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Tottenham's longstanding German connection

Jürgen Klinsmann was not quite the pioneer he was made out to be – so UEFA.com discovers when charting Tottenham's long tradition of German players.

Jürgen Klinsmann celebrates scoring for Tottenham in 1995
Jürgen Klinsmann celebrates scoring for Tottenham in 1995 ©Hulton Archive

With Tottenham Hotspur preparing to welcome Borussia Dortmund for Thursday's UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg, UEFA.com dusts off the history books to pick out five German players that graced White Hart Lane.

Max Seeburg, 1908–09
A Leipzig native, Seeburg was raised in the Tottenham area of London after his family emigrated. He was on the books of both Chelsea and Spurs as a striker, making one official appearance for the Lilywhites in 1908/09, their first season in league football, during a 1-0 second-division defeat at Hull City. It's possibly a moot point but this could make Seeburg the first European-born foreign player in English football.

Jürgen Klinsmann, 1994/95, 1997/98
Klinsmann arrived at Tottenham in 1994 to become part of another 'famous five' – then-manager Ossie Ardiles's short-lived attacking line of Teddy Sheringham, Ilie Dumitrescu, Nick Barmby, Darren Anderton, plus the multi-titled FIFA World Cup and EURO-winning Germany forward. He plundered 30 goals in all competitions before moving on to Bayern. His Tottenham love affair was rekindled when he returned on loan in 1997/98, helping stave off relegation with a flurry of goals. Now in charge of the United States national team.

Ex-Spur Jürgen Klinsmann in USA coach mode
Ex-Spur Jürgen Klinsmann in USA coach mode©Getty Images

Steffen Freund, 1998–2003
Another EURO '96 veteran; another German to earn cult status at White Hart Lane – in Freund's case, for his work ethic, commitment ... and failure to ever score. The defensive midfielder had come to White Hart Lane as a recent European champion with Borussia Dortmund. He left five years later with over 100 appearances and a League Cup winners' medal. Became a key member of the club's management set-up under Mauricio Pochettino's predecessor Tim Sherwood.

Christian Ziege, 2001–04
Brilliant with Bayern, AC Milan and Germany – winning EURO '96 – left wing-back Ziege landed in English football in 1999, spending one season each with Middlesbrough and Liverpool. A three-year stint at White Hart Lane followed: he scored, albeit in defeat, in the 2002 League Cup final, nearly lost a leg the next season due to a rare 'decompartmentalisation' disorder, and eventually left for Mönchengladbach. The Berliner currently coaches Segunda División B side Atlético Baleares.

Lewis Holtby, 2013–15
The German-born son of an Everton-supporting British soldier, attacking midfielder Holtby was a rising star of the Bundesliga when he swapped Schalke for Spurs in January 2013. His Tottenham career would only amount to 25 Premier League outings – and a solitary goal – across two and a half seasons punctuated by loan switches to Fulham and Hamburg. Still just 25, he made his Hamburg stay permanent last summer.