RB Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen and Bayern Munich's Brian Laudrup are among the many Danish players to star in the Bundesliga over the years. - © DFL
RB Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen and Bayern Munich's Brian Laudrup are among the many Danish players to star in the Bundesliga over the years. - © DFL

Yussuf Poulsen, Brian Laudrup and the Bundesliga’s top 10 great Danes


Technically gifted footballers are on the long list of exports that Denmark is renowned for, and the Bundesliga has certainly reaped the benefits of Danish talent in the past and present. We recap ten of the finest ahead of Denmark's UEFA EURO 2024 last 16 clash against Germany.

Yussuf Poulsen

RB Leipzig’s Poulsen has been ever-present for Die Roten Bullen since joining the club in 2013, helping them climb from 3. Liga to the Bundesliga, and become a UEFA Champions League regular. The Copenhagen native is known for his physicality and work rate, as former Leipzig boss Alexander Zorniger explained to bundesliga.com, "He always pushes himself beyond his limits, and embodies dynamism, desire, and a willingness to learn"​.

Poulsen has played a huge part in Leipzig's successes since joining the Saxony outfit, scoring 47 goals in 211 Bundesliga games (as of summer 2024). Those goals, alongside his loyalty and consistency, have made him a firm fan favourite among the Leipzig faithful.

At international level, Poulsen has been a significant player for Denmark. He debuted in 2013 against Mexico and has since earned over 80 caps, scoring 13 goals in the process that have contributed to European Championship (2020 and 2024) and FIFA World Cup (2014, 2018) qualifications - while he made substitute appearances in all three of Denmark's matches in the UEFA EURO 2024 group stages.

Watch: The best of Poulsen in 2023/24

Ebbe Sand

Ebbe Sand enjoyed a prolific Bundesliga career with Schalke between 1999 and 2006, hitting 73 goals in 214 league games. He is particularly remembered for his 2000/2001 season, when he became Bundesliga's top scorer with 22 goals. His clinical finishing and knack for scoring important goals helped Schalke secure two DFB Cups in 2001 and 2002 and earned him immense popularity among Schalke fans.

For Denmark, Sand was equally as impressive, with 22 goals in 66 games. He represented Denmark at two World Cups (1998 and 2002) and Euro 2000, before deciding to retire in 2006 and return to Denmark to work for Silkeborg and the Danish national team in various coaching positions.

Thomas Delaney

The tireless Thomas Delaney made a significant impact during his time in the Bundesliga, first with Werder Bremen (2017-2018) and then with Borussia Dortmund (2018-2021). Delaney’s energetic performances made him just as important going forward as defending for his teams, and his leadership and tenacity are fondly remembered by his former clubs.

Battling midfielder Thomas Delaney made 113 Bundesliga appearances for Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund. - Lars Baron/Getty Images

At Dortmund, he played an important part in helping a team that included Jude Bellingham, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland secure a second-placed finish in the league in 2019/20 before winning the DFB Cup in 2020/21.

Before making a name for himself in the Bundesliga, Delaney started his professional career with Copenhagen, where he won multiple Danish league titles and was named 2016 Danish Player of the Year. Internationally, Delaney, like Poulsen, made his debut in 2013, and has since earned over 70 caps - including two substitute appearances in the UEFA EURO 2024 group stages. Despite leaving Dortmund for Sevilla in 2021, Delaney was not quite finished with the Bundesliga and did briefly return to Germany for a loan spell with Hoffenheim in 2023.

Brian Laudrup

Brian Laudrup's stint in the Bundesliga was short but sweet, spending one year with Bayer Uerdingen (now KFC Uerdingen) between 1989-1990, before spending two years with Bayern Munich between 1990 and 1992. Laudrup's technical ability and dribbling made him a standout player, albeit injuries limited his game time in Bavaria. Despite those physical struggles, he managed to score 11 goals in 53 Bundesliga appearances and helped Bayern secure a second-placed finish in 1990/91.

Brian Laudrup scored nine goals in 33 appearances in his debut Bundesliga season for Bayern Munich in 1990/91. - IMAGO / WEREK

Brian was a key player for Denmark alongside his brother Michael, earning 82 caps while scoring 21 goals from various positions across the frontline. In addition to his dazzling performances and goalscoring exploits, Laudrup cemented himself in Danish footballing history in 1992, when he was a part of his country’s incredible European Championship victory - with a win in the final against, you’ll never guess who… Germany!

After his time in the Bundesliga, Laudrup took his brilliance to Italy, enjoying successful spells with Fiorentina and AC Milan, before winning three league titles with Rangers in Scotland. He also played for Chelsea and Ajax later in his career.

