Jeff Strasser has long represented Luxembourg football on the highest stage with his exploits in the Bundesliga and Ligue 1. Now 23-year-old compatriot Mario Mutsch is following in his footsteps.
The defender hails from Belgium but has roots in Luxembourg, who he has represented since 2005. A year later he left lower division Belgian club RFC Union La Calamine for Germany's TSV Alemannia Aachen and although he was unable to make a breakthrough, FC Aarau took him to Switzerland last summer and he has not looked back.
By the third week of the season Mutsch was in the starting lineup as they drew 1-1 at FC Basel 1893. He later opened his account in a similar result against champions FC Zürich, and after four years of struggle since promotion, Aarau sit fourth in the Swiss Super League. Mutsch, who has signed a two-year contract, is pleased with how things have gone. "The first steps in the Swiss league have been taken, now I want to be a regular in coach Ryszard Komornicki's team," he said.
It is good news for the Luxembourg Football Federation, who are keen to see their players gain experience abroad. Indeed it was Mutsch's compatriot Jeff Saibene, a former international who is now Aarau assistant coach, who lured Mutsch in having had him as a charge when at the helm of the Luxembourg Under-21 team. "I spent my whole childhood in Belgium," Mutsch said. "During my time with Belgian third division side La Calamine in Kelmis, Luxembourg U21 coach Roland Schaack discovered me. And after my first appearances for the U21s a call-up for the senior team under Guy Hellers was not long in coming."
His full Luxembourg debut was in October 2005 and he is now up to 23 caps, one of which came in the memorable win against Belarus three months ago that ended a 12-year wait for a competitive victory. "It was an unbelievable game in which we reaped the benefits of our performance out on the pitch," he said.
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