Switzerland's Kevin Mbabu didn't disappoint at Augsburg in 2023/24. - © IMAGO/kolbert-press/Christian Kolbert
Switzerland's Kevin Mbabu didn't disappoint at Augsburg in 2023/24. - © IMAGO/kolbert-press/Christian Kolbert

Kevin Mbabu: Who is Augsburg's Switzerland international defender?


He's a full Switzerland international, who's played with Paul Pogba and made an impression on Jose Mourinho - but what else is there to know about Fulham-owned Augsburg right-back Kevin Mbabu?

bundesliga.com profiles the Henrik Larsson lookalike...

Stats correct as of 11 June 2024

Kevin Mbabu

Age: 29 (born 19 April 1995)
Club: Augsburg
Position: Right-back
Country: Switzerland (24 caps)

Born in Chene-Bougeries in Switzerland, to a Congolese mother and a French father, Mbabu started out in the youth team of second-division club Servette. After making his first-team breakthrough, the 6'0" defender went on to play for Newcastle United's U23s and senior side. He made three English Premier League appearances across three seasons in England, and also spent a short spell on loan at Scottish record champions Glasgow Rangers, before returning to Switzerland in 2016 with Young Boys.

A Swiss Super League runner-up in his debut campaign at the Wankdorf, Mbabu played a key role in helping Young Boys win back-to-back league titles in 2017/18 and 2018/19. He was named Swiss Football League Player of the Year 2018, and also graduated to the Switzerland national team during his time at the Bern-based club. The right-footer inherited Wolfsburg's No.19 shirt from the late Junior Malanda, who tragically lost his life in a car accident on 11 January 2015.

Kevin Mbabu inherited Wolfsburg's No.19 shirt from the late Junior Malanda and has worn it with considerable honour ever since. - Oliver Hardt/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Mbabu took time to get going with Wolfsburg, featuring just twice across the club's first 14 league games of the 2019/20 season. From Matchday 15 onwards, however, he became a mainstay and Mbabu scored his first Wolves goal with an 82nd-minute equaliser in Matchday 16's 1-1 draw with Schalke. He ended his first campaign with three league goals and two assists from 20 Bundesliga appearances. Injury meant Mbabu missed the opening 10 rounds of top-flight fixtures in 2020/21, but he again came back into the side to great effect and played his part in 11 clean sheets from 22 matches - including a club-record seven shutouts in a row - as Wolfsburg secured a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League football.

Mbabu made his Switzerland debut in the group stage of the inaugural UEFA Nations League against Iceland in 2018 and has since earned 16 caps for his country and established himself as a regular starter. He was named in the Swiss squad for Euro 2020 and played in all three Group A matches, as well as the 3-1 last-16 victory over reigning world champions France. Mbabu even popped up with a crucial 81st-minute assist as Switzerland came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 in normal time before winning on penalties.

Watch: Kevin Mbabu scores his first Wolfsburg goal in 1-1 draw with Schalke

Mbabu spent another year at Wolfsburg, before returning to England in summer 2002, this time with Fulham. However, with regular minutes limited, he spent the second half of 2022/23 on loan at Swiss outfit Servette. Augsburg came knocking before the summer 2023 window closed, the Bundesliga club tying him down to a successful season-long loan comprising 25 Bundesliga appearances.

Plays a bit like: Kyle Walker

Mbabu would give the fastest players on the planet a run for their money in a foot race, and as a marauding right-back by trade he's perhaps more in the mould of Manchester City and England defender Kyle Walker. His pace his his biggest asset, while he's also added to his game at both ends of the pitch since moving to the Bundesliga.

Did you know?

In 2010, Mbabu was invited for a week-long trial at Manchester United, where he trained with the U18s and reserves. As he spoke French, he was chaperoned by future world star Paul Pogba, who made a real impression on the young Swiss.

"He looked after me and showed be the ropes," Mbabu recalled of the 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning midfielder. I'm really lucky to have got to know a player who has grown into such a big star. He was a really nice guy."

Mbabu and Pogba renewed acquaintances in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League group stage, with Young Boys losing 3-0 at home and 1-0 at Old Trafford.

What they're saying

"He's particularly strong and quick, and he's a player who will fit in well at Wolfsburg as a footballer and as a person." - former Wolfsburg managing director director Jörg Schmadtke

"He's a very good player, and he's only becoming more experienced by playing in the UEFA Champions League and for the national team." - Jose Mourinho