Steven Zuber is topping the assist charts at UEFA Euro 2020 with Switzerland and ran world champions France ragged. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Eintracht Frankfurt winger…
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Position: Left winger
Country: Switzerland (38 caps, 8 goals)
Born in the city of Winterthur on 17 August 1991, Zuber featured for a number of local youth clubs before joining the academy at domestic giants Grasshoppers in nearby Zurich, where he made his professional debut in 2008. That came as an 83rd-minute substitute in an Intertoto Cup clash with Besa Kavaje, and by the 86th minute he had his first senior goal just over a month before his 17th birthday. In 2012 he started all three group games for Switzerland at the London Olympic Games. After 33 goals and 22 assists in 146 appearances which also heralded a Swiss Cup title, the right-footed left winger joined CSKA Moscow in 2013.
He only spent a year in Russia but left with a league title and two Supercups as Hoffenheim brought him to the Bundesliga on a four-year deal. Director of football Alexander Rosen described the 6’0’’ wide man as “quick and dynamic”. After two years as a bit-part player, Zuber finally established himself under Julian Nagelsmann in 2016/17 and registered four goals and as many assists in 24 games as TSG sensationally claimed fourth place. With opportunities limited in 2018/19, he joined VfB Stuttgart on loan for the second half of the season and looked to rediscover form – predominantly playing in a central midfield role – with five goals in 13 Bundesliga games. After another campaign in Sinsheim and a total of 115 appearances for Hoffenheim, the then 28-year-old made the move to Frankfurt in summer 2020 and played 22 times in all competitions over his first season, but mostly played second fiddle on the left to Filip Kostic.
Watch: Zuber got a brace and an assist in a 5-1 win over Hannover
As well as representing his nation at the 2012 Olympics, Zuber has also appeared for Switzerland since U16 level before his senior debut under Vladimir Petkovic in March 2017 – although he had first earned a call-up in September 2013. He started three of Die Natí’s four games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, scoring their equaliser in the 1-1 opening draw with Brazil in Rostov. He was again named in the squad for the delayed Euro 2020 and has impressed down the left with a tournament-leading four assists. He gave Benjamin Pavard a horrible time in the win over France, teeing up Haris Seferovic for the opening goal with a cross before drawing a foul from the Bayern Munich defender to earn a penalty in the second half.
Plays a bit like: Ashley Young
A nifty right-footed winger capable of playing down both flanks and just as comfortable on either foot? There’s definitely a shade of former Manchester United, Inter Milan and current Aston Villa wide man Young in the way Zuber goes about his business. And like his English counterpart, Frankfurt’s Swiss army knife is equally adept at covering at full-back, but comes with the bonus tool of the being able to play in a central midfield role.
Did you know?
Zuber is only the second player to ever register a hat-trick of assists in a game at the European Championships, following in the footsteps of Turkey's Hamit Altintop (vs. Czech Republic in 2008). He did so on his 37th cap when creating all three of Switzerland’s goals in the 3-1 group win over Turkey, laying one on for Seferovic and then two for Xherdan Shaqiri. He’s now equalled the record for assists at a single Euros tournament since 1980 (when data collection began) with four in 2020.
What they’re saying
“Steven is reinforcement for us in several positions, covering both wings but also central midfield. He knows the Bundesliga, has international experience as a Switzerland player, is a goal threat and can really enrich our squad with his qualities.” – Former Eintracht Frankfurt board member for sport Fredi Bobic
“That was impressive from Steven. He’s a good guy and has often shown in the past he can play at a high level.” – New Frankfurt sporting director Markus Krösche on Zuber’s performance against Turkey
“I’m convinced by my ability.” – Zuber prior to the Turkey game at Euro 2020