Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has had plenty of reason to celebrate since joining Bayern Munich from Paris Saint-Germain in October 2020. - © via www.imago-images.de/imago images/ActionPictures
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has had plenty of reason to celebrate since joining Bayern Munich from Paris Saint-Germain in October 2020. - © via www.imago-images.de/imago images/ActionPictures
bundesliga

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting: 5 things on the Bayern Munich forward

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A late bloomer who laced his boots for Nuremberg and Stoke City before signing for Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, there is plenty more to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting than meets the eye.

bundesliga.com puts Bayern's German-born Cameroon international under the spotlight.

1) Bundesliga pedigree

Although he was most recently with Paris Saint-Germain, Choupo-Moting has a successful Bundesliga past that has stood him in good stead on his return to Germany at Bayern.

Now well into his 30s, he was just 18 when he broke through the ranks at hometown club Hamburg in 2007. Choupo-Moting made his Bundesliga debut on the opening day of the 2007/08 season. That was his only campaign in the top flight with HSV, however, before he joined Nuremberg on loan and then scored his first Bundesliga goal - against Bayern - on August 19, 2009.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored against none other than Bayern Munich while on loan at Bavarian rivals Nuremberg. - imago images

After his five-goal season in Bavaria, Choupo-Moting returned to Hamburg but never truly established himself in the club's first-team again. He duly departed for Mainz - which is where his Bundesliga career began to take shape. Two 10-goal seasons in succession followed before he earned a move to Schalke, and he hit nine goals in his first term at the Veltins-Arena.

Choupo-Moting spent three campaigns in Royal Blue - making over 100 appearances in total - and he was present when a certain Leroy Sane burst onto the world football scene. At Bayern Choupo-Moting was reunited with two former teammates, in fact, as he made 60 appearances alongside Leon Goretkza and 38 with Sane in his time in Gelsenkirchen.

2) Late bloomer

Choupo-Moting's two most recent clubs met in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League final but he had to bide his time to get his hands on some medals.

After playing for Hamburg, Nuremberg, Mainz, Schalke and Stoke, the first major silverware he picked up was the first of two Ligue 1 titles he won with PSG in 2018/19.

He added the Coupe de la Ligue and French Cup a year later as PSG completed a domestic treble, and only missed out on being crowned European champion by the players he has since joined in the Allianz Arena dressing room.

He has never scored more than 10 goals in a league season - he hit exactly 10 for Mainz in 2011/12 and 2013/14 - but you can be sure of one thing as soon as he pulls on the shirt: commitment with a capital 'C'.

"Whenever I play, whenever I have the chance to be on the pitch, I give 100 per cent. I just want to show my qualities," Choupo-Moting explained. "There are always people who encourage you, those who are sceptical, those who are positive, those who are negative - it's part of the game."

3) Lisbon lion

Choupo-Moting's PSG story was expected to end in June 2020 when his contract expired. If it had, he would most likely be best known for a bizarre incident in which he prevented then-teammate Christopher Nkunku - now at RB Leipzig - from scoring in a league game.

Choupo-Moting almost inexplicably stopped the ball going into an open goal, and memes of his mishap went viral. But all was forgiven when he stepped off the bench to keep PSG's UEFA Champions League dream alive in 2019/20.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (l.) outshone PSG teammate Neymar (r.) as they reached the UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon. - imago images

He had actually been taken off the squad list before the knockout stages with just six months left to run on his contract. But Choupo-Moting signed a two-month extension and was brought back into the squad for the 'Final 8' tournament in Lisbon where he wrote himself a chapter in PSG history.

Trailing 1-0 to Atalanta in the quarter-finals, Choupo-Moting came off the bench to help set up Marquinhos' 90th-minute equaliser before firing home a dramatic winner himself three mintues into added time.

"He has a very positive character - top level," said Thomas Tuchel - who had worked with Choupo-Moting at Mainz - when explaining the surprise decision to recruit his former charge at PSG. "Maxim can have an impact in a minute. He never loses hope and can make a difference coming off the bench."

4) The supersub

Choupo-Moting went to PSG knowing he would not be first choice, and he arrived at Bayern fully aware that Robert Lewandowski is the number one centre-forward. But the 6'3" striker, who made 31 top-flight appearances but only 13 starts with his previous club, will not be worried one bit.

"That's the role I have here. It's not at all a problem," he had replied when asked whether he was happy to play back-up to Edinson Cavani and then Mauro Icardi at PSG.

Watch: Choupo-Moting's top 5 Bundesliga goals

"For the majority of games, I'm substitute, but I don't see myself as only a substitute. I'm part of the team. If I only play 20 minutes, I'm happy, because I contribute - I help the team get three points."

He carried on in the same manner at Bayern, although all three of his Bundesliga goals in his first year at the club - in 2020/21 - came in matches that he started. He also netted four times in the Champions League that season - including in two games against former club PSG - before starting 2021/22 with four goals in a 12-0 DFB Cup win over Bremer SV.

"Athletically, he is someone we can always bring in," Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich said of Choupo-Moting after that game. "Of course, he is a top footballer and always has an eye out for his teammates. But he is also super important in the dressing room. He speaks many languages and always gives his all."

Choupo-Moting would soon prove his worth from the bench again in league wins over RB Leipzig, Bochum and Hoffenheim. His strike in the 7-0 victory over Bochum was the 50th Bundesliga goal of his career.

5) So close, yet…

Choupo-Moting may not have had the fairytale twilight to his career if he and Tuchel had not met in Mainz in 2011. And they probably wouldn't have but for a dodgy fax machine and some decisive minutes six months before he got there.

Hamburg had agreed to sell him to Cologne in the winter transfer window, but the Billy Goats' fax to the DFL to register their deadline-day purchase arrived 12 minutes after the window had closed.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting first became a Bundesliga star for his moves on and off the pitch with Mainz. - imago images

There was another near-miss for him at international level.

The son of a former Cameroonian basketballer and a German mother, Choupo Moting played for Germany up to U21 level before opting to play senior international football for his father's homeland.

He opted out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to focus on his club career, and without him the Indomitable Lions lived up to their nickname to be crowned champions. But despite that decision, when Clarence Seedorf took over as coach in August 2018, he named Choupo-Moting his captain.

"He understands what we, the staff, want in terms of a mix of our mentality and the local mentality," explained Seedorf, a four-time UEFA Champions League winner as a player with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan. "In the team, he's the one everyone loves. He also plays well."