Hispanic hopefuls who could light up the Bundesliga in 2018/19
The Bundesliga has a long-standing tradition of being a league where players from all parts of the world and from all walks of life can forge a successful career.
Recently, Bundesliga clubs have brought in more and more Hispanic players from Central and South America who have taken their opportunity to make a mark on the league.
bundesliga.com presents six Hispanic players from Mexico to Venezuela who possess supreme talent, and who could be ones to watch in 2018/19.
Positions: Attacking midfielder, winger
Club: Bayern Munich
Probably the most high profile player on the list, the last World Cup was in many ways an introduction of James Rodriguez to the world. One of the players of the tournament, he inspired his nation to a strong performance where they were only just edged out after a hard fought game in the quarter-finals against hosts Brazil. James was bought by Real Madrid off the strength of that tournament.
The circumstances have changed and, four years later, the 26-year-old is now a Bayern Munich player entering his second year for the Bavarians. James enjoyed a great debut season in the Bundesliga, scoring seven goals in the league and providing 11 assists. After settling into a new environment, we certainly may not have seen the best of James yet, and if he comes into next season with the same momentum he had following the last World Cup in 2014, it could be something truly special.
WATCH: How James runs Bayern’s show
Club: Bayer Levekusen
Alario only just missed out on a place at this summer’s World Cup for an Argentina side boasting the attacking talent of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero, but bigger things can be expected of him in his second Bundesliga campaign. If he delivers, he could become a key part of the future Argentine national team set up.
Alario began his career at Colon before being signed by Argentine powerhouse River Plate in 2015. Standing 6’1″, he is a definitive target man with a deft scoring touch. He showed this in Argentina, where he scored 11 goals in all competitions during his debut season, adding a further 15 in his second full year at River. He even took part in a FIFA Club World Cup Final, losing to FC Barcelona 3-0 in 2015.
Alario’s form attracted Leverkusen and he joined the Bundesliga club at the beginning of the 2017 season, scoring nine league goals and one in the DFB Cup. With Leverkusen’s top attacking talent potentially on the move and players like Stefan Kießling retiring, there should be even more opportunities in 2018/19 for Alario to make his mark, and to cement his status in the Argentinian team.
Position: Central midfielder
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
It was a rather unlucky year for the popular Chilean central midfielder. After narrowly losing out on a World Cup spot in CONMEBOL qualifying, Bayer Leverkusen were shut out of the UEFA Champions League spots due only to an inferior goal difference compared to Borussia Dortmund.
However, Aranguiz is nothing if not a determined, winning player and another strong season – his fourth in the Bundesliga – can be expected. At 29 and moving into his prime, the talented midfielder can still control the tempo of a match and spray the ball around the field with the best of them. With the extra motivation that last season’s disappointments brought, it would not be a surprise to see him take it out on the Bundesliga next season, fully recharged from a long summer break.
Position: Attacking midfielder
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Fabian will also be looking to bounce back in 2018/19, and hopefully a good run of form this coming season can be ignited by an impressive showing at the 2018 World Cup with Mexico. It was last summer at the Confederations Cup in Russia where he scored the Goal of the Tournament against Germany in a 4-1 defeat and despite defeat on the day, the world was certainly reminded of the damage Fabian could cause.
Unfortunately, Fabian was robbed of much of his season this year due to a complicated back issue and, as a result, he only managed a handful of appearances at the end of the season, while he did not play in the Eagles’ DFB Cup final victory over Bayern. Fabian will therefore be hoping that a strong performance in Russia this summer will set him up for a great bounce back season year and a repeat of – if not improvement on – his emphatic 2016/17 campaign, when he scored seven in 24 Bundesliga outings.
WATCH: Fabian’s five best Bundesliga goals
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
The second half of the Mexican duo at Frankfurt enjoyed a successful first season for the Eagles and his loan from Chivas Guadalajara was consequently turned into a full-time deal, tying him to the club until 2022. Regarded as a strong player with good size, strong aerial ability, and as a player with great tackling nous, he should grow into an even better player as he continues his development in the Bundesliga.
Like Fabian, Salcedo was also selected on the Mexican national team for the World Cup in Russia. There, he will most likely lead the Mexican defence, with many familiar faces to impress in their opening fixture with Germany. A strong showing there and Salcedo could be set for even greater things next season with Eintracht.
Positions: Striker, winger
Probably the most untested of the players on this list, Cordova makes up for the lack of experience with potential. For anyone who saw him play at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, it is obvious the player possesses the ability to provide moments of magic in front of goal. Cordova scored the goal of the tournament, along with three other strikes to make him one of the players of the tournament. Augsburg won the sweepstake to buy him and things looked quite rosy after Cordova scored his first goal for the club with a late equaliser to save a point against Borussia Mönchengladbach last August.
However, the Venezuelan subsequently struggled with a torn ankle and then saw most of his appearances come from the bench in a right-wing role less conducive to his natural talent. Despite the setback, though, Cordova became a key part of an improving Venezuelan national team setup and admitted he has learned a lot under the tutelage of goalscoring machine Alfred Finnbogason at club level.
With a summer of some rest, his second season in the Bundesliga could be something to watch out for.