röber
Shaqiri joins Switzerland's Bundesliga tradition
Stéphane Chapuisat celebrates after scoring one of 102 league goals for Borussia Dortmund ©Getty Images

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Published: Thursday 9 February 2012, 18.46CET

Shaqiri joins Switzerland's Bundesliga tradition

When FC Basel 1893's Xherdan Shaqiri joins FC Bayern München this summer, he will follow a strong tradition of Swiss stars in the Bundesliga. UEFA.com looks back at his predecessors.

When Xherdan Shaqiri joins FC Bayern München from FC Basel 1893 in the summer, he will look to become the latest in a line of leading players from Switzerland to have made their mark in the Bundesliga. UEFA.com takes a look at the Swiss footballers who have ventured across the border and shone brightly in Germany's top flight.

Anton Allemann (1964–66)
Still regarded as one of the best Swiss players of all time after an international career running from 1957 until 1973, Allemann was the first Swiss and one of the pioneering early foreign players to appear in the newly formed Bundesliga. The striker played 50 matches for 1. FC Nürnberg after joining the Bavarian side from PSV Eindhoven and became famous as one of the 'Heroes of Berlin' in his homeland, after helping Switzerland to the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile with a goal in a 2-1 qualifying replay win against Sweden.

Stéphane Chapuisat (1991–99)
Chapuisat arguably made the biggest impact of them all during his stay at Borussia Dortmund. Picked up from KFC Uerdingen 05 in 1991, 'Chappi' was one of the first signings made by Ottmar Hitzfeld, now Switzerland's national coach. Chapuisat, who went on to collect 103 caps for his country, scored 20 league goals in his first term at Dortmund and helped them reach the UEFA Cup final the following year, yet this was only the beginning of a phenomenal spell. A central figure during the most successful period in the club's history, the striker lifted back-to-back Bundesliga titles before landing the UEFA Champions League trophy in 1997. Chapuisat became the first foreigner in the German top tier to breach the 100-goal mark and left the Schwarzgelben after eight impressive years to finish his career at BSC Young Boys and FC Lausanne-Sport.

Alain Sutter (1993–97)
Although his achievements cannot compare with those of Chapuisat, it did not take long for Sutter to become a crowd favourite at Nürnberg (1993-1994) and SC Freiburg (1995-1997). Standing out with his trademark long, blond hair, the playmaker delighted Nürnberg fans with his technical skills and eye for the killer pass. It was no surprise that Bayern acquired his services for the 1994/95 season, but he only scored once in 22 league matches before shining again at Freiburg. Forging a productive partnership with Dutch striker Harry Decheiver, Sutter, who made 63 appearances for his country, helped Freiburg escape relegation before ending his German adventure with a move to the United States.

Ciriaco Sforza (1993–96, 1997–2006)
When Sforza signed for 1. FC Kaiserslautern in 1993, he had already been a Swiss title winner with Grasshopper-Club, but it was his development in the Bundesliga that ultimately helped him become a key figure for his national side. He had three spells at the Betzenberg (1993-1995, 1997-2000 and 2002-2006), winning the title in 1998. A central midfielder with superb vision and a strong grasp of tactics, Sforza also played for Bayern twice (1995-1996 and 2000-2002), winning the 1996 UEFA Cup as well as the UEFA Champions League and German championship in 2001.

Alexander Frei (2006–09)
Having already proven his goalscoring skills in Switzerland and France, Alexander Frei became the successor to Chapuisat as Dortmund's Swiss darling in 2006. His record of 34 goals in 74 league matches for BVB is impressive, but it could have been even better were it not for a series of injuries along the way. Nevertheless, during his three years at Dortmund he scored some vital goals, especially in his first season when the club were involved in a protracted relegation battle.

Diego Benaglio (2002–05, 2008–)
Of the current crop of Swiss stars, Diego Benaglio stands out for his contribution to arguably the greatest Bundesliga upset of the last decade. The 28-year-old remains one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the league, but without his extraordinary form during the 2008/09 campaign, VfL Wolfsburg would almost certainly never have stayed the course to clinch the German title. Benaglio, who is never afraid of leaving his area to call on his considerable footballing skills, has since become Switzerland's undisputed No1, winning 41 caps.

Last updated: 10/02/12 16.04CET

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