8 forgotten ballers we can’t believe are now playing in the 2. Bundesliga

Former Tottenham, Everton and Manchester United stars are among the forgotten ballers who are currently playing in the second tier of German football.

From Schalke to Hamburger, the 2. Bundesliga is jam-packed with fallen giants who are all desperate to get back to the top division.

We’ve taken a closer look at the league and have identified eight former ballers who we can’t believe are strutting their stuff in the German second tier.

Lewis Holtby

Holtby was dubbed as one of Germany’s biggest rising stars when he made the switch to Tottenham in 2013, but his career never quite took off like some had predicted.

After struggling to make much of an impression during a loan spell with Fulham, Spurs eventually decided to cut him loose in 2015.

He’s since enjoyed spells with Hamburger SV and Blackburn Rovers before ending up in the 2. Bundesliga with Holstein Kiel. Surprisingly, he’s still only 33 years old.

Jonjoe Kenny

After progressing through the Everton academy, Kenny racked up 50 Premier League appearances before he opted for a career away from Goodison Park.

Following various loan spells, he eventually landed at Hertha BSC, who were relegated from the Bundesliga last season. Since making the switch, Kenny seems to be enjoying life in Germany.

“I loved the 16 years I spent at Everton since I was a youngster,” he told BZ-Berlin. “And I loved my time under Frank Lampard. But I felt I was ready for a change. Ready to become a man and a personality in my own right.

“To do that, I had to leave England and my comfort zone. Coming here was a great choice.”

Ron-Robert Zieler

The German goalkeeper started his professional career with Man Utd back in 2008, but he never managed to make a senior appearance for the Red Devils.

After leaving England, he made a name for himself with Hannover in the Bundesliga and was part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad.

Zieler made a brief return to the Premier League in 2016 to join Leicester City before heading back to Germany a year later. Now back with Hannover, he’s closing in on 350 appearances for the 2. Bundesliga club.

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Christopher Schindler

The man who scored the penalty to take Huddersfield Town into the Premier League. Schindler will always be fondly remembered in West Yorkshire.

After spending five years of his career in England, the German defender joined FC Nurnberg in the summer of 2021.

“He will always be considered among the greats at Huddersfield Town, which is down to the tremendous part he played both on and off the pitch,” former Huddersfield chairman Phil Hodgkinson said upon Schindler’s departure.

Ralf Fahrmann

The German goalkeeper is synonymous with Schalke, having racked up over 280 appearances for the German club. He did have a less-than-memorable spell with Norwich City in the Premier League but is now back playing for Schalke.

As of writing, he’s only 11 games shy from making 300 appearances for the club. That’s some effort.

Christos Tzolis

Norwich spent £10m on Tzolis back in 2021 and they haven’t seen much of a return of their investment since. He struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League and has since spent the last two years out on loan.

To be fair to Tzolis, he’s been making light work of the 2. Bundesliga since joining Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan. With 24 goal contributions so far, he’s been among the most productive players in the league.

With Dusseldorf currently sat third in the league, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they try to sign the Greek winger on a permanent basis in the summer.

QUIZ: Can you name every team to be relegated from the Premier League?

Jackson Irvine

Still donning one of the best barnets in football, these days you can find the Australia international playing for St. Pauli in the second tier of German football.

The Hull City cult hero seems to be enjoying life in Germany too as he told Closed: “I came to Hamburg after more than 10 years of playing football in Scotland and England.

“I loved my time there, it was the place that gave me the opportunity to have a career in professional football. However, I yearned for something different, a complete change in lifestyle and footballing environment.

“It only took one phone call with St. Pauli to know that it was the place I wanted to be.”

Robert Glatzel

Those familiar with the Championship will no doubt remember Glatzel from his brief stint with Cardiff. The Welsh club signed him in 2019 for a reported £5.5m fee, only to then let him leave in 2021 for around £500k.

Despite never living up to expectations in the Championship, he’s been in superb goalscoring form since making the switch to Germany. In 109 games for Hamburger, he’s bagged 63 goals.