Munich - It's no secret that, for several decades, Asia has been a talent goldmine for Bundesliga clubs. Bum-Kun Cha began the trend in the 1980s when he starred for Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt and the influx has only intensified in recent years thanks in no small part to Shinji Kagawa's back-to-back league titles with Borussia Dortmund in 2011 and 2012.

Oriental imports have continued to impress in the German top flight this term, with shining for FC Schalke 04 and FC Augsburg’s South Korean duo and combining to great effect since the turn of the year. Countless others have flown the Far Eastern flag, but bundesliga.com has singled out three in particular whose on-field exploits make them worthy of special mention...

Like his club, Eintracht Frankfurt’s has been one of the success stories of the Bundesliga this season. Last term he was plying his trade in the second tier with VfL Bochum, but has since made a seamless transition into the top flight. Inui was one of the main reasons the Eagles began the season with four straight wins and, while Armin Veh’s side have faltered somewhat in 2013, the diminutive playmaker's performances have remained consistently good. The Japanese international boasts a pass completion rate of 80 per cent this term and has also contributed five goals and four assists. Regardless of whether the club secure European football at the end of the season, Inui will have won many admirers.

There are few players in the Bundesliga more explosive than Hamburger SV’s . With pace to burn and a ferocious shot on either side, the 21-year-old personifies HSV’s counter-punching strategy this term. He scored stunning efforts both home and away against defending champions Borussia Dortmund, proving that he has a penchant for the spectacular, as well as the tap-ins that all good goalscorers specialise in. He has forged a potent partnership with fellow forward Artjoms Rudnevs and his tally of nine goals account for 30 per cent of his team’s overall tally. Hamburg are a team and squad in transition this season and would do well to build around Son for the future.

Cut from the same Cerezo Osaka cloth as his predecessor Kagawa, has perhaps been the most impressive Asian player of all this season. Daniel Didavi's return VfB Stuttgart and injuries to Robert Mak and Alexander Esswein have meant the creativity burden fell almost exclusively on the new Japanese recruit's shoulders - and he hasn’t disappointed. Kiyotake scored in crucial victories away in Mönchengladbach and Augsburg and has a hugely impressive record of eight assists to his name already this season, the joint-second highest in the division. He has been directly involved in 12 of der Club’s 29 goals this season, equating to a remarkable 44 per cent. Without that contribution, Nuremberg would be some way off fourth spot in the 2013 form table.


Bernie Reeves