The success of Claudio Pizarro sparked a mini wave of Peruvians in the Bundesliga. - © /
The success of Claudio Pizarro sparked a mini wave of Peruvians in the Bundesliga. - © /

Claudio Pizarro and the Bundesliga's best Peruvian players


From Claudio Pizarro to Jefferson Farfan, Paolo Guerrero and Carlos Zambrano - Peru has produced some pretty handy footballers, to say the least. shines the spotlight on four of the best Peruvians to play in Germany's top tier...

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1) Claudio Pizarro

Pizarro enjoyed a long and prosperous Bundesliga career, stretching from 1999 to 2020 and comprising 197 goals across 490 appearances for Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Cologne. In the first of his four spells with Bremen, the Peruvian scored 29 Bundesliga goals in 56 matches, prompting record champions Bayern to make their move. The former Alianza Lima sharpshooter spent six seasons in Munich, where he netted a further 71 times and won Bundesliga-DFB Cup doubles in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Returning to Bremen, via a one-season stint with Chelsea, Pizarro plundered 60 more Bundesliga strikes between 2008 and 2012, taking him above former Bayern teammate Giovane Elber as the German top flight's all-time leading foreign scorer. It's a record Peru's finest marksman held for almost nine years. He crossed paths with his eventual successor, Robert Lewandowski, during the final season of another three-year stretch at Bayern, where he found the back of the net 15 times in the league and won a raft of trophies, including the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League as part of the club's first treble.

Watch: Claudio Pizarro, a Bundesliga legend

Pizarro joined Bremen twice more, either side of a short stay at Cologne, before his retirement at the end of 2019/20, aged 41. The records tumbled during the Werder icon's final hurrah: as well as becoming the oldest player in Bundesliga history to score a hat-trick (37 years and four months), he signed off as the Bundesliga's second oldest goalscorer (40 years, four months and 18 days), and its first - and only - player to score in 21 successive calendar years. Nowadays, 'Piza' is delivering Bundesliga football to fans across the world as part of the Legends Network.

2) Jefferson Farfan

Farfan hung up his boots two years after Pizarro, having played professionally in five different countries. The explosive winger penned his most productive career chapter at Schalke, where he had a direct hand in 87 goals in 170 Bundesliga appearances between 2008 and 2015. He also got his hands on the 2010/11 DFB Cup, the same season a Schalke side led by Felix Magath and spearheaded by Spain legend Raul reached the Champions League semi-finals.

Watch: Farfan's top 5 Bundesliga goals

After his departure in 2015, Farfan - by then at Lokomotiv Moscow - returned to face his former employers in the Champions League in December 2018. He was given a hero's welcome by the fans and presented with a memento from his time at the club.

“Jeff, you gave us wonderful moments on the right wing. When you started, it was a feast for the eyes for all of us," board member Clemens Tönnies told Farfan. "You were the crowd favourite here at Schalke: it will all remain unforgettable."

3) Paolo Guerrero

Guerrero collected even more silverware on German soil, after initially signing for Bayern's reserve team as an 18-year-old in 2003. He would quickly graduate to the first team, where El Depredador ('The Predator') meshed with Pizarro in the Bayern team that won successive Bundesliga-DFB Cup doubles in 2005 and 2006.

Peruvians Paolo Guerrero (c.) and Carlos Zambrano (r.) face off in the Hamburg derby between HSV and St.Pauli. - Imago

Guerrero scored 13 times in 45 games for Bayern in all competitions before departing for Hamburg in 2006. And it's at HSV where he enjoyed his most prolific spell, producing 51 goals in 183 competitive games between 2006 and 2012, before returning to his native South America in 2012.

A 10-year stint is no mean feat for a non-German player in the Bundesliga, where Guerrero had notched 47 goals in 161 Bundesliga games by the time he left the country. He is only the second Peruvian to score a Bundesliga hat-trick (vs. Karlsruhe on the final day of 2007/08), after Pizarro.

4) Carlos Zambrano

Zambrano was just 16 when he signed with Schalke's famed youth team in 2006, with his impressive performances at the 2005 FIFA U17 World Cup prompting his move to Die Knappenschmiede. He would go on to be part of the same Schalke team as Farfan in 2009/10, but Zambrano ultimately played just 20 games for the club before moving to St. Pauli.

Paolo Guerrero (r.) and Claudio Pizarro (c.) enjoyed a brief, but successful, spell together at Bayern Munich. - Christian Fischer/Bongarts/Getty Images

The centre-back remained in Germany for almost a decade, and represented Pauli in Germany's top two leagues before spending four seasons on the books of Eintracht Frankfurt. He wore the captain's armband in his final outing for the club - their decisive 2016 relegation play-off second leg against Nuremberg - and made 117 appearances with Die Adler.

All told, Zambrano - not to be confused with the Venezuelan baseball pitcher of the same name - clocked up 137 Bundesliga appearances. He's still playing in his native Peru for Allanza Lima, where Pizarro and Farfan got their senior breaks, and is in line to feature against Germany when the two nations meet on Saturday.