Germany and Argentina have played against each other in three FIFA World Cup Finals. Bundesliga stars have appeared for both teams.
Germany and Argentina have played against each other in three FIFA World Cup Finals. Bundesliga stars have appeared for both teams.

Cardoso to Di Santo: The Argentinian Connection

Germany and Argentina are two football nations inexorably entwined. On no less than three occasions, these two countries have faced each other in football's biggest game: the FIFA World Cup Final. Two of them ended in German triumphs, most recently in 2014.

The Bundesliga has certainly had its fair share of Argentinian stars, too. Today, Pablo de Blasis is a midfield dynamo for UEFA Europa League-qualified 1. FSV Mainz 05, David Abraham is a key defender for Eintracht Frankfurt, who stretched their Bundesliga tenure into a fifth year, and Franco di Santo leads the line for FC Schalke 04.

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False start

The story of Argentinians in the Bundesliga, however, did not begin with a bang. It was the summer of 1972 when Christian Rudzki and Horacio Neumann became the first players from the South American nation to try their luck in Germany’s top flight.

One year, four appearances and one goal later, Rudzki left Hannover 96. Neumann fared little better for 1. FC Köln, making only 20 appearances in two and a half years for the Billy Goats before departing for France.

HSV hero

Nearly two decades later, Jose Horacio 'Nene' Basualdo touched down in Stuttgart in 1989. Basualdo, so the story goes, had only brought two changes of clothes with him, not realising that VfB Stuttgart would sign him up there and then. It would be five months before he saw his family again, but Basualdo was a success, making 44 appearances for VfB and featuring for Argentina in a World Cup Final against Germany while still a Stuttgart player.

Read: Bundesliga global stars - Dancing to the Brazilian beat

His contemporary, Rodolfo Cardoso, made more Bundesliga appearances than any other Argentinian player before or since, playing 220 times for FC 08 Homburg, SC Freiburg, SV Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV between 1989 and 2004. A fan favourite at Freiburg, it was at HSV that Cardoso eventually settled. He has since become a mainstay of the club's coaching staff, and has had a number of spells as caretaker coach.

Lower Saxony launchpad