With the Bundesliga set to return on Saturday, Chelsea VAVEL are looking at a few Chelsea players who have played for both the Blues and in the Bundesliga.
In April 2013, Chelsea paid £18m to Bayer Leverkusen for 22-year-old Schurrle. Although he never set the world alight with his performances, the German was a decent player during his time at Stamford Bridge, scoring 13 goals during his Chelsea career.
Some of his most notable strikes for the Blues came against title challengers Manchester City in his side’s 2-1 victory in the Premier League, while he also scored in his Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against PSG, as Chelsea advanced to the semi-finals on away goals.
Other impressive performances from the German included a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory away at Fulham - where he would go on to play during the 2018-19 season - in the league and a Man of the Match performance in Chelsea’s famous 6-0 win against Arsenal, where he assisted Samuel Eto’o for Chelsea’s opening goal and scored his side’s second two minutes later.
In the first game of the 2014/15 season, Schürrle scored the second goal in a 3–1 victory away to Burnley, from a sensational Cesc Fàbregas pass. This was later voted Match of the Day's goal of the month.
In early 2015, Schurrle left Chelsea for Wolfsburg having made just 14 appearances in the league up until his departure to Germany. Chelsea went on to win the league that season and Schurrle was unaware he had played enough games to obtain a winner’s medal prior to his departure, with Jose Mourinho messaging him to tell him of the award.
Still only 24, Christensen is still yet to hit his peak for Chelsea, and it has been a long journey to first team football at the Bridge for the Danish defender.
Joining the club in 2012 at the age of 15, Christensen didn’t make his professional debut for Chelsea until 2014. After only making a handful of appearances in the 2014/15 season, Christensen was sent out on a two-year loan spell to Borussia Mönchengladbach for the 2015/16 season and it certainly helped his development.
Christensen made 78 appearances in Germany, helping his side to the Round of 16 in the Europa League in his second season abroad, scoring seven goals across his two seasons there. He came back from that spell to make 27 league appearances in his first season back at Stamford Bridge under Antonio Conte. Christensen went on to win the Chelsea's Young Player of the Year award that season, capping off a successful campaign for the defender.
When Maurizio Sarri arrived to manage Chelsea at the start of the 2018/19 season, the Italian decided his main centre-back pairing would consist of David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger. By February 2019, Christensen had only made 15 appearances, two of which were in the league. Real credit should be given to Christensen, who ruled out wanting to leave the club despite this severe lack of game time.
Now playing under Frank Lampard this season, Christensen made 15 league appearances up until the season’s curtailing and he looks to be crucial to the future of Chelsea’s defence.
The Germany international arrived at Chelsea with a wealth of first team experience at his previous clubs VfB Stuttgart and Roma. The 6ft 3in central defender played almost 6,000 minutes during his time in Germany, making 69 appearances in all competitions across three seasons and helping his side reach the final of the 2012/13 DFB Pokal, where they narrowly lost 3-2 to Bayern Munich.
In his time at Chelsea, Rudiger has established himself as a reliable centre-back, capable of some excellent passing from defence. He was a mainstay in Chelsea’s defence alongside David Luiz under the reign of Maurizio Sarri, but a knee injury sustained in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Manchester United towards the end of the 18/19 campaign forced him to miss the rest of the season, but probably the most disappointing for him the Blues’ Europa League final triumph over Arsenal.
His return to first team action was unfortunately short lived, when during Chelsea’s emphatic 5-2 victory against Wolves at Molineux this season he was forced off at half time, putting him back on the treatment table. He was sidelined until December.
Now fit again, Antonio Rudiger has helped Chelsea push for a Champions League placed finish in the league and an FA Cup quarter final, showing remarkable perseverance to come back from his knee injury which kept him out for so long.
Now retired, Arjen Robben joined Chelsea from PSV in the summer of 2004 at the age of 21.
The Dutchman didn’t make his debut for the Blues until November that year, but proved to be crucial in helping Chelsea to their first league title since 1955. He scored seven league goals that season, and was narrowly beaten to the PFA Young Player of the Year Award by Wayne Rooney.
In 2005–06, Robben was an integral part of the Chelsea left wing. Robben contributed six goals in 28 league matches as Chelsea won a second consecutive Premier League title, the first back-to-back league victories for Chelsea in their history.
In the 2006-07 season, Robben struggled with injury. One of his two injuries that season, a knee injury, forced him to have an operation and sit on the sidelines for a month meaning he was reduced to substitute appearances, one of which came in Chelsea’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester United. This was Robben’s last Chelsea appearance before he left for Real Madrid.
After a short spell in Spain, Robben transferred to Bayern Munich, where he remained for the rest of his career until his retirement in July 2019. There, he scored 99 goals in 201 Bundesliga appearances, where he became known as one of the best wingers in the world with a deadly left foot. Robben’s most notable trophies with Bayern included a Champions League, eight league titles and a UEFA Super Cup.
Arguably Chelsea’s best ever player to play for Chelsea and in the Bundesliga, Ballack made his career breakthrough at Bayer Leverkusen in 1999, where he scored 27 league goals in the 1999-00 season, and in 2002 he was named German Footballer of the Year.
Ballack joined Bayern Munich in July that year, where he scored 47 goals in 135 games for the German giants in his four years at the club.
Ballack moved to Chelsea on a free transfer in May 2006 and scored eight goals in all competitions in the 2006-07 season, one of those goals coming in the FA Cup semi-final in extra-time against Blackburn Rovers.
Unfortunately for Ballack, he underwent ankle surgery a month before the FA Cup final against Man United, which meant he had to miss the game.
In December 2007, Ballack captained Chelsea in the absence of captain John Terry and vice-captain Frank Lampard in a 2–1 victory over Newcastle United. Ballack played his 50th game for Chelsea in a 2–1 win against Fulham in which he scored the winning goal for his side. He also scored the only goal that won the match for Chelsea against Reading to extend the Blues' winning streak to nine games.
In March 2007 he scored against Olympiakos in the Champions League round of 16 in a 3–0 win. He scored the winning goal in the 2–0 win in the second leg of the quarter-finals against Fenerbahçe, a victory that put Chelsea into the semi-finals.
Ballack continued to score vital goals and in April 2008, he scored a header and a penalty to give Chelsea a 2–1 win over Manchester United. He was named Man of The Match for his performance as the result brought the two teams level in the race for the Premier League title only two match days before the end of the season.
After a successful 2008-09 campaign the following season, in which Chelsea won the FA Cup, Ballack signed a one-year contract extension with the Blues.
After winning the league with Chelsea in 2009-10, Ballack sustained a serious ankle injury in that season’s FA Cup final, which ruled him out of the World Cup that summer. That proved to be Ballack’s last game for the club, as he returned to Leverkusen that summer.
Ballack will always be remembered as a high quality midfielder for Chelsea, ending his time in London having scored 26 goals for the club and serving four years in West London.