Andreas Christensen

Similar to Laudrup, Andreas Christensen was not in the Bundesliga for long, spending two highly successful seasons on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach from Chelsea between 2015 and 2017. During his time in the Bundesliga, he became a crucial part of Gladbach's defence, making 62 league appearances and scoring five goals. His composure and ability to play out from the back helped the club achieve a fourth-placed finish and Champions League qualification in the 2015/16 season.

Andreas Christensen made 62 appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach between 2015 and 2017. - Peter Hartenfelser

Christensen’s successful spell at Borussia-Park led to him establishing himself as a starter at Chelsea, where he played an important role in their Champions League final victory in 2021. Likewise, Christensen has also become an integral part of his national side, winning 73 caps since his first game for Denmark in 2015 - and playing the full 90 minutes in all of Denmark's three UEFA EURO 2024 group stage matches. He currently plays his club football for Barcelona.

Bjarne Goldbæk

After a formative spell with Schalke, Bjarne Goldbæk spent four seasons at Kaiserslautern, winning the Bundesliga and DFB Cup in the early 1990s. He also played for Cologne, taking his Bundesliga appearances count to 132.

Before his time in Germany, Goldbæk played in Denmark for clubs like Lyngby and Copenhagen, and had spells in England with Chelsea, where he won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1998, and Fulham. Internationally, Goldbæk earned 28 caps for Denmark, scoring a particularly memorable goal in a World Cup qualifier against Greece in 1993.

Watch: The best of the Bundesliga's Danish players in 2023/24

Jannik Vestergaard

Jannik Vestergaard made a significant impact during his time in the Bundesliga, where he spent seven years and played for three clubs. Vestergaard’s Bundesliga adventure began with a four-year stint at Hoffenheim in 2011. He then joined Werder Bremen for a brief spell in 2015, before leaving for Gladbach in 2016. At 6’ 6”, Vestergaard is well-known for his towering presence and defensive solidity, and Bundesliga attackers will have been glad to see the back of him when he left for Southampton in 2018 after almost 200 Bundesliga appearances.

For Denmark, he has been a regular member for national team since 2013 and a defensive rock at both European Championships and World Cups alike.

Søren Lerby

Søren Lerby had an illustrious Bundesliga career with Bayern, which saw him play for the club from 1983 to 1986, before putting on his managerial hat for the 1991/92 season. During his time with Bayern, Lerby was instrumental in helping the team secure two Bundesliga titles and two DFB Cups in the 1984/85 and 1985/86 seasons. Lerby was known for his leadership, passing range and his ability to score from midfield, registering 21 goals in 89 Bundesliga appearances. His ability to influence games and reliable performances made him a popular figure in Bavaria.

Søren Lerby was a player and then coach for Bayern Munich. - imago sportfotodienst

Before joining Bayern, Lerby played for Ajax, where he won five Eredivisie titles. After his stint in Germany, he moved to Monaco and then back to the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven, winning multiple titles there as well. Internationally, Lerby earned 67 caps for Denmark and scored 10 goals.

Allan Simonsen

Allan Simonsen is one of the most iconic Danish players in Bundesliga history.

Simonsen played for Gladbach from 1972 to 1979, becoming a pivotal part of the team that won three consecutive Bundesliga titles between 1974 and 1977, a DFB Cup in the 1972/73 season and reached the European Cup final in 1977. Simonsen’s spell at Gladbach wasn’t just prolific in terms of silverware. The 1977 European Footballer of the Year scored 76 goals in 178 Bundesliga appearances.

Allan Simonsen was part of the legendary Gladbach side of the 1970s. - IMAGO / Sven Simon

After his success in Germany, Simonsen moved to Barcelona, where he continued to collect silverware, winning the 1980/81 Copa del Rey and the 1981/82 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Unsurprisingly, Simonsen was equally consistent at international level, scoring 23 goals in 57 games for the Danes.

Per Røntved

Per Røntved led Werder Bremen’s defence from 1972 to 1979, making 194 Bundesliga appearances for the club whilst also registering an impressive goal-scoring record from defence, scoring 40 goals. Røntved's record in terms of appearances and goals speaks to his leadership ability, reliability and intelligence that made him such a key part of the side throughout his time in the Bundesliga.

After his successful stint in northern Germany, he returned to Denmark and played for Randers Freja. Røntved earned 75 caps for Denmark, scoring 11 goals, and is now remembered as one of Denmark’s finest defenders, having left a significant mark on both Danish and German football. Of Røntved, legendary German coach Otto Rehhagel told Spiegel, "Apart from Beckenbauer, I don't know anyone who can play as efficiently and elegantly as a sweeper as Røntved. Per is world class.”