Borussia Mönchengladbach duo Yann Sommer and Breel Embolo are just two of the 12 Bundesliga-based members of Switzerland's UEFA Euro 2020 squad. bundesliga.com looks at how Die Nati could line up if head coach Vladimir Petkovic went all-out Bundesliga at the finals...
Among the Bundesliga's best goalkeepers not named Manuel Neuer, Sommer has ranked among the top three in terms of shots-to-saves in three of his seven seasons of German top-flight football to date, hitting heights of 84.2 percent in 2014/15. Not only that, but the Gladbach No.1 has only finished outside the top 10 for most clean sheets once. He also has a habit of being right up there with Neuer for touches and successful long passes. Rest assured, Switzerland are in safe hands - as he proved against Kylian Mbappe...
Watch: Straight talk with Gladbach's Yann Sommer
Mbabu was part of the Bundesliga's second meanest defence in 2020/21. Once recovered from the ligament injury that kept him sidelined until Matchday 11, the dread-locked right-back made 21 appearances in which the Wolves kept 10 clean sheets, whilst ending the campaign in the club's top six for most sprints. UEFA Champions League group-stage football now awaits the industrious 25-year-old, who made his senior international tournament debut against Wales.
Akanji's been on the international scene marginally longer, the Dortmund centre-back having started every game during his country's run to the 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16. A maths whizz off the pitch, he plays with calculated precision on it. As well as ending his third season in BVB colours with a DFB Cup winner's medal, the 6'1" general found a man with 93.53 percent of his attempted passes. Quarter-back centre-back Mats Hummels, eat your heart out!
Nico Elvedi (Gladbach)
League-wide, only Elvedi topped Akanji for pass completion (94.09 percent). His elegance on the ball despite his height and ability to play centrally or wide in a three- or four-man defence mark him out as a modern-day defensive all-rounder. He also has goals in his repertoire, as evinced by his brace against Akanji's Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 18. Unsurprisingly, Petkovic has started him in 14 of Switzerland's last 15 competitive matches.
There must be something in the Zurich water. Sow - born and raised, like Elvedi, in Swizerland's largest city - finished ninth in the passing stakes at the end of 2020/21 but top among thoroughbred midfielders. The former Young Boys and Gladbach man found a teammate 90.29 percent of the time, and only missed a handful of league games for an Eintracht side that narrowly missed out on a top-four finish.
The fact Fernandes makes the Swiss grade, despite being restricted to 14 Bundesliga appearances this past season, speaks volumes. The rangy midfielder with Portuguese roots is most at home in the centre of the park, but has been used on both flanks, in the centre of defence and even as a No.10. He also has the added experience of a formative Swiss Cup-winning campaign at Sion and a combined 70 league outings with England's West Ham United and Italian outfit Fiorentina to draw on.
Denis Zakaria (Gladbach)
Zakaria suffered a season-ending knee injury in March 2020, but rediscovered his old strengths to help Gladbach into the Champions League knockout stages for the first time. Pre-injury, he was right up there with the Bundesliga's hardest-running outfield players, as well as Borussia's toughest tacklers. At 6'3", he has something of a Patrick Vieira gait about him, albeit with a more measured approach in the challenge. The 33-time Switzerland international, who could have represented Sudan or DR Congo, has only been sent off once as a pro.
Steven Zuber (Frankfurt)
A veritable Swiss army knife of a player, Frankfurt man Zuber has lined up on either side of defence and midfield - and even in attack - across his seven Bundesliga seasons since arriving at Hoffenheim from CSKA Moscow in 2014. Now most likely to be found on the left flank for club and country, Zuber tends to play in front of former Wolfsburg man Ricardo Rodriguez for Switzerland, where his pace and directness have helped him to eight goals and six assists in 37 caps for his country.
Admir Mehmedi (Wolfsburg)
Mehmedi's favourite position also happens to be Xherdan Shaqiri's - the No.10 orchestrating things with midfield terriers such as Zakaria and Fernandes behind him - but despite the Bayern Munich-formed Liverpool man's standing in the squad, Mehmedi always seizes his chance to shine. He once helped Switzerland to a 5-3 win over Germany, and boasts two goals for Die Schweizer Nati at FIFA World Cups. His 74 caps are also testament to his ability and willingness to play more than one role.
A diminutive left winger who loves nothing better than cutting inside and shooting from the edge of the box on his favoured right foot, Vargas has been one of Augsburg's most dangerous attacking outlets since swapping Luzern for Bavaria in 2019, plundering 13 goals and six assists in the time since. Switzerland tend to play wing-backs, but Vargas is a nice alternative if Petkovic needs another solution with wide forwards as the tournament rolls on.
Breel Embolo (Gladbach)
The fourth Gladbach player in this ensemble, and comfortably the deadliest. Embolo has already opened his account for Switzerland at Euro 2020, scoring in their 1-1 draw with Wales. Sometimes used in a more withdrawn role with the Foals, and often off the bench, the Cameroon-born 24-year-old has enjoyed an uninterrupted run at the point of Switzerland's attack which has returned five goal involvements (two goals and three assists) in the last six competitive games.
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